I am puzzled how can one translate the following in French?

Lecturer, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Tenure Track, Instructors

Does Maître de Conférences translate the first three altogether? So, how can we distinguish between the various ranks? Maîtresse de Conférences for a woman is considered a "barbarisme" or not?

Can we use Conférencier(ère), professeur(e) assistant(e), professeur(e) associé(e) for the first three, respectively? If not, why?

Google Translate gives Professeur agrégé for associate professor but this is partly faulty, for


En France: Professeur agrégé de l'enseignement du second degré Titulaire d'une agrégation de l'enseignement supérieur : agrégation de droit, de science politique, d'économie, de médecine, de pharmacie.


Au Canada: Titre universitaire atteint généralement après avoir été professeur adjoint, avant de devenir professeur titulaire

Further, can we use professeur(e) adjoint(e) for assistant professor?

Ibid. for the couple Instructor and instructeur/instructrice.

Lastly, can we use Tenure Track in French?

For example professeur(e) assistant(e) «tenure track» is comprehensible in general?

Should we use instead something like professeur(e) assistant(e) avec titularisation conditionnelle ?

  • A Lecturer is not a Maitre de conferences, it could be a "vacataire" (a TA would be a "moniteur" or a "vacataire" depending in the contract). Not sure all the different status have an equivalent. Tenure Track would be partly the "Qualification" before the interviews and the hiring. – Matthieu Brucher Jan 3 at 17:34
  • Why do you need a translation? Is it for specifying the jury of a PhD defense? In which case it's rather tricky and you should ask people who know the rules in your institution. In other cases it's often better to keep the title in the original language. – Stéphane Gimenez Jan 3 at 17:49
  • @StéphaneGimenez Thanks for the comment. The question is twofold. First curiosity, that is, does MCF covers everything (passe-partout:)!) or not and secondly the dossier (qualification, postulation) de maître de conférences. If the PhD is from abroad how can we distinguish among the various titles in the members of the jury, for instance? – dimitris Jan 3 at 17:54
  • @MatthieuBrucher Thanks. Should then be vacataire (épicène) and moniteur/monitrice? – dimitris Jan 3 at 17:56
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    MCF for me is the "assistant professor", before the full "professeur", but he already has tenure in France. Aso to be professeur, a MCF needs an HdR. – Matthieu Brucher Jan 3 at 18:01

Following the feedback, I posted the question in Academia.

The answer concerns Quebec

In French North America:

Full professor translates to Professeur titulaire.

A tenured associate professor would be Professeur agrégé.

An untenured assistant professor would be professeur adjoint.

I suppose it’s possible to get promoted to “associate prof” without getting tenure (the processes of promotion and tenure are generally distinct), but “tenure” is agrégation.

The notion of “adjunct professor” does not translate to “professor adjoint” but rather to professeur associé.

I’m not sure there’s an English equivalent to Maître de Conference. Maybe this is before the “professeur adjoint” level.

“tenure track” translates to “en voie d’agregation” or “avec possibilité d’agregration”; the latter formulation is used for recruitment but a professeur adjoint already hired would use the former.

Actually there is a old similar thread in the same forum. Regarding France, there is an answer that covers French particularities.

In France, the position Assistant Professor is a permanent position. As research activities are also done in labs in addition to the universities, the positions are:

assistant professor (maître de conférences) : permanent teaching position, but can not supervise PhD students alone.

Is typically working towards a habilitation (HDR, habilitation à diriger des recherches), a longer-lasting standalone research project of about 5 years, during which the person co-supervised a few PhD students. After defending the project in front of the jury a person with an HDR can supervise PhD students alone.

professor (professeur des universités) : permanent teaching position, can supervise PhD students alone.

full researcher (chargé or directeur de recherche) : permanent research position without teaching, can supervise PhD students alone if holder of the HDR.

There is a complete wiki article as well.

  • Voir au GDT, par exemple chargé de cours pour lecturer dans le domaine académique, conférencier plus généralement. Il y a aussi le maître de conférences : je n'ai jamais entendu ça de ma vie... Il aurait quasiment fallu faire une question pour chacun des termes et ça relève en effet davantage de conventions académiques que de la langue comme telle. Merci ! – subsexdexter 17 hours ago

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