Trying to figure out how to address your professors in college can be pretty daunting. Things get even trickier with a female professor – what on earth are you supposed to call them?
Well, you will discover the proper title to use when addressing a female professor here:
What Should You Call Your Female Professor?
Professor is a gender-neutral term and there is no specific term for female professors – as such, you should refer to a female professor as Professor or use another title that they may have dictated at the beginning of the course.
How Should You Address a Female Professor?
In high school you had it easy – your female teachers were either Ms. or Mrs. followed by their last name. In college, however, things are a little trickier.
In some cases, your professor may mention their designated title at the beginning of the course so listen carefully.
This is most likely to happen if the professor wants to be called by their first name. Keep in mind that this isn’t always the case. So, if your professor hasn’t specified that they are comfortable with you using their name don’t do it.
If the professor doesn’t mention a title, then it can be a little confusing trying to figure out how to address them.
The safest option here is to refer to them as Professor followed by their last name. Not only is it an accurate term but it is also a respectful one.
What If Your Female Professor Has a Doctorate?
If your professor has a doctorate in any field of study, then it is important to refer to them as Doctor, followed by their last name.
People work very hard for their doctorate so the term Dr. is seen as being more respectful than Professor. It is particularly important to use the right term if the professor has seniority.
If you aren’t certain about your professor’s qualifications, then it is best to stick with Professor. If they do correct you, however, then make a note of it so that you can address them properly in the future.
Can You Call Your Female Professor Ms. or Mrs.?
Once, it was considered proper to refer to a female teacher as Miss or Mrs. These days, though, this isn’t the case. In fact, some people can find it rather sexist.
This is because there is no distinction between married or unmarried men – this only exists for women.
There is also the fact that these terms overlook the position of your professor. Due to this, it can seem like you are ignoring their academic achievements.
Your best option is to refer to your female professor as Professor unless they tell you otherwise.
How Do You Know What to Call Your Female Professor?
In some universities, there is a certain code that is followed. Here, you will find that all professors are referred to by a specific title.
If this is the case, then you can adopt this title for all of your professors, including the female ones.
In case there isn’t such a code, it is a good idea to listen to how your classmates address your professor. This will give you a clearer idea of what is acceptable.
You can also ask students who have already taken classes with that professor. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action so that you can avoid any missteps.
How Do You Address Female Teaching Assistants or Lab Instructors?
If they are a female teaching assistant, they are likely to pursue a graduate degree. As such, they can’t be referred to as doctors.
They also don’t hold a proper teaching position so what should you call them? In this instance, you can address your teaching assistance as Ms. – only use Mrs. if you are instructed.
Now, you should be aware that most people will address their teaching assistants rather informally as these students may only be a few years older than you.
Due to this, it isn’t uncommon to call your teaching assistant by their first name. However, you shouldn’t do this if you haven’t heard anyone else doing it or if you aren’t sure about the protocol.
You can use Ms. and if they correct you then you will know what title to use.
When it comes to lab instructors, it is a good idea to consider their accreditation and teaching position. If they are graduate students or haven’t been working at the school very long, then Ms. is the best title for them.
If they have achieved their doctorate, however, it is best to address them as Doctor. Once again, if they prefer a different title, they will inform you as such.
It is a good idea to speak to a previous student about addressing your lab instructor properly to ensure you get off on the right foot.
What is the Proper Title for a Female Professor?
The best title to refer to your female professor by is Professor – this is unless they have a doctorate in which case you should call them Doctor, followed by their last name – don’t address your female professor by Ms., Mrs., or their first name unless directed by them.