How to Become an English Professor in India

How to Become an English Professor India

To start on the path to becoming an English professor in India, it’s essential to first understand what this role involves.

An English professor teaches students about English literature and language, covering everything from classic texts to modern writings.

This job is not just about sharing knowledge of books and authors but also about helping students develop their own ideas and understanding of the world through literature.

It’s a career choice for those who love reading, analyzing texts, and engaging with students to inspire a deeper appreciation for English literature.

Who is an English Professor?

An English Professor is an academic expert who specializes in English literature and language.

Their role encompasses not just the teaching of these subjects but also involves conducting research, publishing scholarly articles, and guiding students in their academic and research endeavors.

English Professors work in colleges, universities, and sometimes in schools, where they contribute to the intellectual and cultural development of their students.

They analyze and interpret literature, teach writing and critical thinking skills, and often contribute to the curriculum development within their departments.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Teaching: Conducting lectures, seminars, and workshops on various aspects of English literature and language, from its historical development to contemporary issues.
  • Research: Engaging in research to contribute new insights to the field of English studies. This might involve examining texts, cultural contexts, theoretical approaches, or comparative literature studies.
  • Mentorship: Guiding students in their academic growth, advising them on research projects, and supporting their career aspirations.
  • Administrative Duties: Participating in departmental meetings, curriculum development, and sometimes taking on administrative roles within the institution.

Why Choose a Career as an English Professor?

Choosing a career as an English Professor is appealing for several reasons:

  • Passion for Literature: It offers an opportunity to delve deep into the world of literature and to share that passion with students. English Professors often inspire a love for reading and critical appreciation of texts among their students.
  • Academic Environment: Working in an academic setting allows for continuous learning and intellectual stimulation. Professors are surrounded by peers and students who share a similar passion for knowledge.
  • Impact on Students: English Professors play a significant role in shaping the analytical, writing, and critical thinking skills of their students. They contribute not just to the academic but also to the personal growth of their students.
  • Research Opportunities: The career offers vast opportunities for research, allowing individuals to explore their interests deeply and contribute new knowledge to the field.
  • Job Satisfaction: Many find great satisfaction in teaching and research, making it a fulfilling career choice.

English Professor Eligibility Criteria

Becoming an English Professor in India involves meeting specific eligibility criteria that encompass educational qualifications, competitive examination scores, and sometimes relevant teaching experience. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the eligibility criteria:

Educational Qualifications

Bachelor’s Degree

  • Primary Step: A Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English or a closely related field is the foundational step. This degree provides a comprehensive understanding of English literature, language, and critical thinking skills.
  • Minimum Marks: Generally, a minimum aggregate score of 50%-55% is required, although this can vary by institution.

Master’s Degree

  • Advanced Knowledge: An M.A. in English is essential for deepening one’s understanding of literature and language. It prepares candidates for research and teaching roles by offering advanced insights into literary criticism, theories, and linguistics.
  • Minimum Marks: A minimum of 55% aggregate (50% for reserved categories) in the master’s degree is typically required to be eligible for further competitive exams and academic positions.

Ph.D. (Optional but Preferred for Higher Positions)

  • Specialization: Pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English or a related field allows for specialization in a particular area of literature, contributing to academic research and potentially leading to higher academic positions.

Competitive Examinations

NET (National Eligibility Test):

  • Conducted By: The University Grants Commission (UGC) conducts the NET for determining eligibility for Assistant Professor positions and for awarding Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) in Indian universities and colleges.
  • Qualification Criteria: Clearing the NET in English is often considered essential for becoming an English Professor. It assesses the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of English literature, criticism, and pedagogical skills.

SET (State Eligibility Test)

  • Regional Eligibility: The SET is another qualification criterion for teaching positions at the college and university level within specific states. The eligibility and format are similar to the NET but are recognized within the respective states where the test is conducted.

Relevant Experience

  • Teaching Experience: While not always mandatory, having teaching experience can be advantageous, especially for positions in prestigious institutions or for senior roles. Experience can be gained through teaching assistantships during postgraduate studies, lecturing positions, or other educational roles.
  • Research Publications: A strong record of research and publications in reputable journals can significantly enhance a candidate’s eligibility, particularly for higher academic positions and in institutions emphasizing research output.

Skills and Competencies

  • In-depth Knowledge: Profound knowledge of English literature, including various genres, periods, authors, and critical theories.
  • Communication Skills: Excellent verbal and written communication skills to effectively convey complex ideas.
  • Analytical Thinking: The ability to analyze texts, context, and subtext critically.
  • Pedagogical Skills: Effective teaching strategies tailored to diverse student groups, fostering an engaging and inclusive learning environment.

Professor Age Limit

In India, the age limit for becoming a professor, including an English Professor, in colleges and universities is influenced by various factors such as the type of institution, whether it’s a governmental or private entity, and specific recruitment policies.

However, there are general guidelines and norms that can be observed across the board. Here’s a detailed explanation:

Government Institutions

In government-funded colleges and universities, recruitment for professor positions is generally governed by regulations set by the University Grants Commission (UGC) or respective state education bodies.

For such positions, the focus is more on educational qualifications and experience rather than age. However, certain age-related guidelines are observed:

  1. Assistant Professor: There is typically no upper age limit for applying for Assistant Professor positions in government colleges and universities. The emphasis is on meeting the educational and qualification requirements, such as having a master’s degree and clearing the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the UGC or the State Eligibility Test (SET).
  2. Associate Professor and Professor: For higher academic ranks, the criteria lean towards academic achievements, publications, and years of teaching experience rather than age. However, for candidates applying for direct recruitment to these positions, there might be an implied expectation regarding years of experience, indirectly suggesting a certain age group more likely to meet these requirements.

Retirement Age

The retirement age for professors in government institutions is another aspect of the age-related norms.

It is usually set at 65 years, after which professors may retire from full-time teaching duties.

Some universities allow for re-employment or extension of service on a contractual basis up to the age of 70, depending on the institution’s policies and the individual’s health, performance, and the department’s needs.

Private Institutions

Private colleges and universities in India have more flexibility regarding recruitment policies, including age limits.

While they may adhere to UGC guidelines for educational qualifications, private institutions can set their age criteria for hiring professors.

The focus in private institutions is also heavily on the candidate’s qualifications, teaching experience, and fit with the department’s needs rather than strictly on age.

Exceptions and Flexibility

There are instances of flexibility regarding age limits for professor positions, especially noted in cases where candidates possess exceptional qualifications, have a significant publication record, or bring specialized expertise to the department.

In such cases, institutions may waive age constraints to hire talented faculty members.

Applying for Positions

After fulfilling the educational and qualification requirements, the next critical step in becoming an English Professor in India involves applying for teaching positions.

This phase demands strategic preparation, from identifying job openings to crafting a compelling application and excelling in the interview process. Here’s how to navigate this crucial stage:

Where to Look for Job Openings

  • University Websites: Many universities advertise faculty positions on their official websites. Regularly checking the careers section of these sites can provide information on available positions.
  • Academic Job Portals: Websites dedicated to academic careers often list job openings for English Professors across various institutions in India.
  • Professional Networks: Engaging with academic networks and attending literary conferences can offer insights into upcoming opportunities and insider advice on openings.
  • Educational Job Boards and Newspapers: Some positions are advertised through traditional media channels like newspapers or educational magazines.

Application Process

The application process typically involves submitting a detailed academic CV, a cover letter, and sometimes a teaching philosophy statement. Here’s how to approach each component:

  • Academic CV: Your CV should highlight your educational background, teaching experience, publications, research interests, and any academic honors or awards. It’s crucial to tailor your CV to emphasize the aspects most relevant to the position you’re applying for.
  • Cover Letter: This is your opportunity to personally address the hiring committee, explaining why you’re interested in the position and how your background and experiences make you a suitable candidate. It should reflect your passion for teaching and your commitment to the field of English literature.
  • Teaching Philosophy Statement: Although not always required, a teaching philosophy statement can set you apart. It should articulate your teaching methods, how you engage with students, and your goals as an educator.

Interview Preparation

If your application is successful, the next step will be the interview. This may include a teaching demonstration and a discussion about your research interests.

  • Teaching Demonstration: You may be asked to prepare a short teaching demo. Choose a topic that showcases your expertise and ability to engage students. Practice presenting your lecture to ensure clarity and confidence.
  • Research Discussion: Be prepared to discuss your research interests, past projects, and future plans. This conversation demonstrates your contribution to the field and your potential as a faculty member.


After the interview, it’s polite and professional to send a thank-you email, expressing your appreciation for the opportunity and reiterating your interest in the position.


Becoming an English Professor in India is a rewarding career path that requires a deep passion for English literature and a commitment to academic excellence.

Starting with foundational undergraduate and postgraduate studies in English, aspiring professors must deepen their knowledge and research skills, often culminating in a Ph.D.

Clearing competitive exams like the UGC NET or SET is crucial for securing a teaching position in colleges and universities.

Beyond academic qualifications, effective teaching, communication, and analytical skills are essential for engaging students and contributing to the academic community.

There’s flexibility in age limits for entering the profession, focusing more on qualifications and experience.

With dedication to continuous learning, research, and teaching, one can achieve a fulfilling career as an English Professor in India, shaping the minds of future generations and advancing the study of English literature.


For those aspiring to become English Professors in India, a range of resources can provide valuable information, guidance, and support throughout the journey. Here are key resources to consider:

Educational Resources

  1. University Grants Commission (UGC): The UGC website is a primary resource for information on higher education standards, qualifying exams like NET, and academic policies in India. UGC Website
  2. National Testing Agency (NTA): Responsible for conducting the UGC NET exam, the NTA’s official site offers detailed information on exam schedules, syllabi, and application processes. NTA NET

Academic Journals and Publications

  1. JSTOR and Project MUSE: These digital libraries offer access to a wide range of academic papers and articles in English literature, which can be useful for research and staying updated with scholarly discussions. JSTOR | Project MUSE

Online Learning Platforms

  1. Coursera and edX: Offering courses from universities around the world, these platforms have various courses on English literature and language that can supplement your education. Coursera | edX

Professional Associations

  1. The English Association: An organization that brings together those interested in English literature, offering resources, publications, and conferences. The English Association
  2. Society for English Literature and Language Studies (SELLS): An Indian association promoting research and collaboration among English literature scholars in India.

Literary Forums and Discussion Groups

  1. Goodreads and Reddit: Platforms like Goodreads and specific subreddits (e.g., r/literature) can be excellent places for engaging with a community of literature enthusiasts and academics. Goodreads | Reddit Literature

Career Guidance and Academic Job Portals

  1. Shiksha and HigherEdJobs: Websites providing insights into academic careers, including job listings for English Professors in India and tips for aspiring academics. Shiksha | HigherEdJobs

Workshops and Conferences

  1. Participating in workshops and conferences organized by literary societies, universities, or academic associations can provide networking opportunities, insights into the latest research trends, and professional development experiences.


How much does a professor of English earn in India?

The salary of an English Professor in India varies based on factors like institution type, location, qualifications, and experience. In government institutions, the starting salary for an Assistant Professor can range from INR 57,700 to INR 1,82,400 per month according to the 7th Pay Commission, with senior professors earning more. Private institutions may offer varying salaries.

What is the qualification for a professor in India?

The basic qualification for becoming a professor in India includes a Master’s degree in the relevant field with at least 55% marks and clearing the National Eligibility Test (NET) or State Eligibility Test (SET) for Lectureship. For senior positions, a Ph.D. in the relevant subject is often required.

Is it difficult to become a professor in India?

Becoming a professor in India can be challenging due to the competitive nature of the profession, stringent eligibility criteria, and the requirement for significant academic and research achievements. Success in competitive exams like NET/SET and a strong academic record can be demanding.

What is the qualification for an English lecturer?

The qualifications for an English lecturer in India typically include a Master’s degree in English with at least 55% marks and qualifying in the NET/SET exam. Some institutions may also require a Ph.D. for higher academic positions.

Which Ph.D. has the highest salary?

Ph.D. holders in fields like Computer Science, Engineering, Business, and Health Sciences often command the highest salaries, both in academia and industry, due to high demand and the specialized nature of their expertise.

Is it easy to become an English professor in India?

Becoming an English Professor in India requires dedication to academic excellence, research, and teaching. The path involves rigorous education, competitive examinations, and a commitment to scholarly activities, making it a challenging but achievable career for those who are passionate about English literature.

Can I become a professor without NET?

While NET is a standard qualification for lecturing positions in most government and many private institutions, there are exceptions. Some private colleges and universities may hire lecturers without NET, especially if the candidate has significant academic achievements, experience, or a Ph.D.

Is B.Ed compulsory for a professor?

No, a B.Ed (Bachelor of Education) is not compulsory for becoming a professor in higher education institutions in India. The essential qualifications include a Master’s degree in the relevant subject and qualifying NET/SET. B.Ed is more targeted towards school teaching positions.

Which subject professor has the highest salary?

Professors in specialized fields such as Business, Law, Medicine, Engineering, and Technology often have the highest salaries. This variance is due to factors like industry demand, the complexity of the subject, and the availability of professionals in the field.

Meet Ankit Kumar holding a master's degree in Museology, Ankit Kumar brings a profound understanding of the cultural and historical significance of museums. With a passion for research and a keen interest in writing, they have not only excelled in guiding individuals in their career paths but also have a flair for creating insightful and engaging blogs on various aspects of museology as well as different professions.

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