How to Become Professor in IIT

How to Become Professor in IIT

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) represent some of the most prestigious engineering and technology institutions in India.

Established to foster excellence in technical education, IITs have become synonymous with academic brilliance, innovative research, and intellectual rigor.

As centers of academic and research excellence, they attract some of the brightest minds from around the globe, both as students and faculty members.

Becoming a professor at an IIT is an esteemed and highly sought-after position.

It not only brings academic prestige but also offers opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research, mentor future technologists, and contribute to the field’s advancements.

However, attaining a faculty position at IIT requires fulfilling a series of stringent qualifications, gaining substantial research and teaching experience, and successfully navigating a rigorous selection process.

The path to becoming an IIT professor involves a combination of academic achievement, professional development, and a commitment to the continuous pursuit of knowledge.

It is a journey that demands dedication, intellectual curiosity, and a strong alignment with the educational and research goals of these renowned institutions.

The following outline provides a comprehensive guide to the various stages and essential criteria to achieve this distinguished academic career in one of India’s premier educational establishments.

Whether a fresh scholar or an experienced academician, understanding this pathway is the first step towards fulfilling the aspiration of joining the IIT faculty.

1. Educational Qualification

a. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

  • Aspiring IIT professors typically begin their educational journey with a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as engineering, technology, or the specific subject they wish to specialize in.
  • This degree serves as the foundation for understanding core concepts, principles, and methodologies related to the chosen field.
  • Excellence in academics during this phase can lay a strong foundation for further studies and research.

b. Pursue a Master’s Degree

  • After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in the desired specialization is often pursued.
  • This level of education allows individuals to delve deeper into specific areas of interest, equipping them with advanced knowledge and skills.
  • It might also involve a research component, like a thesis, providing an early opportunity for engaging in academic research.

c. Earn a Ph.D.

  • A doctoral degree (Ph.D.) is almost always required for a professorship at IIT, as it demonstrates expertise in a particular field.
  • During a Ph.D., candidates conduct original research, contribute new insights, and produce a significant body of work that is published in peer-reviewed academic journals.
  • The Ph.D. phase requires intense dedication, critical thinking, and analytical skills, shaping the candidate’s research prowess and intellectual rigor.

The sequence of these degrees creates a pathway to deeper expertise and specialization in the chosen field.

By building knowledge progressively, aspiring professors prepare themselves for the highly competitive and intellectually demanding environment of an IIT.

The combination of these degrees not only forms a strong academic base but also hones research abilities, setting the stage for a career in academia and research.

Certainly! Point 2 in the outline refers to gaining teaching and research experience, a critical stage for those aspiring to become a professor at an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Here’s a detailed explanation:

2. Gain Teaching and Research Experience

a. Work as a Research Assistant

– Early in one’s academic career, working as a research assistant provides invaluable experience in conducting research, analyzing data, and contributing to publications.
– Collaboration with experienced researchers, usually during or after a Ph.D., allows for hands-on experience in various research methodologies and practices.
– This role can lead to professional connections and a better understanding of the academic research landscape.

b. Acquire Post-Doctoral Experience

– After earning a Ph.D., many aspiring professors pursue post-doctoral research positions.
– This stage allows them to work on specialized research projects, often in collaboration with other experts in their field.
– It is an opportunity to publish further research in reputed journals, develop independent research skills, and contribute to ongoing studies in their field.

c. Consider Teaching as an Assistant Professor

– Gaining classroom experience is an essential part of preparing for a professorial role, and many start by teaching as an assistant professor at a university or institution.
– Teaching experience helps in developing and honing pedagogical skills, including the ability to convey complex ideas, engage students, and create effective learning experiences.
– It may also involve curriculum development, student mentoring, and involvement in departmental and university-level activities.

The combination of research and teaching experience in point 2 provides aspiring IIT professors with a well-rounded skill set.

Engaging in rigorous research projects fosters a deep understanding of academic inquiry and contributes to the field.

At the same time, teaching experience nurtures the ability to communicate and share knowledge effectively.

Together, these experiences prepare candidates for the multifaceted role of a professor at an IIT, encompassing both research excellence and educational leadership.

Certainly! Point 3 in the outline is focused on the application process for securing a professorship at an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Here’s a detailed explanation:

3. Apply to IITs

a. Keep an Eye on Vacancies

– IITs regularly announce faculty positions on their official websites, academic job portals, and relevant professional networks.
– Aspiring candidates should constantly monitor these channels to stay informed about openings that match their qualifications and interests.
– It is important to understand the specific requirements for different positions, such as Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor, as they may vary in terms of experience, publications, and other criteria.

b. Prepare a Strong Application

– A successful application requires careful preparation, including creating an updated resume or curriculum vitae (CV) that highlights academic qualifications, research experience, publications, teaching experience, and any other relevant accomplishments.
– A well-crafted cover letter should be included, emphasizing the candidate’s qualifications, alignment with the institution’s goals, and why they are a good fit for the position.
– Providing sample publications or research papers, along with any additional materials requested in the job posting, demonstrates the candidate’s academic contributions and expertise.

c. Attend the Interview and Presentation

– Shortlisted candidates are often invited for an interview, which may be in-person or conducted virtually.
– The interview process might also include a presentation, where candidates are required to present their research work, teaching philosophy, or both.
– The ability to articulate ideas clearly, demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the subject, and engage with the interview panel is crucial at this stage.

The application process to become an IIT professor is highly competitive and requires careful planning and preparation.

Candidates must align their skills, experience, and academic contributions with the specific requirements of the IIT and the position they are applying for.

From identifying the right opportunities to preparing a compelling application and excelling in the interview, each step plays a vital role in navigating the pathway to a professorship at one of India’s premier institutes of technology.

Certainly! Point 4 in the outline focuses on the criteria and expectations that must be met during the selection process for a professorship at an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Here’s a more detailed explanation:

4. Clearing the Selection Process

a. Demonstrating Excellence in Research

– Being considered for a professorship at an IIT requires a robust and significant record of research achievements.
– Candidates must showcase their contribution to their field through published papers in peer-reviewed journals, patents, or other scholarly works.
– The quality, originality, and impact of the research are critical factors in assessing a candidate’s suitability for a faculty position.

b. Excellence in Teaching

– Teaching ability is another crucial component in the selection process. Candidates must demonstrate a deep understanding of pedagogical methods, curriculum development, and student engagement.
– Experience in teaching, mentoring, and advising students, along with a clear and innovative teaching philosophy, is often evaluated.
– Strong communication skills, the ability to break down complex topics, and a commitment to fostering a positive learning environment are essential attributes that are sought after.

The selection process for a professorial role at an IIT is rigorous and multifaceted.

It seeks to identify individuals who not only have a strong academic and research background but also excel in imparting education.

The evaluation is often conducted by a panel of experts who scrutinize the candidate’s scholarly contributions, teaching capabilities, and alignment with the institution’s values and goals.

Successfully clearing this stage requires a well-rounded academic profile and a demonstrated ability to contribute significantly to both research and teaching.

The aspirants must prove their readiness to take on the responsibilities of a professor at one of India’s most prestigious educational institutions.

The process aims to ensure that the selected candidates are well-equipped to support the academic excellence, research innovation, and educational leadership that IITs are renowned for.

Certainly! Point 5 in the outline focuses on the adherence to legal and institutional requirements that candidates must meet to become a professor at an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Here’s a detailed explanation:

a. Fulfilling Visa and Work Permit Regulations (for international candidates)

– If the candidate is a foreign national, they must comply with all visa and work permit regulations applicable in India.
– This may include obtaining specific types of visas, meeting certain residency requirements, or providing proper documentation as required by Indian law.
– Understanding and complying with these legal requirements are essential to ensure a smooth transition and legal employment in India.

b. Meeting the IIT’s Specific Criteria and Guidelines

– Each IIT may have particular criteria, regulations, and guidelines specific to hiring faculty members. This could involve distinct qualifications, background checks, or other institutional mandates.
– Adherence to these specific requirements demonstrates the candidate’s suitability for the position and alignment with the IIT’s values and goals.
– Candidates must carefully review and understand these institutional requirements to ensure full compliance during the application and selection process.

Legal and institutional requirements can vary greatly and may have a substantial impact on a candidate’s eligibility and the overall application process.

Whether dealing with international regulations or specific institutional guidelines, adherence to these rules is crucial to successfully navigate the selection process.

Candidates must take the initiative to understand, prepare for, and comply with these requirements to avoid potential obstacles that may arise.

Working closely with relevant authorities, both governmental and institutional, and seeking guidance where needed can facilitate this critical aspect of becoming a professor at an IIT.

This attention to legal and institutional detail ensures that all professional and ethical standards are maintained in the hiring process.

Certainly! Point 6 in the outline emphasizes the continuous professional development that is necessary for maintaining and advancing a professorial career at an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Here’s a more detailed explanation:

6. Continuous Professional Development

a. Engaging in Ongoing Research

– Professors at IITs are expected to maintain active research profiles, contributing to their fields through ongoing studies, publications, and innovation.
– This often involves leading research projects, securing funding, collaborating with other experts, and staying abreast of the latest developments in their area of expertise.
– Engaging in continuous research not only contributes to personal and professional growth but also enhances the reputation and research standing of the IIT.

b. Participate in Professional Organizations

– Joining and actively participating in professional organizations, societies, and networks helps professors stay connected with their academic community.
– These associations often offer opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, attending conferences, and staying up to date with industry standards and best practices.
– Involvement in professional bodies fosters a sense of collegiality and enhances professional standing.

c. Mentoring and Advising Students

– Professors play a vital role in guiding and mentoring students, whether at the undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral levels.
– This includes supervising research projects, providing academic guidance, nurturing critical thinking, and helping students achieve their academic and professional goals.
– Effective mentoring helps cultivate the next generation of scholars, researchers, and professionals, furthering the educational mission of the IIT.

Continuous professional development is essential for a fulfilling and successful career as a professor at an IIT.

It involves a commitment to lifelong learning, collaboration, innovation, and education.

By actively engaging in research, participating in professional networks, and dedicating time to mentoring and advising students, professors continue to grow and contribute to their field.

This ongoing pursuit of excellence ensures that IIT professors remain at the forefront of academic and technological advancements.

It fosters a dynamic and enriching environment that benefits not only the individual professors but also the students, the institution, and the broader academic community.

It also aligns with the IITs’ mission to be leaders in education, research, and innovation, maintaining their reputation as premier institutes of technology.

Certainly! Point 7, “Pursuing Tenure and Promotion,” is a significant aspect of a professorial career at an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) or any esteemed academic institution. Here’s an in-depth explanation:

7. Pursuing Tenure and Promotion

a. Understanding Tenure Policies and Procedures

– Tenure is a status that provides professors with a permanent appointment, safeguarding academic freedom and job security.
– Each IIT may have specific policies and procedures related to tenure, so understanding these rules is vital for anyone seeking this position.
– Criteria often include excellence in teaching, research, service to the institution, and contributions to the broader academic community.

b. Building a Strong Tenure Portfolio

– Aspiring tenured professors must compile a comprehensive portfolio that highlights their achievements in teaching, research, and service.
– This portfolio often includes scholarly publications, teaching evaluations, mentorship records, research grants, and evidence of leadership within the institution or field.
– A strong tenure portfolio should reflect consistent growth and significant contributions to the academic community.

c. Going Through the Tenure Review Process

– The tenure review process is typically rigorous and conducted by a committee of peers, administrators, and sometimes external reviewers.
– This review assesses the candidate’s overall performance, potential for future contributions, and alignment with the institution’s values and goals.
– Successfully navigating this process requires careful preparation, adherence to timelines, and proactive engagement with the review committee and other stakeholders.

d. Seeking Opportunities for Promotion

– Beyond tenure, professors may seek promotion to higher ranks, such as from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor or Full Professor.
– Promotion criteria often mirror those for tenure but may require additional evidence of leadership, nationally or internationally recognized research, or exceptional teaching and service.
– Pursuing promotions involves setting clear career goals, exceeding expectations in core areas of responsibility, and demonstrating readiness for increased leadership and influence.

Pursuing tenure and promotion within an IIT requires a clear understanding of the institution’s expectations, rigorous preparation, and sustained excellence in academic contributions.

Achieving tenure represents a significant career milestone, reflecting recognition and trust from the academic community.

Continued promotion enables further career growth and opportunities to shape the field and institution.

By focusing on these aspects, professors at IITs can solidify their positions, contribute more deeply to their fields, and take on leadership roles that align with their expertise and ambitions.

It is a complex but rewarding process that enhances the academic profession’s stability, integrity, and impact.


In conclusion, the path to becoming a professor at an IIT is marked by a combination of rigorous academic preparation, research excellence, teaching prowess, and adherence to institutional and legal requirements.

Starting from acquiring the essential educational qualifications, candidates must engage in research, gain hands-on teaching experience, apply to relevant positions, and clear a demanding selection process.

The journey doesn’t end with the appointment; continuous professional development is vital to stay at the forefront of one’s field and contribute positively to the academic community.

The pursuit of tenure and promotion adds further depth and stability to a professor’s career, reinforcing the commitment to scholarly excellence, innovation, and mentorship.

The process is undoubtedly challenging, reflecting the high standards of India’s premier technological institutions.

Yet, it offers a fulfilling and impactful career for those dedicated to advancing knowledge, inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists, and contributing to the technological and intellectual growth of the nation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the basic qualifications required to become a professor at an IIT?

The basic qualifications typically include a Ph.D. in the relevant field, along with a strong record of research, publications, and teaching experience. Specific qualifications may vary depending on the position and the particular IIT.

How can I find job openings for faculty positions at IITs?

Job openings are regularly announced on the official websites of individual IITs, academic job portals, and relevant professional networks. Aspiring candidates should monitor these channels to stay informed about opportunities.

Is teaching experience mandatory to apply for a professorship at an IIT?

Teaching experience is often considered a significant factor in the selection process, as it demonstrates the candidate’s ability to impart knowledge, develop curricula, and engage with students.

What does the selection process for a professor at an IIT entail?

The selection process includes submitting a detailed application, attending interviews, giving presentations, and potentially undergoing a thorough evaluation of teaching and research capabilities. It’s a highly competitive process with several stages.

Can international candidates apply for faculty positions at IITs?

Yes, international candidates can apply, but they must comply with all visa and work permit regulations applicable in India. The specific requirements may vary depending on the candidate’s nationality and the particular IIT.

What is tenure, and how is it achieved at an IIT?

Tenure is a permanent appointment that provides job security and academic freedom. Achieving tenure at an IIT requires meeting specific criteria related to teaching, research, and service, and successfully passing a rigorous review process.

How can a professor at an IIT pursue continuous professional development?

Continuous professional development involves engaging in ongoing research, participating in professional organizations, attending conferences, mentoring students, seeking promotions, and staying abreast of the latest developments in the field.

What role does a professor play in an IIT’s research environment?

Professors at IITs play a vital role in shaping the research environment by leading research projects, securing funding, publishing in esteemed journals, collaborating with peers, innovating, and contributing to the advancement of technology and knowledge.

How are tenure and promotions handled for professors at IITs?

Tenure and promotions are handled through careful evaluation of a candidate’s achievements in research, teaching, and service. A strong portfolio, adherence to institutional guidelines, and demonstration of continued excellence and leadership are key factors.

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.

Leave a Comment