How to Become A University Lecturer In South Africa

Lecturer is an academic rank within many universities, though the meaning of the term varies somewhat from country to country. It generally denotes an academic expert who is hired to teach on a full- or part-time basis. They may also conduct research.

Is lecturer same as professor?

A lecturer refers to a post-secondary teacher who teaches in a college or university. They can teach both undergraduate and post-graduate students. Unlike professors, they do not need a Master’s or Ph.

Can you be a professor without a PhD?

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to become a college professor without a Ph. D. College professor requirements vary from school to school. Most often, schools require potential professors to have some kind of advanced degree, such as a Master of Science or a Master of Arts.

What are university lecturers called?

In most universities, professorships are reserved for only the most senior academic staff, and other academics are generally known as ‘lecturers’, ‘senior lecturers’ and ‘readers’ (in some Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the title ‘associate professor’ can be used instead of

How to Become A University Lecturer In South Africa

To become a lecturer, there are several university lecturer qualifications you need to obtain, beginning with your undergraduate studies.

1. Qualifications and Education

Bachelor’s Degree: If you have the intention to work in a higher education institution, you should study a relevant subject for your bachelor’s degree. At this stage, you can major in a more broad topic like Education or even a general subject.

Post Graduate Degrees: To become an expert in the field, you will continue your education and likely need to earn at least your master’s degree in Education or the subject you want to teach. But the learning won’t stop there. To be hired by a university, you will likely need a PhD as well.

Publication and Internships: During your post-graduate degrees, it’s very important to perform research and try to get published. It is equally important to try your hand at internships and apprenticeships to learn from lecturers.

2. Apply for a Job as a Lecturer

After you’ve completed your education and have a PhD, you can start looking for open positions. There are academic job listings for this. You can also get in touch with your institution of choice to ask if there are positions available.

During the application process, you’ll want to create tailored cover letters. You also want to set up your CV and/or resume in a professional manner. When you write your cover letter, try to include specific information that echoes what the institution believes in to showcase why you’re the right fit. Additionally, in your personal statement, it’s useful to include your teaching approach.

As with any job, the hiring manager could request references. Have this ready to go with a list of references from internships or apprenticeships. Then, prepare in advance for your interview.

Required Skills

To be a successful lecturer, an obvious requirement is for you to have good communication skills. Both written and verbal communication skills will be important.

Also, working in any educational environment requires patience and understanding. You will come into contact with students at varying levels of ability, so you will want to be able to provide them with what they need to best learn.

The most loved lecturers tend to share a common trait: passion. Those who care and are genuinely interested in what they teach show their love for a subject in how they talk about it. This can increase engagement and promote respect on behalf of students.

Responsibilities of a Lecturer

Lecturers may work alongside other staff members, but they will likely have to know how to do the following:

Lecture (of course)

Create activities

Improve teaching techniques

Assess work

Prepare and grade exams and written work

Career Progression

There are varying levels of the profession. While you work towards your own educational goals, you can start lecturing as an entry-level lecturer. Here’s a look at the progression:

Entry-level: You have your master’s and can start teaching, but may still be pursuing your PhD.

Lecturer: Your PhD is complete and your class sizes may increase.

Senior Lecturer: Your responsibilities grow with your experience. You may even assess students who are not your own and give lectures at other universities.

Professor: After earning your PhD and becoming a university lecturer, you can work towards becoming a professor. With many years of experience, professors produce research and publish findings in their field. They also have tenure, meaning they have earned a permanent position as part of faculty.

Advantages & Disadvantage of Being a Lecturer

Before deciding if this career is the right path for you, let’s take a look at some of the upsides and downsides to becoming a lecturer at a college.


Research: As a lecturer, the institution may provide you with time and resources to perform research.

Job Satisfaction: Most people who become lecturers have a passion for the subject they teach. As a lecturer, you have the opportunity to challenge ideas and debate theories.

Making a Difference: Lecturers are in the perfect place to serve as mentors and inspire students. You will know that you are making a difference in the lives of many.

Flexibility: For the most part, the job has a lot of flexibility. Whether a sabbatical is taken or not, university lecturers can balance work and life through their teaching schedule.

Travel: This is especially true of experienced lecturers, but all lecturers may have the opportunity to travel abroad to give a lecture at other universities and at conferences.


On the flipside, there are some downsides to considering a career as a university lecturer.

Competition: It is a highly competitive field, so finding a job isn’t always easy, even with the qualifications.

Working Hours: Despite the flexibility of the schedule, lecturers often work weekends and during the evenings.

Wage: Lecturers can make a decent living, but it’s not always commensurate with the effort and time they dedicate to the job.

How long does it take to be a lecturer in South Africa?

You need a good bachelor’s degree of course before you can apply for a good Masters. A score of 2.1 and up in your Bachelor’s is considered good. Also, when going into a PhD program, be prepared to be in it for the long ride. Though some PhD programs can be completed in 3 years, many others take up to 7 years.

What do you need to become a lecturer at University in South Africa ?

You’ll need a good degree pass, for example first class or upper second class, relevant to the subject you want to teach. You’ll also need to have completed a postgraduate master’s or PhD qualification, or be working towards one. It’s common to have had academic work published.

How many years does it take to become a professor in South Africa?

An average of ten years should be the regular time for normally active academics to achieve full professorship in a normal and enabling environment.”

Do you need a PhD to be a lecturer in South Africa ?

To become a lecturer you will need to have the relevant degree for the subject you may wish to teach. You will need to have a bachelor’s degree 2.1 or above, masters and Ph. D. D. is the main qualification you need to achieve to become a full-time lecturer.

What’s the difference between a lecturer and a professor in South Africa ?

A lecturer refers to a post-secondary teacher who teaches in a college or university. They can teach both undergraduate and post-graduate students. Unlike professors, they do not need a Master’s or Ph. This means that few (or barely any) lecturers are ever full-time teachers in the university.

Which university is best for teaching degree in South Africa?

Where To Study Teaching In South Africa


University of the Western Cape.

University of the Witwatersrand.

University of Johannesburg.

Tshwane University of Technology.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

University of Cape Town.

Stellenbosch University.

Do university lecturers need a teaching qualification in South Africa ?

The qualifications that you need are a good bachelor’s degree (2.1 or above), possibly a masters, and a PhD in the relevant field. Although you do not need a separate teaching qualification, you could be offered the opportunity to complete one while studying for your PhD or in the first year of working as a lecturer.

How many years does it take to become a lecturer in South Africa ?

Ans. It may take 6-8 years for you to become a college professor. Completing graduation, post-graduation and gaining prior work experience counts up to the time for getting job as a professor.

Do you need a masters to teach at university in South Africa ?

To become a university lecturer you usually have to complete a degree in your field, preferably at a masters or doctoral degree level. Entry to postgraduate teaching courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree, as well as relevant work experience.

Is it hard to become a lecturer in South Africa ?

Competition is fierce, and even if they are highly talented with plenty of experience, finding a permanent university job can be difficult. Lecturers might have to take on temporary contracts, reducing long-term job security and increasing the likelihood of frequent relocation.