Career progression

There are many ways to develop your career at the University.

Academic staff career development

Case studies

Elsewhere on this site you can find:

  • Role Reviews (these are not used for career progression but may be used when roles change over time).

Developing your career


Please see our staff development section of this website for advice on:

You may also find the YOUR Development YOUR Options information sheet useful in understanding how you can find opportunities to meet your development needs.


You are encouraged to find new opportunities and develop your career by applying competitively for other jobs at the University.  We advertise vacancies openly in order to encourage a wide and diverse pool of applicants, and we invite applications through our e-Recruitment system.

Academic career progression

We aim to provide opportunities to support career progression within the University through our recruitment and selection processes. We also support and encourage career progression through our internal promotions scheme to senior academic positions (Associate Professor, Principal Lecturer (Learning & Teaching) and Professor).

Career progression routes for academic roles (found in the Academic Staff Handbook have been updated in 2018 and are shown here.

See below for more information about Professorships and Associate Professorships, and Lecturer to Senior Lecturer progression.

Lecturer to Senior Lecturer

The University recognises the need for new staff entering the Academic profession to have the ability to grow and develop within academic roles. Academic staff who are appointed to the Lecturer grade have the opportunity to develop the role to become a Senior Lecturer once they reach the top increment of the grade.

The process can be found in Appendix 8 - Academic Progression Guidelines, here: National Framework (NFA)Academic career progression routes can be found further up this page.

If you are currently a Lecturer (Grade E on our Pay Scale) you will be contacted by your HR Manager before you reach (or approach) the top of the grade.  You will be advised to discuss your role and responsibilities over the next academic year with your Dean of Faculty (or their nominated manager).    This communication will usually take place alongside your workloading discussion.  You will be supported by your manager(s) to take on the required duties in order that you can develop into the Senior Lecturer role.

You will be assessed through the job evaluation process to check that you are working at the required level to progress from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer.  Should the result not meet the required boundary of the next grade you will again meet with your manager to review how your role will be further developed, and additional duties and responsibilities added, which will enable your role to meet the level of skill, knowledge and responsibility required for the Senior Lecturer Role Profile.

Once you have successfully progressed to Senior Lectuer (Grade F) from that point onward you will be expected to work in line with the requirements of Senior Lecturer Role Profile, and will move through the annual increments of Grade F.

Please note that there are no similar arrangements to progress from Senior Lecturer (Grade F) to Principal Lecturer (Grade G); Principal Lecturer roles will be advertised and appointed through a competitive recruitment and selection process.

Professorships and Associate Professorships

We operate a process for the award of Professorships and Associate Professorships (formerly Readerships) on existing employees of the University.  This is not an annual process but occurs periodically: the frequency and timing of the process and the number of posts available may vary depending on institutional priorities.  Academic staff will be notified when the process becomes available.

  • The conferment of the title of Professor reflects the high standing of an individual in areas relevant to the University and its activities. It is intended to recognise outstanding academic distinction within a particular subject, together with academic leadership and an outstanding contribution to the University.
  • The title of Associate Professor is a personal one and reflects an individual’s significant contribution to either research-related or other professional activities.

Academic career progression routes can be found further up this page.

Please see the Professorial and Associate Professorial Procedure 2018 for more details.

Hear from other staff who've developed their career

Below you can find some testimonials from staff who've taken advantage of our opportunities to develop their career.

This page was published on 8 May 2019

Iain Clark - Head of Management Systems and Information, Human Resources

"I joined the University as a Clerical Assistant back in 1996 and at that time I was probably employed at the lowest possible administrative grade within our pay scale structure. Now I am part of the Human Resources Senior Management Team with specific responsibility for our reward and management information. I'm one of many employees here at the University whose career has been developed by our culture of investing in our people and through our commitment to life-long learning and continuous professional development. Our staff surveys suggest that we are regarded as a good place to work – I can pay testament to that!"

Freda Cook - Senior Lecturer (Combined Studies Programme), Faculty of Education and Society

"I am one of those extremely fortunate people who love their job and who look forward to going to work each day. The University is a great place to work: opportunities for career and personal development appear regularly at the University, whether through the chance to teach in a different area or becoming a student yourself and learning new skills/procedures etc. Learning at the University of Sunderland isn't only for students; we are all constantly learning here. I feel I am a valued member of the University and my team, I work with amazing academics, remarkable students and of course, the pay is good too! Having loved school from my very first day, to be working in a 'learning' environment is an absolute joy. My vision for the future is to continue with the job I love: teaching and learning."