How To Become A Professor In Nigeria (All You Need To Know)

February 18, 2022

How To Become A Professor In Nigeria

In this article, we'd be exploring all you need to know about becoming a professor in Nigeria, including the minimum requirements.

The title of 'Professor' is one that comes with a lot of honour and dignity. According to, Nigeria has over 100,000 university lectures, out of which only 11,877 ( have attained the rank of professorship.

This can explain why professors are ranked so high in Nigeria, both in the academic sphere and beyond. 

Who is a professor?

The title of Professor is given to people that have a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) and are teachers at any academic level. A person who is a Doctor is someone who has finished a terminal degree meaning they have completed the highest degree in their field of study above the bachelor's degree.

Is a professor only a male?

According to a 2019 report by Statista, there are over 11.9 thousand professors working at Nigerian universities. Female professors are 1.8 thousand, while male professors add up to 10.1 thousand. This means that while the males are the majority, there are equal opportunities and everyone can attain the professorship rank, irrespective of gender.

Steps to Becoming a Professor in Nigeria

• Earn an O-level certificate

At this stage, it is assumed that you've obtained your first school leaving and Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) certificates.

The O-Level Examinations in Nigeria are offered by two different examination boards: the West African Examination Council and the National Examination Council (NECO).

• Earn a bachelor's degree

To earn a bachelor's degree, you need to secure admission into a higher institution. In most cases, to gain admission into a Nigerian university, you'll need to write the JAMB and Post-UTME examinations. You can also skip these exams by travelling abroad (other countries have different criteria too) or proceeding to the National Open University of Nigeria with your O-level results.

Most university courses will take four years and you'll at the end of the program, be awarded a bachelor's degree. You need to be focused, as most institutions will consider your GPA before offering you admission to pursue your master's degree.

• Get a postgraduate certificate

After your first degree, you will need to proceed to the compulsory National Youth Service Corps. After this stage, you have to return to the university for your master's degree program.

The next stage in the journey to you becoming a professorship is to obtain a PhD. The PhD, also known as the Doctor of Philosophy typically takes four to six years to complete, depending on the program design, the subject area you're studying, and the institution offering the program.

• Attain some teaching experience

Aside from having a doctorate degree in an area of specialisation, you'll also be required to attain some years of teaching experience.

In the Nigerian University system, one must have at least 3 years of teaching experience, research and community service at each of the four main levels of lectureship. 

The four levels of lectureship are:

 - Lecturer Grade 2
 - Lecturer Grade 1
 - Senior Lecturer
 - Associate Professor
All these put together, one must have had a minimum of twelve years of university teaching and research.

• Publish or write a book

Another very important thing you need to know about becoming a professor in Nigeria is that you should have published works in subjects relating to your field. For example, if your profession is Chemistry, it is recommended that you publish in any Science subject.

Publication of articles in high-impact international journals increases the candidate’s chances. Classically, a minimum of 60 internationally-published works will qualify a candidate to receive a positive assessment.

At least one of the assessors is expected to be from a well-ranked university outside Nigeria, preferably from North America or Europe (this is not usually the case).

Two positive assessments will, at least, qualify the candidate for the final step, which is screening via a rigorous oral interview.

The interview is a composite assessment of the candidate on teaching (length and quality) research (scores returned by the eternal assessors) and community service (internal and external).

With an overall score exceeding a set minimum by the university, the candidate is then processed to the University Council for appointment as a professor.

• Assessment of scholarship

This is the last but not the least in our list of the requirements for becoming a professor in Nigeria. Without this, you might be a senior lecturer for a very long time with getting to the rank of a professor. This particular stage involves the evaluation of the published works of the full professorial candidate by seasoned much senior full Professors in the individual’s field.

What more? Every institution has its own specifications and therefore, might not be limited to these only. You are encouraged to drop other criteria that might not have been stated here and suggestions for possible modifications if need be.

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