What Does the Title Professor Emeritus Mean?

The title professor emeritus, or professor emerita in the female form, is an honorific title conferred upon retired professors who have distinguished themselves during the course of their teaching careers. The title is only conferred upon retirement, but retirement alone does not suffice for eligibility. Guidelines vary across academic institutions regarding both the nominating process and selection criteria.

The conferring of the professor emeritus title does not constitute employment rights at the school, although the retired faculty member may continue to be involved in the educational process on a part-time or unpaid basis. Facilities privileges may be available to the retiree, such as library access or office space. Emeritus faculty members may also continue to be members of their respective departments and be listed in school directories as such.