Categories: careers

How to become a University Lecturer and Professor in Sri Lanka?

How to become a Lecturer and Professor?

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a university lecturer or professor in Sri Lanka? If so, you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll outline the steps you’ll need to take to become a university lecturer or professor in Sri Lanka.

First and foremost, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. For example, if you want to become a chemistry professor, you’ll need to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. After completing your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to pursue a master’s degree and a PhD in your field of study. This will typically take several years of full-time study and research.

Who is a University Lecturer?

University Lecturer is a  post-secondary teacher who teaches specialized subjects in a university. Usually, Lecturers with Bachelor’s degrees involve in teaching Undergraduates, while Senior Lecturers and Professors involve in teaching both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Lecturers involve in

  • teaching undergraduates and graduates
  • developing knowledge by conducting research in their field,
  • disseminating knowledge
  • contributing to the National Development and
  • development of the University.

Depending on your educational qualification you can start your academic career starting from Lecturer (Probationary), Lecturer (Confirmed), Senior Lecturer (Grade II and I), and Professor.

The path to becoming a University academic and later being promoted to a Professor

  1. Lecturer (Probationary)
  2. Lecturer (Confirmed)
  3. Senior Lecturer (Grade II)
  4. Senior Lecturer (Grade I)
  5. Professor/ Associate Professor
  6. Senior Professor

Lecturer (Probationary)

Educational Qualifications to become a Lecturer

In Sri Lanka, to become a University Lecturer (Probationary) you need a Bachelor’s  Degree with a specialization in the relevant field with a First or Second Class (Upper Division) Honours/ Special degree. However, depending on the specialty of the relevant subject they may also consider applicants with Second Class Lower Division and those with post-graduate degrees.

Your chance of selecting as a lecturer in a particular Department increases with the following extra qualifications

  • If you are the best student in your batch (batch top)  
  • If you have specialized knowledge in the field as specified in the advertisement eg. In this advertisement by the University of Sri Jayewardnepura for their Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, they specify that LECTURER (PROBATIONARY) should have a BSc. Special Degree in HRM with First or Second Class (Upper Division) and preference will be given to candidates who have recognized publications and competencies in sustainable HRM, HR Analytics, or Innovation in HRM with more than one year of experience in relevant teaching/research.
  • If you have already worked as a demonstrator/ temporary lecturer/Instructor (teaching experience)
  • If your talents and skills have been identified by the Dean, Head of the department, Professors, and other academics in the department
  • Working/ research/ academic experience in the relevant field

Senior Lecturer

If you have a Ph.D./ Doctoral Degree (or postgraduate research degree/ Masters/M.Sc. or MPhil Degree ) from the relevant discipline, with a Special/ Honours Degree with a First or Second Class (Upper Division) then you can directly apply for Senior Lecturer (Grade II).

Many established Departments in Sri Lanka only recruit Senior Lectures with Ph.D.s (they do not recruit just passed our graduates as Lectures) due to

  • University lectures with PhDs are regarded as the essential qualification in many University ranking systems
  • If they recruit Degree holders as a Lecturer, then the University should provide leave and salary (and sometimes Scholarships in US dollars) for that person to get his/ her Ph.D. degree. In the past, many such lecturers have not returned to Sri Lanka after their PhDs, resulting in a waste of public funds.
  • Also, undergraduate teaching during that period should be borne by the other lecturers in the department.

However, some new Universities and Departments with new subject areas may still recruit Lecturers.


Senior lecturers (Grade II or I) can apply to become a professor by providing a self-assessment of his/her contribution in the following areas.

  • Teaching and Academic Development
  • Research and Creative Work
  • Dissemination of Knowledge and University and National Development

A panel of experts appointed by the University Senate will evaluate the research papers, publications, and other relevant documents. The professorship will be awarded based on the marks obtained as per a Marking scheme.

Do new Lecturer vacancies are available in Sri Lanka?

  • Vacancies in New Universities, Faculties, and Departments that are being established in Sri Lanka.
  • Established departments also fill their carder positions due to the retirement of existing Senior lecturers and Professors.
  • Vacancies are also available in Non-state Higher Education institutes/ Private Campuses

It is also interesting to note that there has been a lack of Senior lecturers in some disciplines such as Engineering.

Why is it difficult to become a Lecturer?

Lecturer/ Senior Lecturer carder positions are limited in Universities. Many Graduates with First Class degrees are passed out from Universities each year. Therefore getting a Lecturer position in your relevant area depends on the available carder positions in that department at a particular time.

As per UGC directive Universities should advertise for Senior Lecture/ Lecturer for a particular carder vacancy. Therefore if senior candidates with Ph.D.s are applied for the job, junior graduates will have a limited chance of getting that job as a Lecturer.

How can you find Lecturer vacancies in Sri Lankan Universities?

  1. University vacancies are usually published in English Newspapers (Especially in Government Newspapers such as Daily News or Observer).
  2. Vacancies are advertised on the official website of each university. Please check the vacancies section of Universities regularly for the latest vacancies. eg.

3. Search in google for “University of — vacancies” and then you may be able to find the relevant vacancies if available at that time.

4. You can also check the online websites of English newspapers. Eg University of Peradeniya Academic Vacances advertised in Observer

UGC Circulars on Lecturer/ Professor recruitment

For more details on qualifications and recruitment procedures, you can download these UGC circulars

  • Estab. Circular No. 12/2021 : Schemes of Recruitment for the Posts of Lecturer (Probationary), Lecturer (Unconfirmed), Senior Lecturer Gr. II and Gr. I, [Non-(Medical/Dental)] – Applicable for the Departments of Information Technology of the Faculties of Arts/Humanities/Social Sciences/Visual and Performing Arts
  • Commission Circular No. 721: Schemes of Recruitment of Academic Staff

Gross Salary

Gross Salary as indicated on the University of Sri Jayewardenepura Website

  • A) Senior Professor– U-AC 5(I) – Approximate Gross Salary Rs.361,918/-
  • B) Professor– U-AC 5(II) – Approximate Gross Salary Rs.301,080/-
  • C) Senior Lecturer Grade I – U-AC 3(I) – Approximate Gross Salary Rs.255, 250/-
  • D) Senior Lecturer Grade II – U-AC 3(II) – Approximate Gross Salary Rs.222, 865/-
  • E) Lecturer (Unconfirmed) – U-AC 3 (III) – Approximate Gross Salary Rs.182, 446/-
  • F) Lecturer (Probationary) – U-AC 3 (IV) – Approximate Gross Salary Rs.136, 110/-

The other allowances determined by the University Grants Commission will be paid in addition to the above salary.


In summary, becoming a university lecturer or professor in Sri Lanka requires a strong foundation in your field of study, as well as significant teaching and research experience. With dedication and hard work, you can achieve your goal of becoming a university teacher and making a meaningful contribution to the world of academia.




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