Salaries of Professors


Someone left a comment asking about the pay of university dons. Here’s what I got (based on a thread in Expat Singapore Forum):

Professor S$178,750 – S$270,875
Associate Professor S$108,625 – S$204,875
Assistant Professor S$71,500 – S$121,690

If you think the numbers look high, recall that NTU Professor Bryan Ngoi Kok Ann, who was found guilty of lying to CPIB, could afford to give his mainland Chinese mistress a $7,000-a-month allowance and expensive gifts like a $11,000 Chopard watch. (ST, 26 September 2006)

And remember Chua Choong Tze? He was the youngest assistant professor in Singapore at the time he joined SMU to teach and research in finance. It was said that a person with his credentials can “earn at least US$100,000 at any good American university for a nine-month contract.” And he was just 23. (ST, 20 July 2003)

In comparison, an R&D manager makes only $7,890.


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  1. hi,
    thanks for the info..
    I’m wondering however, if the stated salaries for profs are annual salaries, i.e. you’re comparing annual salaries of profs with the monthly salary of the r&d manager? Because the pdf showing yale salaries do seem like annual ones =)


  2. MJ, you are spot on. The comparison is perhaps not fair, given that $7,890 x 12 = $94,680 and it does not include performance bonuses. But it’s already the 75th-percentile research manager’s salary. Maybe what I should drive at is that a researcher working as a professor has better opportunities (in salary) than just a research manager.

  3. thanks for your clarification! =)

    I know both professions are not easy, but hmm… maybe an r&d manager is ‘easier’ to become compared to an A/P, Prof, etc., hence the higher pay for the latter, i.e. not all r&d managers may be qualified to be professors.

  4. The Assist Prof (AP) salary has a big varation. how about a person joining as AP from top 5 universities in US and has 3+ years post PhD experience?

  5. NONSENSE!!!

    NUS assistant professors earn 72,000
    associate professors 90,000
    full professors start at 168,000, but the university is going to lower this.

    NUS salaries are far below what people earn in the US, which is why nobody wants to go there!

  6. Latest info. from sg- include the performance bonus and 13th month.

    Professor S$208,450 – S$320,455
    Associate Professor S$138,625 – S$234,567
    Assistant Professor S$89,530 – S$131,642

  7. In general, Singapore’s universities’ faculty members are one of the best paid in the world, behind HK but on par with the top Uni in US.

    sg: where did you get those figures?

  8. I think it also depends largely on the field/faculty of the professor.

    For finance professors, naturally they will earn more, as they are benchmarked against their opportunity cost in the private sector.

    But if for eg. you are a Geography or Social work professor, probably don’t earn as much. Just my guess.

  9. I assume the figures are for NUS and NTU? I heard that SMU pays much higher. Anyone has the figures for SMU? And what about the new 4th university?

  10. And are similar numbers available for the administrative side of universities in Singapore. What do managers, senior managers, associate directors make? In NUS, SMU?

    Thanks if anyone knows and is able to share.

  11. Dun think so on

    I think the administrative side of uni doesn’t pay well, at least for junior admin officers with degrees (less than 3k?)

    Had a friend working there

  12. I tend to agree that the administration side of uni doesn’t pay well for the junior officers. Progression is slow. Someone posted on the forum that his peers in the civil service are doing better than him. I think civil service pays better than uni administration.

  13. I believe associate directors in SMU are fairly senior, looking at their hierarchy. It is a step below Director, which is the head of department. Associate directors in NUS, on the other hand, appear to be just above senior manager. They also have senior associate director, and deputy director above that.

  14. could u tell me what wud associate directors get paid at smu? in admin or support ….lets say a associate sirector -IT?

  15. Hi guys,

    I’ve recently been invited by both NUS and NTU for an assistant prof position in engineering. Just wondering if there is a big difference between these two universities in terms of salary, benefits etc.

    Would also be appreciated if you have any update on the latest 2012 salary scales.


  16. besides the Asst Prof, Assoc Prof and Prof title, the salary will also take into consideration,
    1. Years of service. Assoc Profs ranges from early 30s to late 60s. Hence assuming a modest $200-$500 annual increment, the salary disparity due to age will be large.
    2. Faculty. As mentioned in above posts. Of course medical professors will be paid more. Also a constitutional lawyer may be paid less than other law professors.
    3. Concurrent university appointments. This is important. A quarter of the A/P and full prof have other university appointments such as deans, various vice-deans, director of research centre, provost, etc.
    4. Side income. Example many medical professors are adjunct. These doctors have full time consultant positions in hosiptals and they occasionally teach for reasons other than money. Engineering professors be consulting in private sector and they have to declare and pay university 30%-70% of consultancy fees received. Some engineering professors even have their own business, directorships and major shareholdings outside.

    The workload and risk, dollar to dollar, comparison, is much higher for the asst prof as they have to excel in both teaching, research and some occasional ad-hoc appointments. They usually do not have a life outside the university until the receive the tenure to Assoc Prof. For some local universities, this Assoc Prof tenure expires at 55 and you may be hired on a contract basis thereafter. At this age you start to stress again and experience uncertainty, and even wage cut.



  18. Dr Shaikh Imran on

    Dr. Peter Raj thanks for commenting on my post.
    I got Ph.D. degree from State University of India, Named as Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra State, India. Even my wife is Ph.D. from the same university

  19. Dr. Pradeep on

    I’m a M.Tech, Ph.D in Computer Science & Engineering with 13 years of experience out of which 12 years worked for engineering colleges in bangalore till i became professor and head. from last 1 year serving as Technology director of a software company at China country. now i’m looking for professor position in any of the universities of singapore.. can anybody help me giving details of recruiters and what salary i can expect there?

  20. Can anyone guide how much would be the salary for an Assistant Director position at SMU? I have got a PhD (from Australia) with 10+ years experience. Many thanks.

  21. I am from the HR department of NUS. For those of you getting PHD from India your chances of getting professorship here is low. At best you will offered a lectureship job. India has been well known for incompetent PHDs.

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