Negotiating a Faculty Offer

By Misty Crooks

Photo by Shubham Sharan on Unsplash

Negotiating your faculty offer can bring in better funding, benefits, and work conditions. While it can seem intimidating to negotiate an offer, rest assured that universities generally expect candidates to negotiate. Read on for information on negotiating faculty offers.

Assess Your Value and Your Values

It helps before negotiating a faculty offer to know what skills and accomplishments you bring to the table. As with negotiating any job offer, you should develop an idea of what you want in a higher education workplace. Do you want to work at a large R1 institution or is a small liberal arts school focused on teaching a better fit? Are you open to any geographical area, or do you want to stay in a particular location? How much weight do family responsibilities and relationships carry in your ideal situation? You can learn more by talking to people in a variety of academic institutions. Informational interviews will provide valuable insights into the day-to-day life of a professor at different types of schools.

Take Stock of Salary and Potential Benefits

The consensus for salary negotiation for assistant professor positions is 5-15% above the offer. Take into consideration the type of school, aiming lower for small teaching colleges and higher for science and professional schools. For most humanities and social science positions, 10% more than the offer is typical for negotiations. Keep in mind that faculty salaries may be capped since salaries in universities lag behind the wider job market. If this is the case, there are many other points to negotiate with faculty offers. Some of the more common areas often up for negotiation are non-recurring money (start-up costs and research funding, e.g.), types of research funding, summer teaching pay, and responsibilities and workload. Assistance with student loans is also an area for negotiation at some schools. As with negotiating any offer, don’t try to include too many variables. Choose three to five top benefits and focus on those.


Once you know what aspects of the offer you want to negotiate, you will want to plan your strategy. One method is to create a document similar to a grant proposal explaining what salary, funds, and other benefits you are seeking. In a grant proposal, you explain the contributions your research will make to your field. In your negotiation proposal, you can make a case for why the salary, other funds, and benefits you seek will allow you contribute to the institution. Frame your counteroffer as a win-win-win for yourself, the department, and the school. Remember to emphasize that you are excited about the offer and the potential of working at the school.

Final Thoughts

Applying for academic jobs can be a grueling process and many graduate students are happy just to get a faculty offer. Negotiating a faculty offer is important to ensuring you are adequately compensated for the skills, talents, and accomplishments you bring to the institution.

Additional Resources

Looking for more information on negotiations? Check out our webinar on negotiating or schedule an appointment with a career advisor for personalized assistance. Stay tuned for our next post in the series: “Negotiating for Non-Academic Jobs.”