In most departments, the teaching rank of instructor is limited to those appointees at the rank of assistant professor who are still completing the requirements for their doctorates, after which they are promoted to the rank of assistant professor. In a few departments, primarily in the sciences, the rank of instructor is used as a first faculty appointment, having a role somewhat akin to that of postdoctoral appointments in other science departments. Instructors serve a maximum of three years in rank, either full-time or part-time. After having served three years, they may be recommended for one final terminal year of appointment in this rank.

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