23 Best Gift Ideas for Professors

Some academic occasions are to be celebrated, such as the end of a semester, graduation, or when your favorite professor retires. To honor the occasion, you may want to purchase a gift to thank your professor for all the hours and work they’ve put into your education. Trust us, professors work hard – when they aren’t teaching you, they’re likely in meetings, working on administrative tasks or doing research. 

But what should you buy? 

To help you find the perfect gift for your professor, we have prepared a list of 23 of the best gifts for professors you can buy online.

Top Gifts for Professors

In a hurry? Check out these top 3 staff picks:

Preview
Best General Gift
Tea Forte Single Steeps Lotus Organic Loose Leaf...
Best Overall
Terrarium Kit With Live Marimo Moss Balls - Small...
Best Retirement
11 oz Rocks Whiskey Highball The Legend Has...
Model
Tea Forte Single Steeps Lotus Organic Loose Leaf...
Terrarium Kit With Live Marimo Moss Balls - Small...
11 oz Rocks Whiskey Highball The Legend Has...
Prime?
Best General Gift
Preview
Tea Forte Single Steeps Lotus Organic Loose Leaf...
Model
Tea Forte Single Steeps Lotus Organic Loose Leaf...
Prime?
Purchase
Best Overall
Preview
Terrarium Kit With Live Marimo Moss Balls - Small...
Model
Terrarium Kit With Live Marimo Moss Balls - Small...
Prime?
Purchase
Best Retirement
Preview
11 oz Rocks Whiskey Highball The Legend Has...
Model
11 oz Rocks Whiskey Highball The Legend Has...
Prime?
Purchase

Sea Urchin Air Plant Kit

aura creations 3 pcs Sputnick Sea Urchin Air Plant...

Bringing nature indoors, this exotic kit comes with 3 tillandsia air plants and 3 sea urchin shells to display them in. These unique plants can live without soil, absorbing their nutrients from the air. An attractive addition to any space, these versatile plants can be arranged in any style and will filter and cleanse the air around you. With low maintenance, and minimal watering, they will thrive anywhere.

What we like:

  • Comes with a convenient instruction sheet
  • Easy care
  • An exotic and unusual gift 

What we don’t like:

  • The shells are on the smaller side, with some plants being too large to fit in them – a different pot may be needed if this is the case.

Best for: Anyone looking for a gift idea for green thumbed professors, but are after something more unique than your typical indoor plant. These will certainly brighten up any professor’s face and office!

Sale
aura creations 3 pcs Sputnick Sea Urchin Air Plant...
  • EXOTIC ASSORTMENT - Kit includes 3 pcs tillandsia...
  • EASY CARE - Air plants are very low maintenance....
  • POWERFUL AIR PURIFIERS - Tillandsias have the...

VOBAGA Coffee Mug Warmer

VOBAGA Coffee Mug Warmer&Cup Warmer for Office...

Professors usually spend their days being interrupted, often leading to the bitter disappointment of a cup of coffee gone cold. The solution – a coffee mug warmer. Suitable to sit on an office desk, this compact design has three temperature settings to either keep or warm up the temperature of the beverage, meaning no more wasted trips to the staff room to reheat a drink.

What we like:

  • Safe and durable with an automatic shut off after 4 hours
  • Suitable for a range of mugs and materials
  • Lightweight and portable

What we don’t like:

  • Don’t expect drinks to become super hot – if your drink is cold when you use it, it will become warm but not piping hot. 
  • Can be a little bit noisy

Best for: Every professor! If you’re looking for the best gift ideas for professors, this could be the leading choice. What better way to say thank you than to make sure your professor never has to sip a cold coffee again!

Sale
VOBAGA Coffee Mug Warmer&Cup Warmer for Office...
  • Three-Temperature Settings: Our electric mug...
  • Automatic Shut Off: This cup warmer with a auto...
  • Safe & Durable:With high-tech materials make the...

Tea Forté SINGLE STEEPS Lotus Organic Loose Leaf Tea Sampler

Tea Forte Single Steeps Lotus Organic Loose Leaf...

Designed to relax the mind, body, and spirit, this organic tea leaf sampler offers a selection of gourmet teas for every mood. The pack comes with five varieties of tea, 3 of each blend – Darjeeling Quince, Mountain Oolong, Lemon Lavender, Orange Jasmine, and Vanilla Pear. Coming in pre-portioned single servings, these tea leaves can either be emptied into a teapot or infusing basket, for the perfect cup of tea. 

What we like:

  • A great way to sample new and different flavors of tea
  • Convenient pre-portioned servings 
  • Well presented box

What we don’t like:

  • Some of the flavors are a bit hit and miss – down to personal preference

Best for: For a retirement gift for a professor, this would be a good way to help them relax and settle into their new retired life. 

Tea Forte Single Steeps Lotus Organic Loose Leaf...
  • ORGANIC TEA SAMPLER with five varieties of our...
  • RELAXING TEAS for mind, body and spirit, Lotus...
  • DELIGHTFUL TEA GIFT SET with a premium collection...

Coffee Table Book 

1000 Record Covers (Bibliotheca...

When deciding on a gift for a professor, you can’t go wrong with a coffee table book that showcases your teacher’s interest. Not only is it a personalized and thoughtful gift, but you have the freedom to make it as funny, serious or practical as you want. 

What we like:

  • Thoughtful
  • It’s unlikely that someone else has bought the same gift
  • Can play around with genre and price

What we don’t like:

  • Sometimes when there is too much choice, it’s hard to make a decision! 

Best for: Those looking for gifts for a college professor that they can perfectly tailor to the individual. 

Sale
1000 Record Covers (Bibliotheca...
  • 1000 Record Covers
  • Michael Ochs
  • Publisher: TASCHEN

50 Blank Thank You Cards with Self-Seal Envelopes

Thank You Cards - 50 Pack Thank You Card Bulk,...

While a gift says thank you, it’s always nice to receive a personalized note to go alongside it. Or, sometimes, just a well designed and thoughtful thank you note is enough. With gold foil letterpress combined with a solid color background, these cards offer a simple yet elegant design, perfect for both men and women for any occasion. Made with premium paper, both the card and envelope look smart and professional.

What we like:

  • Suitable to give to anyone
  • Elegant and quality design 
  • Envelopes are self-sealing

What we don’t like:

  • Limited choice of background-color

Best for: Anyone looking for the best way to say a personalized thank you to their professors. Available in a pack of 50, there are plenty of cards to hand out to every college or university professor who has imparted you with their knowledge. 

Thank You Cards - 50 Pack Thank You Card Bulk,...
  • 【GOLD FOIL LETTERPRESS WRITING】Elegant...
  • 【QUALITY THICK CARD STOCK】Made with a premium...
  • 【SUITABLE FOR ANYONE】Our thank you cards look...

Pop Quiz Clock

DCI Pop Quiz Clock, Black and White, Metal,...

A unique and creative way to keep track of time, this analog display wall clock has a different math problem for each hour. A large design made from matte black powder-coated metal with white letters and numbers means this clock will stand out in any classroom, lecture hall or office. 

What we like:

  • A fun way to tell the time
  • Discussion starter
  • Unique gift

What we don’t like:

  • Makes quite a loud ticking noise
  • May be a distraction to students in the class who become focused on solving the math problems rather than the lesson at hand!

Best for: Those looking for the best gift for a professor who loves math, or any teacher that would enjoy a novel addition to their classroom or office. 

Sale
DCI Pop Quiz Clock, Black and White, Metal,...
  • Analog display wall clock made of matte black...
  • As the clock ticks, the hands move around the dial...
  • A unique and creative way to keep track of time,...

Inspirational Quote Pen

Aristotle Enlightened Quote Pen - Knowing Yourself...

This stylish gift is an ideal choice for any professor, as they always need a pen to hand. Coming in a range of engraved designs, from Aristotle quotes to Einstein quotes and even Hemmingway, there will no doubt be an inspiring saying that your professor will love. Made from metal, with a lacquered wood-colored finish, this elegant ballpoint pen is refillable and reusable. 

What we like:

  • Not too heavy or too light
  • Uses the standard Parker ballpoint refill

What we don’t like:

  • On the bulkier side

Best for: Those in need of a gift idea for a PhD advisor, college professor or university professor, this luxury pen is both a practical and stylish gift. 

Aristotle Enlightened Quote Pen - Knowing Yourself...
  • Aristotle enlightened quote pen, engraved with his...
  • Elegant metal pen with lacquered wood-colored...
  • Weight of pen: approximately 30 grams; Size of...

MOKOQI Magnetic Levitation Floating Globe 

MOKOQI Magnetic Levitation Floating Globe...

The perfect desk companion, this floating globe is a high tech gadget that everyone would enjoy, even your PhD advisor! Simple to install and set up, it’s easy to make the globe levitate. You can even make it spin in the air and watch it rotate! Your professor’s office will have never looked cooler!

What we like:

  • LED light feature makes it look cool in the dark
  • Great conversation piece
  • A fun gift

What we don’t like:

  • The magnets are powerful and can’t be close to computer devices or other electronic devices.
  • Smaller than expected

Best for: Anyone after a novelty Christmas gift for a professor, this will certainly add the wow factor to any office. 

Sale
MOKOQI Magnetic Levitation Floating Globe...
  • Magnetic Floating Globe is suspended in mid-air by...
  • Floating Globes Levitating Globes there are 3 led...
  • Globe is 3.3-inch in diameter, and stand 7 inches...

G-WACK Stress Relief Desk Toy

Zutan Luxury Ballpoint Pen - Silver Gift Pen with...

Being a professor is a stressful and demanding job, so why not gift them with something to relieve the pressure? Therapeutic and entertaining, this desk toy releases stress as well as aids creativity. It is the ideal distraction and a productive brain break. 

What we like:

  • Great desk addition
  • A good way to release stress
  • Novelty gift

What we don’t like:

  • Balls can fly everywhere!
  • A mix of magnetic and metallic balls, with less magnetic ones

Best for: Those wanting to buy a gift for their professor that provides some humorous entertainment and a distraction from marking papers!

Sale
Zutan Luxury Ballpoint Pen - Silver Gift Pen with...
  • METAL DESIGN:Elegant slim and lightweight...
  • PORTABLE DESIGN:Our ballpoint pen has a durable...
  • SMOOTH & EASY GRIP:The 0.7mm point of our...

50 States, 5000 Ideas

50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go,...

The travel experts at National Geographic have created this book to showcase the best travel experiences in every state. Mixing in the well-known with the unexpected, from off the wall museums to the best place to spot a sea otter, each entry gives useful information and fascinating facts about each state to fuel an adventurous spirit. There’s also a section on the Canadian provinces and territories. 

What we like:

  • Fun and informative
  • Awesome pictures
  • The ideal reference to have while travelling

What we don’t like:

  • No maps
  • Small font 

Best for: Anyone seeking to buy the perfect retirement gift for a professor. This book will encourage them to start planning the vacation of a lifetime!

Sale
50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go,...
  • National Geographic
  • National Geographic, Joe Yogerst
  • Publisher: National Geographic

The Legend Has Retired 2019 Rocks Whiskey Highball 

11 oz Rocks Whiskey Highball The Legend Has...

What better way to see someone off into retirement than with something they can sip their favorite whiskey, bourbon or scotch from. This 11 oz personalized rocks whiskey glass is a fun way to celebrate retirement, while still being a thoughtful gift. 

What we like:

  • Thoughtful and personalized for the occasion
  • Fun, and can double as christmas gifts for professors

What we don’t like:

  • A tad gimmicky 

Best for: Those wanting a retirement gift for a professor that sees them off in style! 

11 oz Rocks Whiskey Highball The Legend Has...
  • 11 oz Rocks Whiskey Highball The Legend Has...
  • 11oz Rocks Whiskey Glass
  • Measurements: 3.5" H x 3.25" D

Happy Retirement Plant Pot

Happy Retirement Plant Pot Wooden Cube Planter...

Another great retirement gift idea for a professor, this planter is a small durable wooden box that comes with forget-me-not seeds. The planter is inscribed with the cute message: “Happy retirement, let your new life bloom!” The box includes planting instructions, an indoor garden planter, seed packets, and peat pellets.

What we like:

  • A cute gift for any PhD advisor
  • Personalized for retirement 

What we don’t like:

  • This doesn’t come as a plant – the recipient must grow the plant from the seeds

Best for: Anyone after a sweet and thoughtful retirement gift for their professor that ties in nicely with the occasion. 

Happy Retirement Plant Pot Wooden Cube Planter...
  • This cool planter is a small durable wooden box
  • NOTICE: Only the Forget-Me-Not seeds come with...
  • Comes ready for gift giving. Planting instructions...

Holiday Nut and Dried Fruit Gift Box

Holiday Nut and Dried Fruit Gift Basket, Healthy...

You can’t go wrong with a well-stocked healthy gift box! Containing a selection of 12 healthy little treats, from protein-rich salted and roasted nuts to juicy dried fruit, there’s plenty to get those taste buds watering. Both a quality and healthy gift, Oh! Nuts use the best and freshest ingredients to build up their delicious holiday gift baskets. 

What we like:

  • Suitable for vegans/vegetarians and those who have a dairy intolerance, and the box is certified Kosher
  • Well packaged
  • A good variety of fruit and nuts

What we don’t like:

  • Mixed reviews on the quality of taste – this is more of a personal preference though

Best for: Those wanting to buy a Christmas gift for a professor that brings good cheer and good health!

Holiday Nut and Dried Fruit Gift Basket, Healthy...
  • BEST SELLING DRIED FRUIT AND NUTS GIFT ARRANGMENT:...
  • FESTIVE FRUITS BURSTING WITH UNIQUE FLAVOR: You...
  • SPEND YOUR CHRISTMAS MOVIE NIGHT INDULGING IN...

Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker

Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker, 1 Liter,...

You’ll be hard pushed to find a professor who doesn’t like coffee! This stainless steel french press makes it simple to brew a delicious cup of coffee in just 4 minutes. The mesh filter helps to extract the coffee’s aromatic oils, ensuring maximum flavor in every cup. With a durable design, the coffee press comes with a Bodum Patented safety lid to stop spillages, and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. 

What we like:

  • Comes in a variety of sizes
  • Easy to use and clean
  • No coffee grounds in the cup

What we don’t like:

  • Plunging mechanism not overly smooth
  • Glass is quite fragile

Best for: Those after a practical gift idea for a professor, this coffee maker could be a great choice. It will likely make better coffee than what’s in the staff room!

Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker, 1 Liter,...
  • French press: Chambord French press brews a...
  • Stainless steel: 3-part stainless steel plunger...
  • Durable design: Coffee press features Bodum...

Moocoo Portable Espresso Machine

Moocoo Portable Espresso Machine, Manual Espresso...

While we’re on the subject of coffee, if you feel like splashing out, this simple, light and sturdy portable coffee machine makes a great coffee. Due to advanced pumping technology, this espresso machine is able to provide the perfect crema in every single brew. Simple to use, this hand-powered machine requires no battery or electricity. It’s easy to clean and is dishwasher safe.

What we like:

  • Takes both ground coffee or espresso capsules
  • The pump can froth milk
  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Handy to take anywhere

What we don’t like:

  • On the small side – don’t expect a big cup of coffee
  • Higher-end of the price scale

Best for: Anyone looking to buy an innovative and useful gift. Although more expensive than the other professor gifts, this could be given for a special occasion – perhaps as a retirement gift for your professor. 

Moocoo Portable Espresso Machine, Manual Espresso...
  • 【2-IN-1 Extraction Design & Multiple Choices...
  • 【Easy to Use or Wash】Moocoo hand-powered...
  • 【The best Gift for your Family】This newest...

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Both the number one national and international bestseller, renowned psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson answers one of life’s most difficult questions – what does everyone in the modern world need to know? Humorous and informative, this book covers all sorts of truths of ancient tradition alongside revelations from cutting-edge scientific research, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure, and responsibility. 

What we like:

  • A mix of philosophy, psychology, and self-help
  • Witty and educational 
  • Covers a broad range of topics

What we don’t like:

  • Can ramble on in places – you may have to dig around for the point Peterson is making

Best for: Those wanting to buy a book as a gift for a professor but are unsure what genre to go for – this bestseller provides a mix of both humor and education, making it a pretty safe yet interesting choice.  

Sale
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
  • What does everyone in the modern world need to...
  • Humorous, surprising and informative, Dr. Peterson...
  • Jordan B. Peterson

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

Another book by Dr. Jordan Peterson, Maps of Meaning is a provocative hypothesis that explores the mind, morality, and structure of the world by honing in on the connection between neuropsychology, cognitive science, rituals, myths, and religious stories. It also looks at the Freudian and Jungian approaches to mythology and narrative. 

What we like:

  • An interesting look at the world and our cultures
  • Technical and scientific mixed with fun and curiosity

What we don’t like:

  • Can be a challenging read
  • Pricey

Best for: Those looking to buy a gift for a PhD advisor who specializes in psychology, philosophy, religion, or any professor who enjoys having their world view challenged.

Sale
Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief
  • Jordan B. Peterson
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Edition no. 1 (03/26/1999)

Street Sign Wall Plaque Decoration

[SignJoker] BIOLOGY Street Sign teacher professor...

A novelty sign that can be used inside and outside. Covering a range of subjects such as BIOLOGY BLVD, SCIENCE ST, ENGLISH ST, HISTORY ST, these signs make for a humorous and personalized gift for your college professor or university professor. There’s even one that says RETIRED RD! Made from high-quality plastic and easy to install. 

What we like:

  • Fun 
  • Personalized to a specific subject

What we don’t like:

  • A limited number of subjects available

Best for: Anyone looking for a fun gift to buy a professor, perhaps a little something for Christmas!

[SignJoker] BIOLOGY Street Sign teacher professor...
  • Size: 4" x 18"
  • Made of high quality plasitc, will not rust
  • Comes with 4 mounting holes for easy installation

Solar System Color Changing Heat Sensitive Mug

The Rising Sun Solar System Planets 11oz Color...

A thermochromic mug that, when activated by a hot liquid, will make the sun and planets and night sky appear, as if by magic. Like any heat sensitive color changing mug, this must be hand-washed. Also, it cannot be put in the microwave. With its cool design, this mug will certainly bring some cheer to any professor’s day!

What we like:

  • Good quality
  • Fun and novel way to enjoy a hot beverage
  • Great images of the planets

What we don’t like:

  • Not suitable for a dishwasher or a microwave
  • Liquids must be very hot for the mug to work

Best for: All the science professors out there, or any professor that would enjoy a cool gift! 

The Rising Sun Solar System Planets 11oz Color...
  • LIQUID MUST BE VERY HOT** - HEAT ACTIVATED - Pour...
  • NOT DISHWASHER or MICROWAVE SAFE - Like all heat...
  • A PERFECT GIFT - For the star lover, star gazer,...

Jane Austen Books Coaster Set

Jane Austen Books Coaster Set- 6 Piece Fabric Top...

A set of 6 individual coasters featuring titles from Jane Austen’s famous novels, perfect for any English lover or anglophile! Practically designed, with a fabric top to help absorb condensation and a non-slip recycled rubber back to protect furniture. 

What we like:

  • Easy and safe to spot clean
  • Fun to look at
  • Functional – good protection for furniture

What we don’t like:

  • Colors come out quite dull
  • Strong rubber smell

Best for: Any English professor! These would make a good Christmas gift.

Jane Austen Books Coaster Set- 6 Piece Fabric Top...
  • Set of 6 individual - 4 inch x 4 inch square,...
  • Permanent matte finish - safe to spot clean with...
  • Non-slip recycled rubber back helps protects...

Mceal Wax Seal Stamp Regal Letter

Mceal Wax Seal Stamp, Silver Brass Head with...

With a choice of any letter in the alphabet, this wax seal stamp could be used on anything, like envelopes, wine bottles or gift packages to add a level of sophistication! With a 30mm silver-plated brass seal head and a wooden handle, this stamp not only looks good but has a great design. 

What we like:

  • High quality and well made
  • Beautiful design
  • Easy to use

What we don’t like:

  • Doesn’t come with wax

Best for: Those after a unique and personalized gift for a professor.

Mceal Wax Seal Stamp, Silver Brass Head with...
  • Regal Alphabet Series Letter S
  • Seal Head Size: Round 1 1/5"(30mm)
  • Material: Silver Plated Brass Seal Head + Wooden...

Aquatic Arts Marimo Aquarium Kit

Terrarium Kit With Live Marimo Moss Balls - Small...

A popular plant in the aquarium hobby, these marimo moss balls generate oxygen and remove nitrates, helping to improve water quality. They are one of the easiest aquatic plants to care for  as they require no special lighting. This aquarium kit includes one moss ball, a corked bottle, a sea fan, and river stones all waiting to be assembled! This is a great “pet” that does not come with the responsibility of being taken care of, which makes for an easy gift for a busy professor in your life. 

What we like:

  • Versatile – can be kept in any freshwater aquarium, vase, jar, terrarium or fishbowl.
  • Moss balls have been known to live for up to 200 years.
  • Looks great as a decoration on a desk or at home.

What we don’t like:

  • The marimo moss ball can fall apart

Best for: Anyone seeking a gift idea for a professor that may already own a fishbowl or aquarium or that biology professor that’s into aquatic plants! A more unusual way to say thank you!

Terrarium Kit With Live Marimo Moss Balls - Small...
  • Includes one nano marimo Moss ball, a Square 7oz...
  • The cork lid makes this a great piece for retro,...
  • Extremely easy to take care of. Keep them in any...

Andux Land Newton’s Cradle Balance Ball 

Andux Land Newton's Cradle Balance Ball NDBQ-01

Art-in-motion is a classic gift and the perfect accessory to any desk. Another stress-relieving gadget for that overworked professor, the simplicity of lifting one steel ball and letting it swing back into the other steel balls never grows old. 

What we like:

  • Fun and entertaining gift
  • Will make any desk look cool
  • Simple and classic design

What we don’t like:

  • Pretty pricey

Best for: Any physics professor or for those looking to buy a stylish yet simple gift for any professor.

Andux Land Newton's Cradle Balance Ball NDBQ-01
  • 1.The classic desk accessory is art-in-motion,
  • 2.Newton's Principle that "action and reaction are...
  • 3.Use it to waste time, relieve stress, tune out...

Buying Tips

There are a couple of things you should consider before purchasing a gift for a professor:

Gift Etiquette for Professors

While there is no set etiquette when buying a gift for a professor, you may want to think about the type of gift you want to give – something funny or novel, something serious or educational, or something practical and useful. How well you know your professor or what subject they teach will influence the gift choice, as it’s always nice to be given something personal and thoughtful. If in doubt, there are plenty of excellent generic gifts out there where you can’t go too wrong, especially coffee-related paraphernalia like the French Coffee Press or the coffee mug warmer!

How Much Should You Spend on a Gift for a Professor?

Ideally, the gift should be under $35, as most professors aren’t able to accept high-cost items from students due to institutional regulations and ethical standards. Rather than focusing too much on the price, think about a gift that will mean something to the professor or something that you know they will use often. It could be an inexpensive book in their field or a thoughtful little addition to their desk, you don’t have to splash out too much. 

Final Thoughts

When you put a little thought into thank you gifts for professors, we’re certain they’ll appreciate the gesture. Just remember, your gift isn’t a way to sway a decision about your grades! It’s there to say thank you!

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