Outgoing Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is officially leaving his political career behind and heading back to academia.

Days after losing his own Toronto riding and leading the Liberals into an election that saw the party suffer heavy losses, Ignatieff has accepted a post as senior resident at the University of Toronto's elite Massey College.

"Following the results of the federal election this week, Dr. Ignatieff has decided to return to academic life," John Fraser, the master of Massey, said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

Ignatieff isn't the first politician to take up the post. Over the past 15 years former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, Liberal MP Bob Rae and former Reform Party leader Preston Manning have been senior residents at Massey.

Ignatieff will teach courses at the university's faculty of law, the political science department, the Munk School of Global Affairs and the School of Public Policy and Governance.

The announcement comes after a disastrous federal election for the Liberals. The party entered Monday's election with 77 seats, which made them the second-ranked party in Parliament and the official opposition.

After the election, only 34 Liberals won a seat in the House of Commons, where they will form a small caucus of a party that lags behind the governing Conservatives and the Opposition New Democrats.

Ignatieff, who lost in his own Toronto riding, announced he would be stepping down as Liberal leader on Tuesday.

The transition back to university life is a logical one for Ignatieff, who graduated from the University of Toronto in 1969. He later built a career in journalism and in academia, teaching at Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard.

He returned to Canada in 2005 and taught briefly at the University of Toronto before entering politics the following year.

"Political leadership often comes with onerous burdens, and Dr. Ignatieff has met his challenges with both fortitude and imagination," Fraser wrote.

"He will be welcomed into the university community by both faculty and students and honoured for his commitments to our national life.

"In return we shall have the benefit from his learning and experience."

With files from The Canadian Press