How to Email a Professor for PhD and Masters Supervision
Email plays an essential role when it comes to approaching a professor for scholarships, funding and research supervision. Content of your email is the first impression which you will give to the professor that will describe you as a serious and well qualified applicant. So, what is the best way to write an email that can increase your chances of selection for the specific position in the professor lab or research group? Here are the guidelines about the structure and content of the email.
Your email should illustrate that you are a qualified and suitable person for the open position in a professor lab. It should be short, clear and concise without repeating the whole details of your CV. Always make the first impression good by reading about the professor’s research projects and mentioning them in your email. Throughout your email keep in mind about grammar and punctuation. You can find a sample email template for contacting the professor at the end of this article.
The steps goes as follows:
- Subject line
Normally, professors are busy with their research work and supervision of their students. They can ignore your email. To avoid this problem, always include a strong, attractive and information based subject line for your email. The subject line will help the professor to guess about the contents of your email even before opening it. I recommend you to always use a clear and catchy subject line. For example, “Request for research supervision Fall 2020”, “Request for PhD supervision”, “Request for MS supervision” or “Prospective PhD Student”.
- Formal starting
Your email should be formal and start with Dear Dr.__, Dear Prof.__ . Always use professional greetings and avoid use of titles like Mr.__, Mrs.__ or Ms.__.
- First paragraph
The first paragraph should be about your short introduction stating about your name and where are you from. It should also address briefly about your qualifications and experience the professor is looking for the open position. You can include that I would appreciate the chance to discuss with you about your lab projects and research in the area of (write professor’s area of research into which you are interested) and about possible MS/PhD opportunities in your lab or research group. Avoid all kinds of abbreviations and slang terms.
- Second paragraph
In the second paragraph, you can write about your previous research, work experience or other skills which are relevant to the professor’s research area. You can get information about current and previous research projects of professor after visiting the official website of the lab. Avoid any kind of complexity, while writing about your previous work experiences and research projects. You have to list your expertise and achievements in an easy to understand the way that will help you standout from the competition.
- Third paragraph
The third and last section is the concluding paragraph. Here you need to state your motivation and interests in professor’s lab or research group. You can mention the specific research areas of professors which fascinated your interests to apply in this lab. Then, you can particularly show your interest in a specific domain. End this paragraph with polite request to consider you for the open option. For instance, “If possible, I would love to start working on (project name) in your lab beginning this summer.”
- End email with a formal acknowledgment
At the end of your email, you can mention that CV is attached with the email. i.e
If there is additional information that I have not included that you would like, I would be happy to provide it to you.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Now this is a sample of an emal to a professor for Masters supervision
***** Sample email to contact a professor *****
Subject: Request for Research and MS supervision
My name is (write your name) and I have completed (your degree title) from (your university name, don’t only use abbreviation) with (your CGPA/total CGPA, don’t mention CGPA if it’s low). As an option you can write about your big achievements such as Gold Medal and Dean certificates, if you have any.
During my undergraduate/Master, I have worked on some projects to actualize and implement the theoretical knowledge of (write your expertise, e.g. signal processing, automation and smart systems) into practical work.In this paragraph, you can also relate your previous and current work experience, internships, online courses and projects with the professor’s area of interest. If you have any research publication then you can mention in this paragraph.
I visited (write professor Lab or Research Group name e.g. Networking lab) website and found that you have research interests in (write research area of professor e.g. 5G, Internet of Things and automation). I am very enthusiastic to conduct research and pursue MS under your supervision.
I have attached my CV with this email and looking forward to hearing from you soon.
I shall be thankful for your response.