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How to Write an Email to a Professor (With Examples)
Table of Contents
How to email a professor in 7 steps, email to professor examples.
Emailing your professor can be a daunting task.
Writing professional emails is never easy, but composing an email to a professor can feel especially nerve-racking. After all, your professors have a lot of control over your academic success and your future career, so you don't want to make a mistake.
So, how exactly do you write a successful email to a professor?
In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide for how to write an email to your professor, plus a set of email templates you can use.
We’ve broken the process of emailing your professor into seven simple steps.
Step 1: How to Write the Subject Line
Start by writing a clear, concise subject line for your email.
Your subject line should be specific to your situation. Ideally, your professor should understand why you’re emailing them without even having to open the body of your message.
For example, if you’re emailing to request an extension for a research paper, you can use the subject line “Research paper deadline extension.” Or, if you’re emailing to ask for a clarification about the syllabus, you can use the subject line “Question about class syllabus.”
Step 2: How to Address a Professor in an Email
You should start your email with a formal salutation.
You can use formal greetings, such as “Dear” or “Hi,” followed by your teacher’s preferred title, whether that’s “Professor [Last Name],” “Mr. [Last Name],” “Ms. [Last Name],” or simply “[First Name].”
If you’re not sure about your professor’s title, “Dear Professor [Last Name]” is always a safe bet.
Step 3: How to Start an Email to a Teacher
Start your email by introducing yourself and explaining which class you’re in. For example, you might write, “My name is Hannah, and I’m a freshman in your ENGL 453 class.”
It’s common for professors to teach multiple classes, especially at large universities, so they don’t always know all their students by name. If you’re emailing from your academic account, they’ll likely be able to see your full name in the system, but it’s still better to be safe than sorry.
Of course, if you’ve already established a working relationship with your professor, and they know who you are, you don’t have to introduce yourself. Instead, you can start your email with a friendly greeting, such as “I hope your week is going well” or “Happy Friday!”
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Step 4: How to Explain Your Request
Now that you’ve finished your introduction, it’s time to explain all the essential information about why you’re writing this message.
Professors lead busy lives, so try to keep the body of your email as concise as possible. Don’t use a whole paragraph when a single sentence would do.
Try to keep a professional tone while you explain your request. You don’t need to sound overly stiff, but you should generally avoid using slang or making jokes.
If you’re writing about an issue that includes personal details, such as a health issue or the loss of a loved one, it’s okay to be vague when explaining your reasons. Don’t feel pressure to include details about your personal life that you’re not comfortable sharing.
Finally, be specific about what kind of follow-up action you’re requesting from your professor, if any. For example, you can write, “Please let me know if it would be possible to extend the deadline,” or “Please send me your feedback on this draft at your earliest convenience.”
Step 5: How to End an Email to a Professor
You can end the body of your email with a simple expression of gratitude. You can write something like, “Thank you for your understanding and support,” or simply “Thanks for your time.”
Step 6: How to Sign Off an Email
Sign off your email with a simple closing salutation, followed by your first name.
Keep it simple and polite. Popular choices include “Best,” “Thanks,” “Sincerely,” and “Regards.”
Step 7: Edit Your Email with ProWritingAid
You don’t want to send your professor an email riddled with grammar mistakes, especially if it’s your English professor! And even if they teach a different subject, like math or biology, you still want to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.
Editing your email with ProWritingAid can help you avoid mistakes. Our editing tool will correct grammar errors, spelling typos, and weak word choices.
You can even ask the tool to help you ensure you’re using a formal tone so your email doesn’t come across as casual or unprofessional.
Now that we’ve gone over the seven steps for writing an email to a professor, let’s look at some examples.
Here are some email templates you can use, depending on your specific situation.
Sick Email to Professor Example
Subject line: Missing class today
Dear Professor [Last Name],
My name is [your name], and I’m a student in your class [class name]. I’m writing to let you know that I won’t be able to make it to class today, due to health issues. [Insert details if needed].
Please let me know what material we’ll be covering so I can make it up before the next class.
Sample Email to Professor Asking for Help
Subject line: Help with [class name]
My name is [your name]. I’ve been really struggling with your class [class name] this semester, and I’m having a hard time understanding [details].
Would you have time to sit down with me and help me better understand the material? I would welcome any support you can offer.
Thank you in advance! I look forward to hearing from you.
How to Email a Professor About a Grade
Subject line: My grade for [assignment/exam name]
I hope your week is off to a good start!
I recently received my grade for [assignment/exam name], and it was lower than I expected. Could you please tell me where I lost points?
I know you have a busy schedule, but I would really appreciate more details, since I’m sure that information could also help me improve my grades in the future.
Thank you so much for your time!
Sample Email to Professor for Research
Subject line: Research opportunities in your lab
I hope you’re doing well!
My name is [your name], and I’m a [year, major]. I’m writing to ask about research opportunities in your lab next semester.
I’m really interested in the topic you’re researching because [details], and I have experience conducting research with [previous experience, if any].
Please let me know if you have any openings that might be suitable for me. I look forward to hearing from you!
How to Write an Apology Email for Missing a Class
Subject line: Missing class yesterday
I hope your week is going well.
I’m writing to apologize for missing your class [class name] yesterday. I was unable to attend because [details].
I know it was an important class and that I shouldn’t have missed it. I’ll do my best to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Thank you for your support and understanding.
Extension Email to Professor Example
Subject line: Extension for [Assignment Name]
My name is [your name], and I’m a student in your class [class name]. I’m writing to request an extension for our assignment about [assignment details].
I’ve been struggling to complete the assignment in time because of [reasons]. I would really appreciate it if you could extend the deadline to [new deadline date], due to my situation.
Please let me know if that would be okay. Thank you so much for your flexibility.
How to Write a Follow-Up Email to a Professor
Subject line: Follow-up re: [subject]
I recently emailed you about [topic].
I’m just writing to follow up on my previous email and make sure you’ve received it. If you have, please let me know when I can expect a reply.
Thank you again for your time!
How to Email a Professor About Getting Into Their Class
Subject line: Joining your class [class name]
My name is [your name], and I’m a [year, major] at [school name]. I’m interested in joining your class [class name]. I’m really fascinated by [topic] because [reasons], and I’ve heard that your class is a must-take class for students interested in [topic].
I don’t know how much demand there is for the class, but I’m curious if there’s anything I should do in advance to increase my chances of getting into the class.
Thank you for your consideration! I look forward to hearing from you.
There you have it—our guide for composing a clear and professional email to a professor.
Good luck, and happy writing!
Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on hannahyang.com or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.
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5 Fantastic Email Templates To Professor To Submit Assignment
At some stage during our education, we’ve all been there. We are unable to meet the deadline for a particular assignment and must find a method to convince the professor to accept our late submission.
Emailing your professor would be the wisest course of action. The only remaining unknown is the email’s content. After all, professors are extremely busy and would be unable to peruse a lengthy email.
Nonetheless, you must communicate your argument to the professor and make it compelling. A lengthy email would likely receive either no response or a negative response. So, how do you send an email that increases the likelihood of a positive response?
Here are some tips on how to write an email to a professor to submit an assignment:
- Use your academic email address. This shows that you are taking the assignment seriously and that you are a professional student.
- Write a clear and concise subject line. The subject line should be brief and informative, so that the professor can quickly understand what the email is about.
- Use a formal salutation. Address the professor by their title and last name, such as “Dear Professor Smith.”
- Introduce yourself. State your name and your class, so that the professor knows who you are.
- Explain why you are emailing. State the reason for your email, which is to submit your assignment.
- Attach your assignment. Make sure to attach your assignment to the email, so that the professor can easily access it.
- Proofread your email. Before you send your email, make sure to proofread it for any errors in grammar or spelling.
Here is an example of an email that you can use to submit an assignment:
Subject: Submission of Assignment 1
Dear Professor Smith,
My name is [Your Name] and I am a student in your [Class Name] class. I am writing to submit my assignment for this week.
The assignment is attached to this email. I have attached two versions of the assignment, in case you have difficulty opening one of them.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sincerely, [Your Name]
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Here are some additional tips:
- Be polite and respectful. Even though you are emailing a professor, it is important to be polite and respectful. Remember, they are still your teacher.
- Be professional. Use proper grammar and spelling, and avoid using slang or informal language.
- Be timely. Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your assignment. Give yourself plenty of time to proofread your email and attach your assignment.
If you are submitting an assignment late, you should apologize to your professor and explain why you are late. You should also ask for permission to submit your assignment late. Here is an example of an email that you can use to apologize for submitting an assignment late:
Subject: Late Submission of Assignment 1
I am writing to apologize for submitting my assignment for [Class Name] late. I know that the deadline was [Date], but I was unable to complete the assignment on time due to [Reason for Lateness].
I have attached my assignment to this ema i l. I have also attached a copy of my doctor’s note, which explains why I was unable to complete the assignment on time.
I understand that I am not excused from the late penalty, but I would like to request an extension. I would be able to submit the assignment by [Date].
Thank you for your understanding.
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If your professor grants you an extension, make sure to submit your assignment on time. If you are unable to submit your assignment on time, you should contact your professor as soon as possible to let them know.
Table of Contents
How to Find the Email of a Professor
To email your tutor, you must first find their email address. How do you find their email address if you don’t know it?
The first step would be to look on the school’s website for the professor’s email address. If your school has a learning management system, the course overview page will have your professor’s legal contact information.
If your school’s website is easy, you can find your professor’s email address on the page for that professor. On those pages, you could find each professor’s legal title, name, picture, and email address.
You can also look at the course materials to find your professor’s email address. Most colleges and universities put the email address of the professor for each course on the schedule. This makes it easy for students to find their professors’ email addresses and get in touch with them when they need to.
Ask Other Students
If none of the above choices work out the way you want, you can talk to other students one-on-one or on school forums and other pages just for students. Asking on your student WhatsApp or Telegram groups is a good example.
You’ll probably hear back from another student, or a t least get a hint from a student about where they might have seen the professor’s email address.
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How to Write a Letter to a Professor
Writing “Please find my assignment attached” might not be enough, especially if you missed the date. Let’s look at some things you should remember when emailing teachers.
Use email from school
Don’t use your personal email address to talk to your tutor. We get school email addresses for a reason. It’s best to use the email address your school gave you to send your work to your professor.
This will make sure that the teacher gets your email, since your personal email could end up in a spam bin. The school’s email addresses are whitelisted on the same network, so anyone who uses the school’s email can get emails from other people on the same network.
You don’t want to spend a lot of time writing an email to your professor only to find out they never got it. When things like this happen, you can’t blame the tutor, especially if the deadline has already passed.
Subject Line Is Clear
To help your tutor understa n d what the email is about, the subject line should be clear. Typical examples include:
Sorry about the late entry
asking for more time until the deadline
Address in Writing
Use the right term for the teacher when you talk to them. When you call a professor “Dr.” it may seem like an easy mistake, but academics can be very particular about their titles.
Don’t call teachers “doctor,” because that title is important to them. Recognise their role and make sure you know what their legal names are. If you want to avoid making a bad impression, call them by their legal titles (Dr., Prof.).
Some professors teach more than one class and talk to more than one student every day. Sending an email with just your name won’t help them figure out who you are and what class you’re in.
Don’t make them work harder by making them look at their list of students to figure out which class you might be in. Most likely, they would ignore your email and deal with more important things.
Give them your full name and the class you’re in that they teach. This will make it easy for them to find you.
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Tone De Corps
No matter how close you are to the professor, you should never use casual language in a business email. Avoid using slang, nicknames, and emojis in your emails. Don’t share personal information that has nothing to do with the discussion or subject.
Right use of grammar
A professor’s job is to teach their students, and at that level of education, they expect their students to have good grammar skills. If you send an email that is hard to read, the tutor will just ignore it.
If you’re not sure about how well you write, have someone else look over the email before you send it. You can also use programmes like Grammarly to help you find mistakes in your work. Don’t forget that these tools are not perfect. It’s a good idea to look over your work to find any mistakes.
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Easy to Understand
Try to say exactly what you need in just a few words. Professors have a lot on their plates and won’t have time to read long emails. Don’t fill your lines with words that are so hard to understand that you need a dictionary to figure them out.
When you send an email, being polite can help you get a lot of points. Make sure the tone of your email is polite and shows the right amount of respect. Regardless of how you feel about the professor, it’s best to treat them with care when you talk to them.
At this point, you should thank the professor for taking the time to read the email all the way through. Just thank them for their time and end your email with “Sincerely” or “Best regards” followed by your full name.
Professors have a lot of work to do, so they might forget to answer your email. Don’t send them a bunch of messages every few hours, as that might just annoy them. If they don’t get back to you, just remind them when you see them next.
Here are some additional tips for writing a professional email to your professor:
- Use your academic email address.
- Write a clear and concise subject line.
- Use a formal salutation.
- Introduce yourself.
- Explain why you are emailing.
- Attach your assignment.
- Proofread your email.
Sample Email To Professor To Submit Assignment
Template 1: assignment submission – [course name] – [your name].
Dear Professor [Professor’s Last Name],
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to submit my assignment for [Course Name] as per the given deadline. I have attached the completed assignment in this email.
- Course Name: [Course Name]
- Assignment Title: [Assignment Title]
- Due Date: [Due Date]
I have put in considerable effort and have thoroughly reviewed my work to ensure its accuracy and completion. I have followed the instructions provided in the assignment guidelines and have included all the required components.
Please let me know if you require any additional information or if there are any specific submission requirements that I need to follow. I would be more than willing to provide any further clarification or make any necessary adjustments to my submission.
Thank you for your guidance and support throughout this course. I appreciate your time and effort in reviewing my assignment. I look forward to receiving your feedback.
[Your Full Name] [Your Student ID] [Your Email Address] [Your Contact Number]
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Template 2: Assignment Submission – [Course Name] – [Your Name]
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to submit my assignment titled [Assignment Title] for [Course Name]. Please find attached the completed assignment as per the given deadline.
I have put in significant effort and have followed the instructions provided in the assignment guidelines. I believe I have addressed all the required components and have reviewed my work for accuracy.
Should you require any additional information or have specific submission requirements, please let me know. I am more than willing to provide any further clarification or make necessary adjustments to my submission.
Template 3: Submission of Assignment – [Course Name] – [Your Name]
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to submit my assignment for [Course Name]. The assignment, titled [Assignment Title], is attached to this email, and I have completed it within the specified deadline.
I have thoroughly reviewed the assignment guidelines and have strived to meet all the requirements. I am confident in the accuracy and completeness of my work.
If there are any additional instructions or specific submission procedures that I need to follow, kindly let me know. I am ready to provide any further information or make any necessary adjustments to my submission.
Thank you for your guidance throughout this course. I genuinely appreciate your efforts in evaluating my work. I eagerly await your feedback.
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Template 4: Late Submission of Assignment 1
I have attached my assignment to this email. I have also attached a copy of my doctor’s note, which explains why I was unable to complete the assignment on time.
Template 5: Request for Extension for Assignment 2
I am writing to request an extension for my assignment for [Assignment name]. I know that the deadline is [Date], but I am currently working on another assignment that is due on the same day.
I understand that extensions are not usually granted, but I would be very grateful if you would consider my request. I am confident that I will be able to complete the assignment on time if I am given an extension.
Template 6: Questions about Assignment 3
I am writing to ask you a few questions about my assignment for [Assignment name]. I have attached the assignment to this email.
I am specifically confused about the following points:
- [Question 1]
- [Question 2]
- [Question 3]
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How to email a professor with 22 different examples
Learn how to email your professor (and what to avoid doing) and check out 22 sample emails to help you get started.
Table of contents
Is there anything more nerve-racking than sending an email to a professor?
Every student will need to send an email to a professor at some point, whether you're asking for an extension, explaining an absence, or a little extra help. But how do you write an email to a professor?
In this guide on how to email a professor, we break down the steps to writing better messages. You'll learn the structure of a good email to a professor (and what to avoid).
And if this is not enough to convince you that it's easier than you might think, we finish off by providing 22 sample emails to a professor!
If you want to impress your professor with perfect grammar, make sure to try Flowrite :
How to send an email to a professor
So, how do you write an email to a professor? Professors are professional people who will be used to traditional email etiquette. That's not to say that you can't introduce some individuality into your emails; it's just important to show respect.
You'll understand your relationship better than we do. You can be a little less formal if you feel it's appropriate.
Following the correct email etiquette is essential – and easy. In this article we break it down into steps to illustrate what we mean. We've also written about proper email etiquette on our blog before:
It's also important to keep emails short and to the point. Professors receive hundreds of messages daily and don't have time to delve too deeply to get the information they need. Say who you are, what you want, and why you're messaging upfront.
Should I send an email to a professor?
Classes can be busy, and a professor's time can be limited, so email is an ideal way to communicate with your Professor. Emails enable you to go into detail, create lists and spend time crafting a complex message.
If your question or comment is urgent or sensitive, consider whether it's better to book a meeting or pull them aside for a chat.
Only you can decide whether to email a professor.
How long should I wait for a reply?
Professors are people with busy lives and professional responsibilities, so you may need to wait for a reply. But how long should you wait for a response from your Professor?
There are no hard and fast rules on how long to wait for a reply, but the general rule is to give it two or three days before sending a follow-up. You can learn more in our guide on how to write a follow-up email.
Email format for messaging a professor
The email format for a professor should be familiar to anyone who understands the basics of messaging. Here's how it works:
• Subject line
• Body copy
If you're unfamiliar with how to write a formal email, check out Flowrite blogs that delve deeper into what makes a great subject line, how to greet someone, appropriate sign-offs, and striking the right tone of voice.
Subject line for an email to professor
Your subject line should spell out exactly what your message is about. Why? Because professors get hundreds of emails daily, they'll need a reason to open and respond to yours.
We've provided some examples below.
How to greet a professor in an email
Professors should always be addressed using their titles. You can open an email in a few ways, such as:
• Dear Professor
• Hi Professor
Avoid casual openings, such as "hey" or "how are you doing?". Instead, always uses your Professor's title to show respect, even if you start an email with "Hi" or "Hello."
How to address professor in email
We've covered the importance of using a professor's title in an email, but there's more to it. When discussing how to address a professor in an email, we're talking about the tone of voice – and getting that right can be tricky.
You'll want to be personal, but being too familiar can cause problems. We've written before about how to hit the right tone, so start there. Our examples below show how we've put this into practice.
How to start an email to a professor
An excellent way to start your email is by stating who you are and explaining what your message is about. As we've established, professors receive hundreds of messages every day, so they'll skim-read your message. Unless you're clear with what you want, you could find it binned.
You can see 22 examples of how to address your emails and get to the point as soon as possible.
How to sign off an email to professor
There are several ways you can end an email you a professor. Traditionally, you'd use "your sincerely," but today, you can be a little less formal. Some safe email endings to a professor include:
• Kind regards
• Yours sincerely
Email to professor examples
So, we've explained the basics of emailing your Professor; now it's time to put it into practice with samples. Here are 22 email to professor examples that should cover any scenario. So, whether you're asking for advice, access to a class, or a little extra support, we've got a template for you.
22 sample emails to a professor
Here are 22 examples of how to email your Professor. These should cover a whole range of situations that you could find yourself in. As with all our templates, use them as inspiration, and be sure to adapt them to your specific situation.
Ready to get writing to your Professor? Then let's begin.
1. How to write an excuse email to professor example
2. how to email professor for extension example, 3. how to email professor asking for extra credit example, 4. how to email a professor about failing a class example, 5. how to send a follow-up email to a professor, 6. how to write a formal email to a professor example, 7. how to email a professor about getting into their class example, 8. how to email a professor about a grade example, 9/ how to introduce yourself in an email to a professor example, 10. how to ask professor to accept late assignment email example, 11. how to email a professor for a letter of recommendation example, 12. how to email professor about missing class example, 13. how to write a polite email to a professor example, 14. how to write a professional email to a professor example, 15. how to write a proper email to a professor example, 16. how to ask a question to a professor email example, 17. how to write a reminder email to professor example, 18. how to reply back to a professor's email example, 19. how to email a professor about research example, 20/ how to schedule an appointment with a professor email example, 21. how to email professor about being sick example, 22. how to write a thank you email to a professor example, closing words.
Writing emails to a professor can cause mild anxiety, but it doesn't need to be so. We hope that breaking down how to email a professor into steps and providing a massive number of samples will help.
It's essential to understand the principles of crafting professional emails, such as an email to a professor – now it's time to put it into practice.
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How to Email Your Professor (With Examples)
Every academic year, more and more professors complain that students do not know how to write nor respond to emails. Often, students are simply not taught how to write such emails to begin with. Some students are entirely clueless about what they’re doing wrong. To help make sure you don’t make these same mistakes, we’re going to show you how to email your professor (with examples)!
Keep on reading so that you can be confident in what you’re saying before you even hit “send.”
Emailing professors: A how-to guide
We’re sure that you’ve emailed people before, whether teachers, coworkers, friends, or family, but emailing professors is a little different. Emailing professors requires a level of formality not typically required when emailing people you’re already familiar with (yes, even if you know the professor well!). So, to make sure you don’t leave a bad impression on your professors, we’ve established a few tips that you should go by before sending off that email. Let’s get into them!
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Perhaps most importantly, you should be professional when emailing your professors. But, what do we mean by this?
Simply, being professional when emailing your professors means using proper grammar, not using slang or emojis, and using their proper title (we’ll get into what this means next).
Further, if you’re asking for an extension for an assignment, giving a heads-up as to why you’ll be missing class, or anything along these lines, try not to give away too much personal information as to why. For example, rather than saying you have a stomach ache or caught the flu, you can instead say that you came down with an illness. The exact sickness (or reason) is not the most relevant information. Your professor will probably be grateful not to know anyway.
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Include their title + name
Time for titles! If you’re not familiar with what titles are, titles refer to the words used before or after a person’s name that indicate a person’s position or role. When it comes to professors, students normally use either the title “Doctor” (abbreviated Dr.) or “Professor.”
And, as normally comes after someone’s title, you should be sure to include their last name after. So, let’s say you’re emailing a professor called Susan Robinson. You could start the email off with something like:
“Dear Dr. Robinson,” or “Hello Dr. Robinson,” or “Dear Professor Robinson,” or “Hello Professor Robinson,”
All these are fine choices, and it’s entirely up to you to choose whichever you prefer. And, if you haven’t quite noticed, it’s quite common to use “Dear” or “Hello” when starting off an email to a professor, but these aren’t your only options (just common ones). Whichever you use is, once again, up to your personal preference!
Say something nice
Yes, really. It doesn’t hurt to be nice when emailing professors, especially when you’re asking for their advice or help.
So, how do you start out with something nice? Well, typically, after greeting your professor with their title and name (as we demonstrated above), you’ll add something along the lines of:
- “Hope you had a great weekend.”
- “I hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather today!”
- “Hope you’re doing well!”
Make sense? Some professors appreciate such niceties. Not only will it indicate that you realize they have a life outside of academia, but it’s also just a polite thing to do. Yes, admittedly, some professors might not care, but others will!
Give context (i.e. who you are)
College professors have tons of students. So, oftentimes (if not always), they may need a little reminder on how they know you. This is especially true if you’re not in touch with them frequently. This is exactly what you should do next – explain who you are!
If you’re a student of theirs, the easiest way to do this is to mention what class of theirs you’re enrolled in, and what time it meets (or, if there are names for each section, you can mention that instead). This will give them some context before you ask a question, so they can understand exactly what assignment, topic, or question it is you’re asking about. This might go something like:
“This is *insert your name* from the Psychology 101 section that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-2:30 P.M.”
Alternatively, if you’re not a student of theirs, explain your desired relationship to them (e.g., are you interested in enrolling in their class? Do you want to work in their research lab?). If this is the case for you, this might look like:
“This is *insert your name*, a second-year student majoring in Psychology. I am interested in enrolling in Psychology 102 next semester, and… *can ask/introduce your question here*”
Now, unless you are 100% sure that your professor knows who you are by name, we definitely recommend you don’t skip this step! It may be awkward if your professor has to ask who you are after your initial email, so, better safe than sorry!
Last, but not least, try to use your university email if you have one! This immediately signals to your professor that you’re either a student or faculty member at their college. Your school email may make them more inclined to look at your email.
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Since they have so many students, professors also receive a lot of emails. So, when emailing them, make sure to get straight to the point (no beating around the bush!). Be specific about your question, and provide context if needed. If you’ve already tried to solve your problem or answer your question in a number of ways, mention these. Doing so will cut down the amount of unnecessary emails sent back and forth. Also, it will also help you understand what tips or advice they shouldn’t give you (as you’ve already tried them).
On a similar note, if you have a question about a test or due date, we highly recommend checking your class syllabus first. These will contain your important test and due dates 99% of the time, if not more.
And, most importantly, remember to make your subject line specific and clear. For example, if you have a question about an assignment’s due date, your subject line could be something along the lines of “Question about Due Date of Assignment Name .” This will make it clear to the professor what the context of the email is, and will help avoid any misunderstandings.
After asking your question (or saying whatever you needed to say), it’s time to sign off! Most commonly, people will do this by using a “Best,”, “Thanks,” “Sincerely,” or something along those lines, followed by their name. If your university email does not include your full name, write both your first and last name in your sign off. This will make it clear to the professor who you are, even if they have another student with the same first name.
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A few examples
Time for a few examples! Here they are:
1. If you’re asking a professor a question about an upcoming test date:
Hello Dr. Johnson,
Hope your week is off to a great start!
This is John Smith from your Chemistry 404 Monday/Wednesday/Friday 11 am – 12 pm class. Last Monday, you mentioned that our upcoming midterm is scheduled for September 25th. However, on the class syllabus it says that the test is planned for September 21st. I was wondering on which of these dates the midterm will be taking place?
Thank you in advance.
2. Generalized email to a professor:
Dear Dr. Last Name ,
Hope you’re doing well!
This is Your name from Your class at time . I had a question about * elaborate on the question.*
We hope that you’re now well-versed on how to write an email to a professor of yours. However, how do you go about cold emailing a professor for a research opportunity? That’s a great question! Let’s see.
How to email a professor for research opportunities
Luckily, the format for emailing a professor for research is not too different from that of emailing any professor. So, if you’ve already read all our tips above, you’re off to a head start. However, there are a few differences.
Components to include
Before we get into what makes an email to a professor for research different, we should first list the basic components of this type of email (as they largely overlap with a normal email to a professor). Any email to a professor (for research) should:
- Have an informative subject line
- Be professional and straightforward
- Include their title and name
- Include why you want to join their research lab (why you’re interested in their research specifically)
- Mention any previous experience (if applicable)
- Elaborate on why research is important to you/will help you reach your goals
- Ask to schedule a time to meet or discuss possible research opportunities
- Your resume and transcript (attached to the email!)
Since we’ve already covered most of these components above (under Emailing Professors: A How-To Guide), we’ll now be focusing mainly on the unique aspects of writing an email to a professor for research.
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Do your research!
If you’re interested in doing research, now’s your time to show off your skills! Before you go about emailing any research professor for an opportunity to work in their lab, you must first know what their lab studies. Doing this research will help you elaborate on why you want to join their specific lab, rather than any others, which will help you stand out amongst possible applicants (and will help you know if you’re actually a good fit for the lab or not!).
Why are you interested in their research?
After you’ve done research on the research of the professor you’d like to work with, use this information to detail what exactly about their research interests you. This can normally be done within 1-2 sentences, and should be specific – make sure to relate it to your interests and goals! This may look something like:
I am particularly interested in topic . I recently read your name/year of research paper on topic and developed an interest in your research. Specifically, I was fascinated by mention one of the findings of the research paper . If possible, I would love the opportunity to work in your lab to help contribute to further research on this topic during time frame.
If this seems a little confusing right now, don’t fret! We have some actual examples for later, so you can get an idea of what this section should look like when real topics and findings are included.
Ask to schedule a meeting
Now, it’s time to schedule a meeting (or, at least ask to)! After you go about mentioning what you find interesting about their research and expressing an interest in working in their lab, you should make a request to meet with them. There’s a few different ways you can do this:
- “ If you know of any internship, volunteer, or work positions available in research over the summer, I would love to set up a time to talk about these potential opportunities.”
- “If you have time, I would love to set up a time to talk about potential research opportunities.”
- “Would you be available to meet sometime this week to discuss your research?”
- “Would it be possible to meet with you to further discuss Topic and my possible involvement in research? I am available on Days and Times .”
Simple, right? After you ask to schedule a meeting, we highly recommend mentioning that your transcript and resume are attached to the email (and make sure to actually attach them). If you do not attach them, professors will often ask for them promptly afterwards (but not always).
Last, but not least, finish off the email with a nicety! You can do it more formally, with something like, “I greatly appreciate your time and consideration.” Or, you can do it more casually, with something along the lines of, “I look forward to hearing from you!”
Which way you choose is ultimately up to you – just make sure to be respectful!
Time for some more examples! These are real examples of emails written to professors, in which students were asking for research opportunities (although some names and info have been slightly altered). Here we go!
1. Email from a student without any prior research experience:
“Dear Dr. Lee,
I hope this email finds you well. My name is Abigail Thompson and I am a first-year undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Japanese. I am currently looking for opportunities to get involved with research over the summer.
Psychological research, especially that relating to social psychology, sounds very interesting to me, so I am hoping to get involved early into my undergraduate career. I have reviewed your faculty profile and am interested in name of the research paper , especially how you explored how people who have experienced traumas cope with what they’ve been through. If you know of any internship, volunteer, or work positions available in research over the summer, I would love to set up a time to talk about these potential opportunities. I greatly appreciate your time and consideration, and my resume and transcript are attached to this email.
2. Email from a student with prior research experience:
“ Dear Dr. Pudi,
I hope this email finds you well. My name is Jacqueline Fisher and I am a sophomore at UCLA, majoring in Psychology. I am currently looking for opportunities to get involved with research for this upcoming semester or over the summer.
Last summer, I assisted in research at the University of California, Berkeley, where we studied people’s psychological responses to traumatic events. I am also interested in developmental psychology and how your research studies the effects of marital conflict on children.
If you have time, I would love to set up a time to talk about potential research opportunities. I greatly appreciate your time and consideration, and my resume is attached to this email.
Have a wonderful time frame .
You’ve now reached the end of the article!
I hope that this guide (and our example emails) have helped you gain the knowledge and skill of being able to email your professors (for class, research, or otherwise!). It’s sure to come in handy at some point, so, we wish you good luck, and send you off!
All the best,
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