Many students are currently trying to communicate with professors to seek a potential opportunity for higher studies. But, most of the students cannot correctly write emails. Therefore, many emails you send remain unattended and trashed in the spam box. So, be very careful while you are sending your email to a professor to seek any opportunities.
Followings are some of the key points you should focus on while writing an email to a potential supervisor or professor:
- Always use an appropriate greeting at the beginning. Never say ‘Hello/Hi Professor or Sir or Madam’, instead, start with ‘Dear Dr XXX YYY or Dear Professor Dr XXXX YYYY. (While using the professor in the greetings make use if he or she has gained full professorship.)
- Make sure you are using the correct academic title (i.e, Dr., Professor etc.) of the academic. Check their university portfolio or just search on google.
- Provide truthful and authentic information. Do not try to mislead your potential supervisor with false information about yourself or your activities.
- Be aware of the gender of the academic to whom you are sending the email. Avoid
- To demonstrate your interest in the professor’s study area, please discuss the broad research area the scholar is working on and include examples of their work that you find especially interesting. Don’t just repeat the title of his work; doing so gives the impression that you are simply copying a template from the Internet.
- Be aware of English grammar and spelling while writing your email.
- Do not make your email too lengthy by providing irrelevant information; make your email concise and straightforward with specific and correct information.
- Give your email write-up a professional shape. Always remember you are not communicating with a friend or family member.
- Give the reader a first impression that you are serious about this opportunity and highlight your motivation, qualifications, skills and techniques to succeed in this position.
- Try to send your email from an institutional email. If you don’t have that, use a Gmail account with your first and last name (i.e., email@example.com). Don’t use a fantasy email address such as (dreamboy@XY.com). [Note: Gmail is banned in China. So, use Hotmail or yahoo email address for China]
- Read the profile of the professor to understand his current research interest before you send any email to him/her. It would be best if you focused on the following areas when you go through his/her portfolio:
- Find out the courses the professor has taken.
- Check out their publications.
- Read the lab records and other students’ relevant work.
- Follow the comments and suggestions of the professor or their seminars/workshops from the research group.
- Understand their funding and grant situation.
- Know their academic history and tenure.
- Find information about his recent and previous projects.
- Discover the research interests and goals for the present and future.
- Give your email a proper professional structure with the introduction, middle connection points and conclusion.
- Use a gentle, formal and professional Sign off. I always suggest using ‘Kind regards, ‘Best regards‘, and never use informal sign off such as ‘Cheers’.
Below I am giving you a good email sample (A format I previously used):
Subject: Prospective PhD Student Position for Fall 2021.
Dear Professor Dr. XX YY,
I am MMR from Bangladesh, writing to disclose my interest in joining your research group as a PhD student candidate for Fall 2021. I have visited your homepage and read a few of your research publications. Several articles about the FFFTTT firstly took my attention. Eventually, it indicated that you have a research interest in GGG VVVV, and I also have a similar project plan in my mind. Later on, I tried to read other articles more attentively to find the techniques and methodology you are using in your different studies. I have discovered methods, including X, Y, Z and other N research techniques I am also using. Your research interest in GG PP and using the analysis techniques mentioned above inspired me to express my wish to work with you. In my planned research project, I will also like to utilize those techniques.
I have completed a B.Sc. (Hons) & M.S. Degree in TT from YY University, a reputed public university in Bangladesh. Currently, I am working as a GGGG r at JJKK, an independent research and development organization in Bangladesh.
I am interested in GGHHHH (in the coastal and marine environment context) research area and would like to know about research opportunities to work with you. I am particularly interested in developing the HHHH of GGGGHHH to codify the governance and power relationships that affect GGHH. I will also utilize the methods which I already mentioned. I am attaching a draft research proposal herewith to this email. Although I have developed it, keeping the RTTT in my mind can be implemented in other areas. I would be grateful if you could spare some time to evaluate my credentials. A brief CV describing my work, academic background, and research publications is also attached to this email for your further consideration.
My credentials are as follows:
B.Sc. CGPA: TT on a scale of 4.00
M.S. CGPA: YY on a scale of 4.00
The number of publications:
1) With the peer-review process:
A. Book Chapter:
B. Journal Articles:
2) Submitted publications with a peer-review process:
A. Book Chapter:
B. Journal Articles:
3) Publications without peer review process
A. Conference Proceedings:
Professional & Research Experience: YY years
List of Academic Accomplishments and Awards:
Thank you for your time and consideration. I am enthusiastically looking forward to your compassionate response.
Affiliation (if you have any)
Another Good Sample
Admission to graduate program for September 2005
Dear Dr. X (Last Name)
I am currently working as a lecturer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Asia Pacific, Dhaka, Bangladesh since September 2003. I am planning to apply to the graduate program for September 2005 admission to your institution. I have come to know about you from the web page of your department. I have gone through all your current research interests and discovered an extremely compatible match with mine. I would feel indeed more than highly obliged if I could be lucky enough to get your attention to be one of your students.
The following information is given for your kind consideration-
B.Sc. Engineering (Civil) degree on February 2003 with a CGPA of 3.77 on a 4.00 scale (awarded with ‘Honors’) from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET), Dhaka, Bangladesh. My Position was 9th among 204 graduating students. The average CGPA of the last four semesters was 3.85 and I got the position on the Dean’s list on the last two occasions.
Experience and Research:
- Worked as a lecturer from February 2003 on a contract basis in the “Department of Civil Engineering” in the Military Institute of Science & Technology (MIST), Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Two courses are taken on “Environmental pollution and its control” and “Environmental and development projects” for undergraduate students in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Asia Pacific.
Also took a course on “Computer Application in Civil and Environmental Engineering” and other fundamental courses in Civil and Environmental Engineering.
3. Taking laboratory courses on “Design of water treatment plants” and “Design of sewerage system” for undergraduate students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Asia Pacific.
- Two courses are taken on “Fluid Mechanics” and “Hydraulics Lab” for undergraduate students in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Asia Pacific.
- Working as an “Associate Designer” of ETP Design of a textile mill situated in Gazipur district (Corporate office-Islam Garments, Baridhara, Dhaka, Bangladesh) on behalf of “Environment and Ecology Ltd.”, Dilkusha, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Worked as a member of the editorial board of UAP Journal of Civil and Environmental Engineering (ISSN 1813-1093) in the Environmental Engineering division and also worked as an assistant editor in the Technical Bulletin of the department.
7. Participated in Global Water Partnership-South Asia Water Forum-III held in Dhaka from 13-15 July 2004.
8. Involved in laboratory development activities, the introduction of new tests to the environmental laboratory and different research activities with Dr M. R. Kabir, Professor and Mohammad Hasanuzzaman, Assistant Professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the University of Asia Pacific.
“Associate member” of the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh
TOEFL: My TOEFL Score is ….. with TWE ……
Quantitative: …… Verbal: ……… Analytical Writing: Yet to be received
My personal website: https://sites.google.com/site/XXX
My CV: https://sites.google.com/site/XXX/home/resume
Do you have a position open for a research student, sir? I would be highly obliged if you consider me as your graduate student. I would be waiting for your mail.
Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
The University of Asia Pacific
Below I am giving you a bad email sample (Copied from the Internet):
My name is Name and I am majoring in Major. Is there space in your lab for an undergraduate? If so, what is the pay rate?
Sample of a Follow-up email
Dear Professor Dr XX YY,
I sent you an email on October 08, 2020. Perhaps, you could not read due to your busy schedule. Would you please kindly have a look at the email?
I am enthusiastically looking forward to your benevolent response.
N.B: Please do not copy-paste the text I have provided above. Just take it as a format and rephrase it in your own words.
Good luck with your future endeavours.
Thank you all!
Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman
Doctoral Researcher, Food Security for Equitable Future Research Group,
Department of Sociology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK