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Where Can I Get Help Writing My Thesis Online?

write email to phd supervisor

You’ve spent years preparing for your master’s degree or PhD. You’ve read, studied and spent hours of time and energy writing papers. Now you’ve arrived at the culmination of all this effort: writing your thesis. There are plenty of compelling stories about the time and energy that students have spent drafting their dissertations and theses.

The good news is that you’re not alone. While you certainly don’t want to hire someone to write your thesis for you, which goes against most institution policies and puts your academic integrity at risk, you can get plenty of help with certain aspects of your thesis online. Whether you’re looking for a little guidance or extensive assistance, various services can make writing or editing your thesis go smoothly.

Dissertation Editor

One of the greatest challenges of writing your thesis can be juggling your family or job responsibilities with your studies. The time that writing takes can add another layer of obligation to your already-packed schedule. Dissertation Editor is a company whose founder is a PhD-educated writer and professor, and it promises to help you complete your thesis or dissertation on time and in compliance with your university’s rules and regulations.

write email to phd supervisor

Dissertation Editor’s primary function is to guide you along in the writing process and provide a helping hand in understanding everything you need to take care of. It places you with a writer who specializes in your area of study, and this individual can help you organize and analyze your research while making sure that your thesis fits your writing style and personality. This company also specializes in helping with any statistical analysis that you use in your thesis.

Thesis Helpers

If you’re concerned about using a service to help you write your thesis because you think it’ll be obvious that you hired help, don’t worry. Thesis Helpers puts its team of experienced writers to work for you to help you craft a thesis that finishes your degree on a high note. No matter what level of help you need, from narrowing down a topic to advanced editing and proofreading, they’re available to help.

write email to phd supervisor

The writers have advanced degrees in their areas of expertise, and one of the best things about Thesis Helpers is that it gives you ultimate say in the final product of your thesis. This company can help you with revisions and additional research, and you can rest assured that your thesis will meet anti-plagiarism standards.

Best Dissertation

Sometimes when you’re writing a thesis or dissertation, you can get stuck on one section or chapter. You may not need assistance writing the whole thing, but getting some help with the exact portion you’re struggling with can come in handy. That’s one of the strengths of using Best Dissertation . You don’t have to rely on it for help with your entire thesis if it’s not what you need.

write email to phd supervisor

Like most of the top thesis-assistance services, Best Dissertation employs writers with advanced degrees who specialize in various fields of study. What truly sets this company apart is the live support that it offers any time of the day or night. It claims to take the stress and strain out of writing your dissertation or thesis.

While some companies place a premium on helping you get your thesis written, others emphasize the editing and proofreading process. If you don’t need help with writing but need a hand with proofreading and editing, Scribbr is a good option for you. Its editors can help you get a grasp on the grammar and tone that are appropriate for academic writing.

write email to phd supervisor

Scribbr doesn’t just provide boilerplate feedback that you can find anywhere. It offers personalized feedback aimed at helping you become a better writer in the long run. You can even see examples of how its editors work by looking at the company’s website.

My Assignment Help

Writing a thesis has its own challenges that other academic writing simply doesn’t, which is why the team at My Assignment Help offers its particular brand of expertise. If you need assistance with a dissertation or thesis at the PhD or master’s level, its writers have the level of education and experience to help you write an expertly crafted and edited thesis.

write email to phd supervisor

My Assignment Help prides itself on hiring subject matter experts, meaning you can pair up with a helper who already has an advanced degree in your field. They understand the nuances of academic writing that are specific to your area of study, and they can provide advice on everything from making your abstract more unique to crafting a thought-provoking conclusion.


write email to phd supervisor


What's Your Question?

How to Write a Professional Business Email

write email to phd supervisor

Writing effective business emails begin with good organization and a great opening. Just as you prepared in school to write a perfect essay, so you must prepare in the working world to write a business email. Sometimes the old school approach of beginning with a blank paper to write on is in order. This allows you to create a brief outline to best frame your message. Then flesh out the outline as you compose the email at your computer. By taking this simple preparation step, you’ll produce a much more professional write up. Read on for more tips to help you write great business emails.

How to Grab the Email Receiver’s Interest

Just as you target product design and marketing strategy for a particular audience, so you must design your email for that email’s “audience.” The person receiving the email might be your boss, a subordinate, peer, or it may be someone outside of your firm. All come from different backgrounds and have different priorities in mind as they read through their emails. One of the first places to start in capturing interest is to ensure your Subject is substantive enough to peek interest. But be careful that substance doesn’t end up being so long that the recipient can’t read it in their summary list. Because objective one is to have your email rise above the masses and receive an opening click. But don’t resort to trickery. That is sure to work against you in the end.

Begin with a salutation just as you would in a business letter. The formal “Dear James” or less formal “Good Morning James” salutation sets up the email with the desired tone. If emailing a peer with whom you are collaborating on a project, be more informal in the greeting. Even beginning with a “Great work on the Ellison project, James” would be appropriate. It would also be a good start for a congratulations email to a subordinate. But when emailing someone outside of your firm, keep a more professional tone.

One Purpose per Email

Each email should serve one master. If you share information on two widely different topics – say you are looking for feedback on a recent staff presentation, do not also ask for recruits for the company softball team. These topics require two separate emails. However, one topic can also have several related components. Then a bulleted list is in order. Your email body is not the place for a lot of detail. If a reference piece is necessary to provide information needed for decision making, attach a document.

Is Email the Right Medium for this Message?

When delivering bad news, a telephone call or in-person visit is always preferable, followed by written communication to document the action. Never email someone that their services are no longer required – whether it is an employee or an outside product provider. This is just poor form and does not reflect well on you or your firm.

Another topic to avoid in email is information that is particularly sensitive. Emails are easily forwarded. If you would not like to have this information shared in writing, don’t send it in a medium that allows sharing with a keystroke.

A similar caution is offered for long email strings where the sender has emailed a group and the group members are responding to all. Sometimes it’s better to jump out of the email string and write an individual message back to the sender.

Email Messages and Email for Business Development

Email is a valuable means of communication. You wonder how anyone waited for snail mail just a few short years ago. Use email to congratulate, thank, request information, provide information and also to solicit new business.

There are even online services that conduct massive, but highly targeted, email campaigns to generate new business for your firm. They will regularly send email on your behalf. Firms such as Constant Contact provide easy to use email templates and can even capture addresses through your online sites. A full-service contact management system, their email program allows for excellent customization of a message. And their emails are designed to produce. Constant Contact also believes in the “you get what you measure” mantra as they provide detailed reporting on activity and results.


write email to phd supervisor

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How to email a potential supervisor

Tips and templates for how to ask an academic to supervise your research project.

Compose your email carefully

  • Use your ANU email address; by policy, ANU staff can only communicate with ANU students through your ANU email address.
  • Use an informative, brief subject line.
  • Use formal language (no emoticons, abbreviations, etc.)
  • Address a potential supervisor as Dr (appropriate for anyone with a PhD) or Prof.
  • Be direct. Introduce yourself and your reason for emailing.
  • State if you are interested in a course project, an honours project, or a masters project.
  • If you are interested in a specific project or topic mentioned on the website, explain why.
  • If relevant, mention a paper you read and why it was interesting to you or a question you have.
  • Ask to schedule a meeting and suggest several times that suit you.
  • Acknowledge that the potential supervisor may be busy and provide them the opportunity to suggest alternate times.
  • Sign using your legal name, as well as any name a staff member may know you by.
  • Attach a CV and your Statement of Results (from ISIS). 

After you email

  • Don’t take it personally if the potential supervisor doesn’t respond immediately! Researchers travel, teach, do research, supervise students, serve on university committees and are very busy.
  • If you don’t hear back in a week or so, you can send a brief, polite follow-up email.
  • You should respond promptly if the researcher emails you, thank the supervisor for the response, and respond to any questions.
  • If the potential supervisor asks to be addressed by a first name or signs an email with a first name, you can address future emails using the potential supervisor’s first name.

Email templates


From: [email protected] Subject: Research

I want to do research! J Im a grt student and want to learn more. What do you do research on?

TX, Student Name


From: [email protected] Subject: Potential research project

Dear Professor Surname , I am a year in degree at ANU and I am writing to ask about opportunities for Honours research projects in Semester 1 of next year. I did a research project on topic with names in course . Expression of interest in the topic . I am especially interested in your previous work on describe a paper or talk .

I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you time period , but please let me know if a different time would be more suitable. I have attached my CV and statement of results to this e-mail, but if there is additional information that I have not included that you would like, I would be happy to provide it to you. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely, Ambitious Student

Modified from UC Santa Cruz How to Email a Research Professor .

Dear Professor X , My name is Name , and I am very interested in becoming involved in research in Subject Area . I am a X year student, and I have taken Courses and Additional Experiences . I have attached my CV and statement of results. My goal is to Goal .

I have reviewed your staff profile and am interested in the work that you have done. I was intrigued by your journal article, "Article Title." It Additional Information about Topic . I would like to get involved in research in this area because it will help me to better prepare for Goals .

Would it be possible to meet with you to further discuss Topic and my possible involvement in research? I am available Days and Times , but please let me know if a different time would be more suitable. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely, Name

Modified from UC Irvine Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program .

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write email to phd supervisor

How to Email a Professor for the Supervision in MS/PhD

write email to phd supervisor

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Are you planning to study abroad and looking forward to writing an email to the professor but uncertain about the criteria? In this article, you will learn “How to Email a Professor for MS or PhD supervision” and you must know proper email is the basis for research supervision, scholarships/ research scholarships , and fundings. 

Proper email is the key here. You must know that through the proper email you can fully fund scholarships ( Masters Scholarships or PhD Scholarships ) for your studies. Many people ignore all these points that’s why they don’t get any response from the professors. Carefully read the whole article and learn more about how to write an email to a professor, or how to write an email to a professor for a research assistantship, how to write an email to a professor for graduate school admission, how to write an email to a professor for research, how to write an email to professor for masters or how to write an email to professor for PhD. 

Your email should be outstanding, gives a nice impression, and assists you to be a well-qualified applicant. The applicant should be acknowledged regarding email patterns, keywords, and structure.

Your email should be out loud that shows why you are interested in the selected field, how you can be a perfect person for this position. Repetition of the words should be avoided, the matter should be clear, correct, and concise.

Whenever you are approaching a professor, try to give a read to his research material and mention it in your email. Keep a check on the correct use of punctuation and grammar in the email.

How to Email a Professor for the Supervision in MS/PhD?

How to address the professor.

Ignoring an email by a professor is quite normal as they have busy schedules, so be attentive while writing the subject line. In order to make sure that your email will not be ignored, try to include an information-based, strong, and attractive subject line. By the correct use of words in the subject line professor will be able to catch an idea of what your email is about. You can write like that, “Request for MS Supervision Spring 2020 or Spring 2021” or “Request for PhD Supervision” 

Always begin or address the person by using professional greetings for instance with Dear Prof._____, Dear Dr.____, and avoid addressing with Mr.____, Ms.____ or Mrs.____


The 1st paragraph should give a concise summary of your self including your native country and your name. It must tell you about your achievements, experience, and qualifications relevant to the open position. By addressing the professor’s research area, you can also show that you also want to work on one of his research projects in his lab. Moreover, you can give a clue that you are eager to get any possible PhD/MS opportunities or scholarships in his custom research or lab group.

Body Paragraph:

In this paragraph, with the consideration of the professor’s research area, mention your work experience, skills, and previous research work. The applicant can get a brief overview of the professor’s research publications, previous, and current projects by visiting the lab’s official website. In order to be a good competitor, you must list all of your achievements and expertise to provide a clear vision about your passion in the professor’s research area. Avoid any jargon or slang words, and any kind of complexity.

Last Paragraph:

The last paragraph is supposed to be the last one. In this paragraph, you have to show your enthusiasm, passion, and motivation to work in the professor’s research group. Furthermore, you can state what inspires you to be a part of this research group or a specific domain.

Closing Statement:

With a polite, requesting, and respectful manner close this paragraph and write a short statement regarding the CV or any other document attached and ask if any document is required. For example, Kindly find the attached document, and would love to provide you with further documents if needed.  If the process will be manageable, I would look forward to being a part of your research ( project name) in the coming fall.

Proof Reading:

Make sure that you review your email before forwarding it to the professor, it will help you to convey your message in the nicest way.

Sample Email for requesting to the Professor for Supervision in MS/PhD

Subject: Request for MS or PhD Supervision or Request for MS or PhD Research Assistantship 

Dear Professor______,

My name is (write your name) and I have completed (your degree title) from (Full university name) with (your CGPA, don’t mention CGPA if it’s low). Mention I got medals, certificates, and achievements if any.

(Write about Projects, internships, research, or thesis) During my undergraduate or Masters’s studies, I have been engaged in a research project or have written any thesis ( relevant to my expertise), include that. Moreover, I have done internships, research publications, current or previous work experience, or online courses.

I have visited your research articles and found my field of interest in your research area. I am very enthusiastic to conduct and pursue your research along with him. (Do mention the name of the Research Lab Name or website, Also mention the research topic or fields in which you are interested) 

I have attached my CV /other required documents and I would be glad to hearing from you soon.

I am very thankful and looking forward to your positive response.

Best Regards,

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Sample emails to your thesis supervisor

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A good thesis requires good communication between you and your thesis supervisor. This includes emails! Yet, even a simple email can lead to stress and overthinking. If you struggle to communicate with your thesis supervisor via email, have a look at six sample emails for inspiration.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase using the links below at  no additional cost to you.  I only recommend products or services that I truly believe can benefit my audience. As always, my opinions are my own.

General tips for emailing your thesis supervisor

Sample email to thesis supervisor inquiring about potential supervision, sample email to thesis supervisor setting up a meeting, sample email to thesis supervisor sharing post-meeting action points, sample email to thesis supervisor asking for feedback, sample email to thesis supervisor asking for support, sample email to thesis supervisor when not meeting a deadline.

Every relationship between student and thesis supervisor is unique. And everyone has a unique (email) writing style.

Nonetheless, there are a few general tips for emailing your thesis supervisor:

  • Properly address your supervisor. In some contexts, it is acceptable that students address their supervisors on a first-name basis. In others, it would be completely unthinkable! So make sure to follow context-specific standards, and learn how to address your supervisor depending on their position and rank in the university hierarchy . When in doubt, always go for the more formal option (Dr. x, Professor x, Prof. Dr. x, Mr. x, Ms. x).
  • Keep your emails short. No one wants to read an email of the length of a novel. Too much text can bury your main request. Always state clearly what you want. Don’t expect your thesis supervisor to read between the lines.
  • Create accompanying calendar invites to your emails. Once you and your thesis supervisor/s agree on a meeting date via email, make sure that you send everyone involved a calendar invite via email. It will be greatly appreciated.
  • Don’t overthink your emails too much. You may obsess about formulating a certain sentence or making sure no word is missing and no grammatical mistake is made. While emails to your supervisor should not read like a jotted-down text message, overthinking your emails is also a waste of time. Your supervisor will not judge you if your email includes one whacky sentence or a single spelling mistake.

The first email to a potential thesis supervisor tends to be very formal. If you have never met the potential thesis supervisor in person before, make sure to check out tips on how to cold-email professors. In the following sample email, however, we assume that the student and the potential thesis supervisor met before.

write email to phd supervisor

Successful (postgraduate) students are proactive and take matters into their own hands. Reaching out to their thesis supervisors to set up a meeting is one part of it. The following sample email contains a simple request from a student to meet with her thesis supervisor.

To get the most out of thesis supervision meetings , it is highly recommended that the student takes notes during the meeting. Based on these notes, the student then summarises the key takeaways from the meeting, or action points, so to speak. These action points will guide the student’s work until the next meeting, and provide a written record of agreements.

Sometimes, it does not make sense to wait for feedback until the next supervision meeting. Of course, students should not bombard their supervisors with constant questions via email. However, a kind request once in a while is usually accepted and appreciated. The following sample email showcases a student asking for feedback.

As a student, it can also happen that you get stuck. Often, it is better to reach out and ask your thesis supervisor for support, both in terms of content or any other challenges you experience. Don’t suffer in silence. The following sample email shows an example of a student asking for support.

And lastly, there are the unfortunate occasions where you made agreements with your thesis supervisor, which you cannot meet. Pulling an all-nighter is generally a bad idea, as sleep is crucial for efficient thesis writing . It might be smarter, to be honest, and open about it and to inform your thesis advisor in advance. In the following sample email, the student informs the supervisor that he cannot meet the agreed deadline.

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Proactive Grad

How to Write an Email to a Potential Supervisor (With examples)

Aruna Kumarasiri

  • December 15, 2021

How to write an email to a potential supervisor

Writing to a potential supervisor can exponentially increase your chances of securing a position as a graduate student. However, you will be walking in a thin line between setting up a great first impression or a pretty bad one.

The good news is that leaving a great impression is much simpler than you would think; it simply comes down to how you structure your first email.

When I was applying for my graduate program, I sent 130 emails to different professors in different universities in both USA and Canada. For those 130 emails I sent, I got 53 replies, with nearly 40% conversion rate. From those 53 replies, 22 professors were interested in offering me a position in their lab and encouraged me to apply formally through the university’s graduate office.

In this blog post, you will find some helpful information that I figured out during my application process about writing an email to a potential supervisor. 

How appropriate would it be to write an email to a potential supervisor?

Reach out and write an email to a potential supervisor before applying is definitely one of those topics where you want to find out about the norms in your discipline. 

Reaching out to potential advisors ahead of time is fine, helpful but not necessarily required for most people. 

In some fields, it might be strange or unexpected or something that people don’t usually do, and in some other fields, it might almost feel like a requirement.

This might be different in different fields because, in some disciplines, advisor fit is much more important than others.  

Suppose you are in a discipline like humanities where you’re not working very closely with an advisor. In that case, it might be that students are accepted into the department generally, and that advisor fit doesn’t really matter.

In that case, you should still talk about specific faculty in your statement of purpose because that is a good reason why you’re applying to that program. 

It shows that you’ve done your research.

But you probably don’t need to do fact-finding on the capacity of individual faculty members before you submit your application.

But if you are in one of those disciplines where advisor fit can be essential for admission, writing an email to a potential supervisor is very important.

Overall, reaching out to potential advisors isn’t something you have to do, but it’s really more of a fact-finding mission.

It can be beneficial for you to get some helpful information.

Find out if they have the resources to recruit you.

Sometimes there’s one perfect potential advisor for you in a department, and that person cannot take on new advisees for some reason.

Maybe the funding capacity limit is already reached when you email the professor.

If that’s the case, they often are upfront about that and might even suggest other people that you should consider talking to or writing about in your application materials.

If you get one of these responses from a professor who says,” I’m unlikely to take on new PhD advisees”, that does not mean that you should not apply for that program.

Also, do not forget to follow up because sometimes the funding capacity can change at the last moment.

This is one of the advantages of writing an email to a potential supervisor because they might let you know if something like that happens.

But it’s good for you to know that you should look into other options as well. Even if you are highly interested in that particular program, putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea.

The other important thing that you could find out from reaching out to a prospective advisor is their current research direction.

For example, if you look at someone’s recent publications, think about when the professor did that research.

If a paper is published recently, this paper went through peer review. 

Roughly add the revision time and paper writing time.

They might have done that research two years ago.

Are they still doing that kind of research?

You can, of course, find out a fair amount of research work and their timelines by going to a faculty member’s website or by looking at current grant funding.

Especially, grand funding tells you what that person will be doing for the next few years.

People’s trajectories can change a lot. 

Have I ever made a mistake like this? I have. Big time! See the below email I received when I was writing to a professor!

Graduate student email mistakes

So, you want to make sure you have an idea of what they’re doing now because you could mention them in your statement of purpose letter .

When should you reach out to a potential supervisor?

Typically graduate applications are due late fall / early winter.

You should check and make sure that you have a sense of this timeline.

It wouldn’t necessarily hurt to reach out earlier. 

But, I would recommend reaching out one to two months before the deadline because that’s when supervisors know if they can offer new graduate student positions.

Sometimes funding decisions come in over the summer, so they might undoubtedly know whether they’re taking on new graduate students when the deadlines are closer.

Another reason not to email professors early is, some professors aren’t working as much over the summer.

Also, they might be heads down and writing a book or doing research and not responding to emails quite as readily as they might during the academic year.

A template for writing an email to a potential supervisor

Here’s an example email that I used when applying for graduate programs. This is the email I wrote to the professor I’m currently working with.

Make sure to adjust this email to be compatible with your field of study.

This will give you a sense of the information you might want to mention in your email.

Title: Inquiry from a prospective graduate student Dear Professor [name], I am a (Your major) graduand from the (Your university). I’m interested in a graduate study opportunity under your supervision in your research group. I am considering applying to your department’s graduate program, one reason being that I am very interested in the work you are doing on Hydrophobic surfaces. Given that your research takes both experimental and theoretical approaches for surface analysis and development, it further encourages me to apply since it is a perfect confluence of my research interests. I particularly enjoyed your paper “(Paper that you’re interested in)” and possibly see myself doing that kind of work. My own research interests relate to surface and interface science, computational materials science, thin films and coatings, and electrochemistry. I graduated with a (Your overall GPA) and a (CGPA) in the last two years of undergraduate study and am currently working as a researcher for eight months at [institute], a world-leading manufacturer of weight measurement technologies. At [institute]’s research lab, I am implementing studies on the micro throwing power of watt’s type baths by electrochemical simulations (COMSOL Multiphysics), ideally targeting to enhance Ni20Cr thin films’ surface wettability. I have just submitted an article on my current research findings, which was accepted by Materials Today: Proceedings. I have attached our recent publication and other relevant documents with more details. I am wondering if you will be considering taking on new PhD advisees for September intake or if you have suggestions for other faculty I should reach out to. I would be happy to answer any questions or have an online interview if more information would be helpful. ( Your signature )

You will find more tips of writing the perfect email to a potential supervisor here .

First and foremost, do not forget to do your homework before writing an email to a potential supervisor.

Do not send the same email to every professor that you choose.

Although it seems like a lot of work, do your research first and write a specific email for each supervisor. You can always use similar phrases here and there but never use the same template because a professor who receives many such emails can easily understand what you are doing.

And, that is not a good first impression.

If you want to have a robust application, you need to research what faculty are doing.

Also, note that my email word count is nearly 250. Not including many things in your email is also essential when writing an email to a potential supervisor.

Professors are always busy. They do not have to spend more than 1 or 2 minutes on an email. So you must know to impress the professor within that time frame, or your email will go straight to the junk folder.

Note that I also mentioned a paper that I was interested in. This is optional. But if you decide to mention a paper, make sure that you understand the basic concepts of that paper. Because, if this email leads to a quick interview, they might ask some questions from the paper. If that happens, you don’t want to embarrass yourself.

But just mentioning the general research area is more than enough for the first email because it shows that you’ve done your homework.

Also, it’s very important to mention that your research interests and the supervisor’s current area of research are similar.

It doesn’t have to be exactly the same.

But it should be in the same domain. In this example, my prospective supervisor (When I was writing this email) was working on a combination of physical chemistry and computational modelling. The interests I mentioned align with what he was interested in. But they are not precisely the same.

Maintain an effective email management system

At the time I was writing to potential supervisors, I was working full-time in a research lab. My work schedule was 10 hours a day. So, it took me a while to begin writing to potential supervisors.

In fact, it was too late to start writing, and I was told by friends to wait until next year to apply. They have already contacted supervisors and secured graduate positions at this point.

This is when I snapped out of my procrastination bubble and began thinking about how to secure a graduate position. Moreover, I had very specific research interests, so getting into a graduate program has already been challenging in the first place.

Before contacting professors, I also reviewed their profiles at hundreds of universities to find relevant labs.

Therefore, I needed a robust and efficient system for emailing potential supervisors. After a few tweaks, I created an effective yet simple system for managing graduate applications.

I use the notion app to build my graduate application management system.

It only took me two weeks to find professors whose research interests were similar to mine. And I have secured a graduate position in a lab conducting the exact research I was interested in.

You can grab the template by clicking the link below.

How to Write an Email to a Potential Supervisor (With examples)

Do not directly ask for a meeting

Something else that you might have noticed that the email was ended with :

” I would be happy to answer any questions or have an online interview if more information would be helpful.”

There are lots of different ways that you could do mention this.

However, you may want to leave the option open without directly demanding a meeting.

Because if that prospective professor is not taking new advisees for the term, it would not be a great use of either of your time to have a meeting.

If the professor wants to talk more to you, they might be the one to suggest a meeting.

Or wait until you get a reply from them to decide to ask for a meeting, depending on their response.

They also might offer in their reply to answer questions, in which case you can ask questions in an email, or you can say,

“I do have some questions. Would you prefer email, or would it be easier for you to talk on the phone or video conference call?”

Why would you not get a reply?

But, sometimes, you might not get a reply at all.

It’s very important not to take it personally if they do not respond to your email.

My email conversion rate was 40%, which means that I haven’t heard anything 60% of the time.

Believe it or not, professors receive more than 100 emails per day when the deadlines are closer. So, there is a bigger chance that the professor hasn’t even seen your email.

Maybe your research background does not properly align with what they are looking for from a graduate student to join their lab. Here’s a reply I received from a professor mentioning this issue.

Graduate student email mistakes

There are other reasons to why you haven’t heard when you write an email to a potential supervisor.

  • The applicant has no clear idea about their research interests.
  • There are no vacancies in their labs to accommodate new students.
  • Your email is poorly drafted, and you have not specifically addressed that particular professor.
  • You copy many professors in a single email.
  • There’s no subject on the email.

Types of responses you might get

If you don’t hear back from a professor, do not assume that that means you shouldn’t apply to that program, or you shouldn’t mention them in your statement of purpose.

You can’t assume that a non-response means that they have no interest in your application.

It’s possible that when you reach out to someone, they might be excited to talk to you.

Many of the kinds of conversations you might have in a pre-application discussion with a faculty member might be pretty similar to the type of conversation you would have after you’ve applied.

So, it’s helpful to have a meeting/interview with a professor this way.

Also, if a professor suggested looking for other faculty members, you should email them. 

Because those suggested professors might work in a research area that you might be interested in. It might also be a signal for people who have funding or actively recruiting new students.

So, research them and consider reaching out to them if they mention someone specific.

You might also get a very vague reply such as :

“Thank you for reaching out. I look forward to seeing your application.”

You do not have to take that as a bad sign; it just means that they’re looking forward to seeing your application.

They chose to reply to you even though they have the freedom to ignore your email. That means something. Do not lose hope.

Make sure to mention the faculty members who replied to you so that they will recognize your application in the application evaluation process.

Final words

Writing an email to a potential supervisor is an essential step in your graduate application process.

Having a clear idea about who you are writing to and why you are writing to that person is important to get a reply.

If you have gone through the same process and found some important aspects about writing an email to a potential supervisor, let us know in the comment section.

As always, be proactive, be kind and try to help one another!

Images courtesy : Mail vector created by stories – www.freepik.com , Business photo created by creativeart – www.freepik.com , phdcomics , Image by Freepik

Aruna Kumarasiri

Aruna Kumarasiri

Founder at Proactive Grad, Materials Engineer, Researcher, and turned author. In 2019, he started his professional carrier as a materials engineer with the continuation of his research studies. His exposure to both academic and industrial worlds has provided many opportunities for him to give back to young professionals.

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Very useful article. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I want to know about followup emails. How long we have to wait ?

I’m glad this article was helpful to you, Poornima!

Professors sometimes do not respond to emails for the following reasons: (1) They are genuinely busy. (2) They do not have funding to support your education and (3) Their inboxes are flooded with emails every day, and responding to them all can be a challenge.

Although the time to write a follow-up email depends on your own circumstances, give them a reasonable amount of time to respond. It is a good idea to wait at least one week before sending a follow-up email.

You can read our other blog posts to learn more about writing follow-up emails .

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write email to phd supervisor

  • How to Email a Potential Supervisor
  • Applying to a PhD

It’s well known that contacting a potential PhD supervisor before applying to their position can greatly increase your chances of success. Unfortunately, it also works the opposite way.

The good news is that leaving a great impression is much simpler than you would think; it simply comes down to how you structure your first email.

To learn how to email a potential supervisor the correct way, follow our guidelines below.

Guidelines for Your First Email

1. do your research.

Before contacting a supervisor, you need to have researched them. Hopefully, you would have already have done this before deciding that they would be suitable for your project. However, if you haven’t, read up and learn about their research.

This is important to confirm that your project is relevant to the supervisor and that they have suitable expertise to support you.

As well as information about their research and recent publications, you can find their email address on their University’s academic profile page. Their email address should also be available in the PhD listing you originally saw the position.

2. Use a Clear Subject Line

Use a short subject line which clearly shows your intention. Supervisors receive countless emails a day from students, other professors, external collaborators and research bodies. Therefore, an unclear subject line will probably go unnoticed in their busy inbox.

Good examples of subject lines include:

  • Enquiry for NERC-funded PhD in Climate Change
  • Prospective Applicant – EPSRC – Material Science PhD

If the University provides a reference number in the PhD listing you found the position, ensure you include it at the end of your subject line.

3. Address Them

Always start your email with “Dear” followed by the supervisor’s surname.

Make sure you use the supervisor’s correct title. Starting an email to a professor with “Dear Dr” rather than “Dear Professor” won’t only annoy them but will imply you have poor attention to detail. Therefore, using the wrong title will immediately set a poor impression and sometimes may even be enough for the supervisor to stop reading your email.

4. Introduce Yourself and State Your Intentions

First, introduce yourself by providing the following information:

  • Your academic qualifications
  • Your level of experience

Second, indicate that you are interested in undertaking a doctoral research project. If you’re emailing regarding a specific project, then provide its title.

If the University isn’t offering projects with pre-defined titles, then instead indicate which specific areas of the research field you are interested in. When expressing your research interests, also discuss why you are interested in having them as your supervisor. In your explanation, include relevant examples of their recent work and relate it back to your research topic. This will show the supervisor that you have thought about the direction of your research and have undertaken detailed research around the topic. It will also show that you’re familiar with their work. This won’t only help build rapport but will also show the supervisor that you believe he will be a good match for you.

After discussing your interests, confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements and move on to discuss your funding situation. If you intend to apply for funding or a scholarship on acceptance into your programme, mention this and list the names of the funding bodies and scholarships you will be applying to.

5. Conclude

Conclude your email by reinforcing your enthusiasm for the position and summarising why you think you’d make a great research student.

In addition to this, you could also suggest a meeting as a way for the two of you to discuss the contents of your email. This isn’t required but does sometimes make it easier for the supervisor if they have a lot to discuss.

6. Thank Them

Thank the supervisor for their time and end your email with “Kind regards” followed by your first and last name in full.

Email Etiquette

Sample email and etiquette for meeting request with supervisor

Attach Supporting Information

Your goal should be to make the exchange as simple as possible for the supervisor. Therefore, attach any supporting information such as your CV if you expect they may ask for it or find it useful. This will save them having to email you back asking for further information should they need it.

Keep It Brief

As mentioned above, supervisors won’t have time to keep going back and forth, therefore, avoid vague statements or being too broad about your interests.

Whilst it’s OK to email several potential supervisors offering similar positions, ensure you tailor each one so it’s relevant to the specific supervisor you’re emailing. If your email is too generic, they’ll likely think you repurposed it from one of your earlier emails to another supervisor and so choose to ignore it.

Lastly, before you hit send, read over your email and confirm it’s free from any grammatical mistakes. As a postgraduate student applying to a PhD position, your email needs to be error-free.

Be Patient With Follow-Ups

Supervisors are extremely busy people. They have classes to teach, research students to supervise and several independent projects to lead. Therefore, don’t be too disheartened if you don’t hear back from them right away.

If you don’t receive a reply after a week, send them a polite follow up. If they still don’t get in contact after another week, they’ve likely either stopped accepting applicants are too overwhelmed to process their inbox. In these cases, it’s best to start looking for alternative supervisors.

Finding a PhD has never been this easy – search for a PhD by keyword, location or academic area of interest.

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