Email plays an essential role when it comes to approaching a professor for scholarships, research grants, funding, and supervision. The content of your email is the first impression you will make on the professor, who will describe you as a serious and well-qualified candidate.
So what is the best way to write an email that can increase your chances of being selected for the specific position in the professor’s lab or research group? Here are guidelines on email structure and content.
Your email should illustrate that you are a qualified and suitable person for a scholarship. It should be short, clear, and concise, without repeating every detail of your CV. Always make a good first impression by reading about the professor’s research projects and mentioning them in your email.
Throughout your email, remember grammar and punctuation. You can find a sample email template to communicate with the teacher at the end of this article.
professors are usually busy with their research work and supervising their students. They can ignore your email. To avoid this problem, always include a strong, compelling, and information-driven subject line for your email.
The subject line will help the professors guess the content of your email before even opening it. We recommend that you always use a clear and captivating subject line. For example, “Research Supervision Request Fall 2023”, “Ph.D. Supervision Request”, “Master’s Supervision Request”, or “Prospective Ph.D. Student”.
Your email must be formal and begin with Dear Dr., Dear Prof., or Respected Prof… Always use professional greetings and avoid using titles such as Mr., Mrs., or Mrs... After that, you can type good morning or good afternoon, depending on what time you email professors. Also, you can include email opening phrases like “I hope this email finds you well”, “I hope you are well”. or “I hope you’re having a great week.”
The first paragraph should be your brief introduction stating your name and where you are from. You should also briefly address the qualifications and experience that the professor is seeking for the open position.
You may include that I would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you your laboratory and research projects in the area of (insert professor’s research area you are interested in) and possible Master’s/Ph.D. opportunities in your laboratory or search group. Avoid all kinds of abbreviations and jargon.
In the second paragraph, you can write about your previous research, work experience, or other skills relevant to the professor’s research area. You can get information about the current and previous research projects of the professor after visiting the official website of the laboratory.
Avoid any kind of complexity when writing about your past work experiences and research projects. You have to list your knowledge and achievements in an easy-to-understand way that will help you stand out from the competition.
The third and final section is the final paragraph. Here you must declare your motivation and interests in the professor’s laboratory or research group. You can mention the specific research areas of the professors that fascinated your interests to apply in this laboratory.
So that you can particularly show your interest in a specific domain. End this paragraph with a polite request to be considered for the open option. For example, “If possible, I’d love to start working on (project name) in your lab starting this summer.”
End the email with a formal confirmation
At the end of your email, you can mention that the CV is attached to the email. If there is additional information that I have not included that you would like, I will be happy to provide it.
I hope to hear from you!
Sample email to contact a professor
Subject: Request for Research and MS supervision
I hope you are doing well and are in good health.
My name is (insert your name) and I filled in (your degree) at (your college name, don’t just use abbreviations) with (your CGPA/total CGPA, don’t mention CGPA if it’s low). Optionally, you can write about your major achievements, such as a gold medal and dean’s certificates if you have any.
During my bachelor’s/master’s degree, I worked on a few projects to update and implement theoretical knowledge (writing your experience, eg signal processing, automation, and intelligent systems) to practical work. In this paragraph, you can also relate your past and current professional experience, internships, online courses, and projects to the teacher’s area of interest. If you have any research publications, you can mention them in this paragraph
I visited the website (insert name of professor’s research lab or group, eg network lab) and found that you have research interests in (insert professor’s research area, eg 5G, Internet of Things, and automation). I am very excited to conduct research and continue with MS under your supervision.
I have attached my CV with this email and looking forward to hearing from you soon.
I shall be thankful for your response.
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