How to Email a Professor for Master or PhD Positions: Sample Emails

Emailing a professor to serve as a graduate school advisor or Ph.D. supervisor is a very good idea, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges. It’s imperative to understand that sending an adequate email to a professor, where you present your ideas is very important. Ideally, you want to create a great email to the professor that shows how qualified you are as an applicant.

On top of that, the email should also have a great structure, proper keywords and the right email patterns. Needless to say, your email doesn’t have to be very long, nor does it have to be repetitive. Keeping it to the point and reading the professor’s research papers and ongoing before applying for the Ph.D. position can be a major bonus.

Why to email a professor for a Ph.D. position?

Email is a great way to get in touch with a professor to show you are interested in the Ph.D. position. It allows you to introduce yourself, show the professor your research interest while also making it easy to showcase any credentials. Emails to professors are a double-edged sword, however, since a badly written email to a professor diminishes your chances of reaching that Ph.D. position. So you must pay a lot of attention and ensure that your email to potential supervisor is well-written.


What are parts of an email to a professor?

An email sent to a professor for the Ph.D. position needs to have multiple different parts. The format might change depending on the situation, but for the most part, this is what you need to have in your email:

  • The subject line needs to be to the point, and it needs to be something like “Prospective Ph.D. student”, “Request for Ph.D. supervision” or anything similar. You want to show exactly what you want to achieve and why you are sending an email in the first place. If you step away too much, then that becomes an issue and you want to avoid that as much as you can.

  • Greetings are also an important part. You want to start with “Dear NAME” or “Dear Prof. NAME”, among others. Make sure that you only use professional greetings. Then you can write “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon”, depending on the time of day when you are sending the email to the professor.

  • The First paragraph has to be an introduction, showing who you are and where you come from. The intro should also have some info about your experience and qualifications, which is something important to keep in mind. Any slang terms or abbreviations should be avoided.

  • The second paragraph needs to talk about your work experience, skills and previous research. Keep in mind this needs to be short and to the point, but you want to showcase your achievements and expertise, as it will make you stand out from any other competitors.

  • The third paragraph is where you share your interests and motivation. Show why you chose this professor or their research group. It’s also a good idea to start what project you would like to get started on. It helps eliminate concerns, while bringing you an outstanding experience.

  • At the end of the email, you want to have a formal acknowledgement. You also want to state that you attached your CV and any other relevant info regarding your previous accomplishments.


First sample email to professor

Dear Prof. _____

My name is AAA, I am a student at the AAA college and I have a major in AAA. Right now I am a junior, but I am preparing to graduate this year. I also have experience in the college summer program and a GPA score of 4.

I am looking to attend the graduate school AAA, specializing in AAA. During one of my classes, I had the opportunity to read your article on AAA, I enjoyed it a lot and it allowed me to gather some ideas regarding future research I can do. I’ve also bee exploring a multitude of ideas that I could work on. My project will focus on AAA and AAA, and I would like to explore multiple different questions.

I would like to inquire if you are accepting any graduate students. I’ve been working on numerous projects and received multiple awards, as you can see from my attachments. I would be delighted to work with you and receive all the necessary guidance needed to complete my research. 

Please find in the attachment my CV. I am looking forward to hearing your reply and potentially working with you.

Best regards,

Your name

Second sample email to professor

Dear Prof. ____

My name is AAA and I completed the AAA degree from AAA university with X GPA. I received the AAA certificates, achievements and medals (If available).

While doing my undergraduate/masters studies, I was able to read one of your articles and I was fascinated by it. Since then, I’ve been engaged in multiple research projects on that topic, and even was a part of research publications and internships that allowed me to further improve my knowledge on that topic.

I am turning to you for the AAA position on the AAA scholarship in the area of AAA. I read multiple publications of your research work and my current project, and I would like to ask for your assistance and guidance. I explored your department’s website in detail and I think your option would be an excellent fit due to the emphasis on AAA and AAA. I still have a few questions that I would like to talk with you about.

Please find in the attachment my CV which includes my work experience, the list of research publications, and academic achievements. I appreciate taking your time to read this message, and I am looking forward to your reply.

Best regards,

Your name


It’s very important to understand how to create an email for a Ph.D position, even if it can get very challenging at first. The main focus is to always ensure you share your ideas, while asking for guidance and support. Keep it short and simple, retain the structure listed above, and don’t hesitate to make this email your own. Doing that can help a lot, and it has the potential to eliminate many of the downsides that can appear. If you found this article and samples useful, don’t hesitate to share them with friends!