How To Write an Email to a Professor
When writing an email to a professor, you should always use a formal tone and vocabulary and stick to the point of the message. Additionally, you should make sure to:
Writing an Email to a Professor
Writing an email to a professor (or teacher) can be intimidating. After all, most of them have high standards when it comes to writing, so you probably feel the need to follow a specific format while ensuring the email is free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
This can be overwhelming to students who have a lot to worry about—whether it be going over a syllabus, studying, completing assignments, balancing a social life, or all of the above.
We’re going to help you take the hassle (and stress) out of emailing a professor by giving you seven easy steps to follow.
Class Is in Session: How To Email Your Professor in Seven Steps
1. Use Your Academic Email Address
Most (if not all) colleges and universities provide students with an academic email address. If your school has provided you with one, use it. Using a personal email like [email protected] increases the chances of your email ending up in the spam folder or getting skipped.
2. Write a Clear and Concise Subject Line
It’s always a good idea to give your professor a preview of what the email is about, and that’s what the subject line is for. Make sure the subject line is clear, concise, and informative. Do not write the majority of your email in your subject line:
I do not understand some questions on the assignment you gave us. For example, is question number five supposed to have a thorough, elaborate answer with evidence?
Need clarification on questions for assignment due Tuesday
3. Use a Formal Salutation
Use Dear or Hello when starting an email to your professor. Additionally, make sure to use their correct title and avoid using Mr. or Mrs. If the professor has a PhD., you can use Dr. However, you can’t go wrong with using Professor, regardless of their degree.
Hi Mrs. Duran,
Dear Professor Duran,
Keep in mind that the only time you can skip the formal salutation is if you’re continuing an already established email thread.
4. Introduce Yourself
Professors can have numerous students. You can’t expect them to know who you are solely by your email. After the formal salutation, write your full name and the course you’re taking. Some students also choose to include their student ID if it helps with the request they’re making (e.g., adding points to a test).
Hi Professor Duran,
My name is Jacob S. Carle, and I am in your Thursday 10:00 AM ENC1101 class.
We should note that some students prefer to start with a formality like I hope this email finds you well before introducing themselves. This is also acceptable and a stylistic choice that is up to you.
5. Write a Brief Message About Why You’re Emailing
Professors are extremely busy people. Don’t ramble in your email. Instead, get straight to the point. Write your email as briefly as possible. Additionally, make sure to use the appropriate tone and language.
6. End the Email With a Formal Closing
Once you have asked your question or made your requests, end the email with a formal closing like Thank you, Best, or Sincerely. Then write your name, and if you didn’t include your student ID in the introduction, you can add it to the closing.
Jacob S. Carle
Student ID: 123456
7. Check for Spelling and Grammar Errors
Arguably the most important part of writing an email to your professor is checking for spelling and grammar mistakes. A message riddled with errors can make it seem as if you’re not taking the time to write a professional and proper email.
However, spelling and grammar are not everyone’s strong suit. That’s why it’s a good idea to use LanguageTool as your text editor. Not only will this advanced writing assistant correct spelling and grammar mistakes (in over twenty languages), but it can also help rephrase your sentences to be more formal, fluent, or even more concise. It’s a tool that is valuable for all types of writers, especially students learning their way around professional and formal emails.