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How To Email a Professor

Students today are most familiar or comfortable with texting or social media as a primary form of communication, but at the college level, the most ideal way to communicate with professors and college staff is by way of email, as I have recently found out. This means it is important to know how to effectively email your professor. Below I will give you some tips to use when emailing your professor.

The Subject Line

Put the topic and purpose of the email in the subject line. Keep the subject line short, no more than 7 words.

The Body of the Email

Include a greeting at the beginning. Dear can be too formal so you can always just say hello.

Do not use Mrs., sometimes it is not considered acceptable. Mrs. is usually used to refer to married females. Using Mrs. requires you to know that your professor is married. Even then, some professors would rather be referred to Dr. so as to ensure that the impotence of their doctorate degree is not diminished. Use Dr. Ms. Mr. Pros. or Professor. If you are not sure which to use, you can always ask.

Do not address the professor by first name if you have not met them yet and do not know if this is acceptable.

Emails are meant to be short. Keep it simple and concise.

Explain why you are emailing in the first few sentences of the email. The reader of the email should know why they are being emailed within a few seconds of opening the email. For example, “I am waitlisted for this class and I would like to see if I would be able to join.”

After clearly stating the purpose, give background information that will further explain your problem. For example, “I am a Senior and need this class to graduate.”

Include necessary details. For example, which section of the class, student ID or number.

Be aware of tone and politeness. Ask, do not demand.

Check spelling and grammar

The Signature Line

Add signature block in settings. The original emailer and their email addresses sometimes can get lost in forwarding. A signature block allows for this not to happen.

Signature block:

First name and last name

Degree & Major (Ex: B.A. in Political Science)

University & year (Ex: University of Michigan ‘24)

Title/Leader of group

Phone number

Example of an Effective Email


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