medical BLOG | DATE- 2023-02-15

How to contact University professors for a scholarship

If you have a long-term goal of doing research or if you are looking to be part of concurrent projects in your domain, contacting a professor before applying to universities is quite important. Many students are interested in applying for international scholarships for their graduate (MPhil and PhD) studies. For graduate students, it is important to have an acceptance letter from a potential supervisor and in some cases, it is compulsory.


Why do we need to email professors for a scholarship?

We need to email professors for a scholarship because it requires a lot of effort to get funds, but you could also get more scholarships if you have the contacts. And we know that many students have had problem and have spent hours trying to contact their professors for a scholarship, so we want to help applicants to avoid this scenario by providing all the information needed.

Typically, it would be Thesis students who will be insisted on contacting the Professors. Nevertheless, if you really find a professor to be doing interesting work, you must spend a lot of time in this section and write to a few professors.


What should be the content of an email to be sent to a professor?

Email plays an essential role when it comes to approaching a professor for scholarships, funding and research supervision. Content of your email is the first impression which you will give to the professor that will describe you are a serious and well qualified applicant. So, what is the best way to write an email that can increase your chance of selection for the specific position in the lab or research group?

Here are the guidelines about the structure and content of the email.

Your email should illustrate that you are a qualified and suitable person for the open position in professor lab. It should be short, clear and concise without repeating the whole details of your CV. Throughout your email keep in mind about grammar and punctuation. You can find a sample email template for contacting the professor at the end of this article.


  1. Subject line

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. You can also 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.”


       2. First paragraph:

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.

N.B: Avoid all kinds of abbreviations and jargon.


            3. Second paragraph

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 must list your knowledge and achievements in an easy-to-understand way that will help you stand out from the competition.


4. Third paragraph

The third and final section is this 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.”


5. 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!


Your name


Sometimes, the “etiquette” for contacting an expert in your field can be mystifying, and sometimes downright intimidating. Here are some tips of DO’S and DON’TS to ease the pressure and increase the chances that you will get the response you’re hoping for.



Don’t write a generic message and sign with only your first name. Tell them who you are, including major and year in school. If you took a class with this person, mention that. If you were referred to this person by someone else, mention that too.

Don’t just say “Hi” or “Dear Professor”; this can appear as if you sent out a mass email message, which in turn indicated that you haven’t thought carefully about what kind of research you want to do and who would be an appropriate faculty member for your project. It’s also a little casual in tone; addressing the recipient by name instantly sounds more serious.

You are, in a sense, trying to advertise yourself a little bit in the initial email to a faculty member. Identifying what sparked your interest in doing research is a good way to personalize your message and give them a reason to believe your interest is genuine.

This is probably to MOST IMPORTANT part of emailing a potential research advisor. Spend time looking over what a faculty member’s current research interests are within his/her field of expertise. Knowing what he/she is specifically focusing on shows that you are already committed enough to do some reading on your own. It also suggests that you have a better sense yourself of what research would keep you genuinely interested, and that you aren’t necessarily willing to do just anything that comes along. You can find a list of what a professor has recently published in his/her curriculum vitae (an academic resume), which should be accessible on the professor’s profile on his/her department’s webpage. Find out this person’s research interests, how long he/she has been investigating that subject, or even classes he/she has recently taught related to that research.


But if the research that faculty members publish is difficult to understand! That’s OK. You don’t have to understand everything you read, but you can look for some of the key terms of the study that would catch the professor’s attention in that initial email. Make a list of questions as you read to impress the professor by your curiosity and the time you’ve taken to investigate their work, as much as they would be impressed by your comprehension.

It is helpful to close your email by listing the specific days and times you are available. It reduces the number of email exchanges needed to settle on a face-to-face meeting and makes things easier for both you and the professor.



You may be reaching out to more than one professor in your effort to get involved in research. If there are many faculty members performing research in your field of interest, or if your interests are diverse, that’s a perfectly appropriate strategy, so long as you keep your email messages from looking like form letters! Here is a good rule of thumb: ask yourself, “Could I change the name of the addressee in the salutation of my message and keep the body of the message same?” If the answer is “Yes”, then you have a problem. Remember, you want to personalize the emails and raise questions around which you can build a more in-depth conversation. These initial emails should be all uniquely framed for the person to whom you are writing.

Silly grammar errors do not make good first impressions.

Finding the right faculty mentor for your research may take some time. You may not get a positive response the first or second or fifth time you send an email. Keep trying! Also, don’t be afraid to ask professors who turned you down if they can refer you to another faculty member.


How to follow up after sending emails

Sad but true that a lot of e-mails that you send end up in the spam folder or the Professor ignores them as their mailboxes are mostly overflowing. It will be quite unfortunate if none of the Professors choose not to respond to your e-mail. There can be a lot of reasons:


After sending your email, you can follow up with the professor in a few different ways. For example, you can send the professor an email that lets her know when she should expect to hear back from you. You can also call the office hours of your professor and set up a time to meet.

A follow-up email is one of the best ways to get a response. It is a great way to further your chances of being considered for the scholarship. In this email its important to make sure that you are clear about your interest in the scholarship, why you're interested in it, and how it will be helpful in paying for studies.




Sample Email to Contact a professor.

Subject: Request for Research and MS supervision

Dear Prof.________,


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.




Your Name



MED in Ethiopia wishes you a GOODLUCK on your journey!!!

WRITTEN BY - Bezawit Girma-Med In Ethiopia Team

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WRITTEN BY - Bezawit Girma

Med In Ethiopia Team


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