There are many situations when you need to email your professor: Asking a question, inquiring about your grades, informing them about a missed class, etc. If you’re wondering how to write an email to a professor, we’ll guide you, step by step. At the end of this article, you’ll find several email samples you can use for different occasions.

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How to write an email to a professor: A step by step guide

1. Make sure you really need to send that email

If you want to email a professor asking a question, check your syllabus first. Chances are pretty solid you’ll find the answer. The syllabus can tell you about your workload, assignments, deadlines, and more. If that’s something you were looking for, there’s no need to send an email and waste your professor’s time. Your classmates are another valuable source of information, so make sure to talk to them first.

If the syllabus, or your peers, can’t answer your question, it’s fine to send an email with additional inquiries.

2. Use your school email

This is the best course of action because such an email looks professional and shows a recipient that your message is about classes. If you don’t have an educational email address, make sure to use an appropriate email address like firstname.lastname@example.com. Your bro$$77@example.com address isn’t suitable for academic correspondence.

3. Write a clear subject line

The subject line defines if a recipient opens your email, so make sure it’s clear, concise and to the point. A good subject line tells a professor what your email is about and how they should act on it.

Here are some subject line examples:

Question about [Course name] assignment

[Course name]: Asking for an appointment

4. Include a proper email greeting

Start your email to a professor with an appropriate and respectful salutation. Double-check their name before sending an email and make sure your greeting is followed by a comma.

Here’s how to start an email to a professor:

Dear Professor [Last Name],

5. Remind who you are

Professors have lots of students, so it’s important to tell them your name and the class you’re attending. This helps you save the recipient time and ensures you get a reply faster.

Here’s how to start an email to a professor:

My name is Lexie Brown, from History 1B, Section 1. 

6. Get straight to the point

After greeting a professor and introducing yourself, it’s time to state your question or request. Keep it concise and clear, so the recipient can quickly comprehend what it’s about and what action is expected from them.

For example:

I was wondering if we could set up an appointment to discuss my grade on [Assignment name]. Please let me know if you are able to meet next week.

7. End an email politely and include a professional signature

How to end an email to a professor? Thank them for their time and sign off your email with “Sincerely” or “Best regards” followed by your name.

Here’s an example:

Thank you for your time and have a great day.
Sincerely,
Lexie Brown

8. Proofread your email

Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Make sure to stick to a formal tone and avoid emojis or informal abbreviations like FYI or ASAP. Check the spelling of your professor’s name one more time.

9. Put yourself in your professor’s shoes

Reread the email as if you are a professor who receives it. Is it clear who’s writing to you and what they want? Is the tone of the email polite and respectful? Does it comply with a formal email format? If all your answers are “Yes,” then feel free to send your email.

Email to professor samples

Once you’ve learned how to email a professor, it’s time to practice. Below, you’ll find a number of email samples for different situations. Please keep in mind that these examples are for reference only, and you should always personalize and tweak them to your needs.

If you frequently need to email your professor, you can add these templates to Spark and reuse them whenever needed. Learn how templates in Spark work.

1. Email to a professor about not attending class

Subject: History 1B: Class attendance

Dear Professor Smith,

This is Lexie Brown, from History 1B, Section 1. I am writing to inform you that I won’t be able to attend your class on Thursday, as I have a doctor’s appointment at 11 AM.

Please find attached my assignment we are supposed to submit by Thursday. I will also do my best to look through the materials you provided for this class and ask my classmates to share their notes.

Thank you.

Best regards,
Lexie Brown

2. Email to a professor about grades

Subject: History 1B: Inquiring about my grade

Dear Professor Smith,

My name is Lexie Brown, from History 1B, Section 1. I was wondering if we could set up an appointment to discuss my grade on [Assignment name].

I have checked that your office hours are scheduled on Wednesdays from 2 to 5 PM. If this is correct, please let me know if I can come.

I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards,
Lexie Brown

3. Email to a professor asking a question

Subject: Question about the History 1B assignment

Dear Professor Smith,

I am Lexie Brown, from History 1B, Section 1. In the syllabus, the deadline for our latest assignment is listed as April 9th. However, in class on Monday you mentioned April 12th as the deadline.

Could you please verify the correct deadline?

Thank you so much for your time.

Sincerely,
Lexie Brown

4. Email to a professor asking for an appointment

Subject: History 1B: Appointment request

Dear Professor Smith,

I am a student in your History 1B class, Section 1. I faced some difficulties with selecting a topic for my research paper, and I would appreciate it if I could discuss it with you during your office hours.

Please let me know if you are available to meet this week.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to your reply.

Best regards,
Lexie Brown


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