Sample Email to Potential PhD Supervisor: Tips and Template

Are you someone who is seeking a PhD and struggling to figure out how to reach out to a potential supervisor? Well, look no further! I have compiled a sample email that you can use as a template to reach out to potential PhD supervisors and to increase your chances of grabbing their attention.

Before we dive into the email, it’s essential to keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to writing to a potential supervisor. However, by using the sample email below as a guide, you’ll be well on your way to crafting an excellent email that is tailored to your specific needs.

Dear [Supervisor’s Title and Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I am interested in pursuing a PhD in [Your Field of Interest]. I came across your work on [Your Preferred Research Focus], and I was immediately drawn to your research and expertise in this area.

I am currently exploring different research opportunities and believe that working with someone like you would not only help me grow as a researcher but also allow me to make a meaningful contribution to the field.

[Insert background information about your academic achievements, relevant experiences, and interests. Show how your academic background makes you a great fit for their research group]

I would be honored to discuss potential research opportunities with you, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

[End the email with a polite sign off and your contact information. Thank the potential supervisor for their time and consideration].

Please note that this sample email is just a starting point, and it’s crucial to personalize it. Research the potential supervisor’s previous work and tailor your email to show that you have done your research and are genuinely interested in their work.

With that said, use this sample email and tweak it to suit your specific needs. Remember, your email serves as your first impression and can make or break your chances of securing a great supervisor.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

The Best Structure for a Sample Email to Potential PhD Supervisor

When it comes to applying for a PhD program, one of the most crucial steps is reaching out to a potential supervisor. This email can make or break your chances of being accepted, so it is important to get it right. Below is a structure for a sample email to a potential PhD supervisor that has been proven to be effective.


The opening should be brief and to the point. Introduce yourself and state what program or field you are interested in pursuing your PhD in. Be sure to mention the specific research area/interest of the supervisor you are contacting.

Background Information

In this section, provide a brief overview of your academic background and relevant experience that has led you to pursue a PhD. Be sure to mention any publications or research projects that demonstrate your interests and abilities.

Research Proposal

The biggest part of this email should be your research proposal. This is where you demonstrate your knowledge, passion, and ideas for the field you are interested in. Make sure to clearly outline your research question, the significance of your research project, and your overall approach. You should also include specific questions for the potential supervisor, showing that you have done your research and are interested in their work.


The closing should be concise and demonstrate your interest in pursuing a PhD under the supervision of the person you are contacting. Mention your availability for an interview or further discussion and express your gratitude for their time and consideration.

Formatting and Tone

When it comes to formatting, keep the email brief, to-the-point, and easy to read. Avoid using long paragraphs and complex sentences. Use a professional tone, but try to show your passion and enthusiasm for the field you are interested in.

Remember, this email is not just about your qualifications, but also about demonstrating your fit with the potential supervisor and their research interests. With a clear structure and thoughtful content, you can increase your chances of receiving a positive response from your potential supervisor.

7 Sample Emails to Potential PhD Supervisor for Different Reasons

Request for PhD Supervision in Linguistics

Dear Professor Smith,

I am writing to express my interest in pursuing a PhD in Linguistics at your esteemed institution. After researching the faculty members conducting research in areas I am interested in, your publications and research areas align most closely with my research interests.

My academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics with a focus on discourse analysis. I am particularly fascinated by how language is used in multi-cultural settings, and I am interested in conducting research on this topic.

If you are available to supervise my research, I would be honored. I believe that I could gain valuable insights and knowledge under your guidance. Thank you for your consideration.


Mary Johnson

Seeking PhD Supervision in Computer Science

Dear Professor Lee,

I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to inquire if you would be willing to supervise my PhD in Computer Science. Your research work in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision has been inspiring to me.

I hold a master’s degree in Computer Science from XYZ University, where I worked on machine learning projects. I am highly motivated to pursue my PhD in the same field, and I believe that your expertise would be invaluable to me.

Please let me know if you are available to guide my research. I would be happy to provide further information on my academic background and research interests.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Regards,

Siddhartha Gupta

Request for PhD in Chemistry Supervision

Dear Professor Taylor,

I am writing to you to ask if you would be willing to supervise me in my pursuit of a PhD in Chemistry. I have been greatly impressed by your publications and research areas of interest, which align well with my passion for organic chemistry.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a master’s degree in Organic Chemistry; in the past few years, I have worked as a research assistant in several labs. I am planning on exploring the synthesis of new drugs in order to fight against diseases.

I am hoping that you would be available to direct my studies because I have been impressed by your contributions to the field. I would be grateful to have the chance to learn from you. Thank you so much for your consideration.


Oliver Stone

Enquiry About Research Opportunities in Geology

Dear Dr. Roberts,

I am writing to inquire about the research opportunities in Geology at your institution. During my undergraduate study in Geology, I came across your research and was fascinated by your work on geothermal energy and volcanology.

I am keen to explore unique geological phenomena like the origin of Earth, formation of earthquakes and tsunamis, and work on renewable sources of energy. I believe that engaging with ground-breaking research under your supervision would help me further develop my academic and professional aspirations.

I am wondering if there are any opportunities available to work under you for a PhD programme. If this is something that could potentially work, I would really appreciate the chance to hear more about the research opportunities and requirements that are currently available. Thank you for considering my request.

Best regards,

Anirudh Pandey

Request for PhD Supervision in Psychology

Dear Professor Adams,

I’m writing to ask if you would be willing to supervise my PhD in Psychology, which I plan to start in the next academic session. I have been studying your work on cognitive psychology and found it interesting. Your work in the field has been highly regarded, and I am excited about the possibility to learn more under your guidance.

My undergraduate and graduate studies in Psychology have been geared towards understanding the cognitive structure of human thoughts, emotions and behaviours. I am interested in exploring the behaviour of people at work and examine how motivation and commitment in employees may lead to organisational success.

I am particularly interested in your work on mindfulness, and I hope to learn more about how I can integrate it into my work improving workplace wellbeing and productivity. If there is any chance for us to work together on my PhD, please do let me know. Thank you for your consideration.

Warm regards,

Samantha Jones

Asking for PhD Opportunity in Political Science

Dear Professor Collins,

I’m reaching out to you to express my interest in pursuing a PhD degree in Political Science. After reading your publications, research areas, and teaching expertise, I am confident that your institute is the best place for me to further my studies.

I majored in Political Science in my undergraduate studies and I found that international relations is a subject that I am most passionate about. Specifically, I’m interested in researching the way political actors interact with one another and shape public policy in the face of changing domestic and international circumstances.

I am inquiring if there is any opportunity for us to work together; I am confident that your expertise will help me develop my academic goals and explore cutting-edge research avenues in Political Science. Please let me know if you are available to discuss anything further. I would be happy to send you my CV and relevant documents upon your request. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.


Adam Smith

Request for PhD Supervision in Mathematics

Dear Professor James,

I’m writing to express my enthusiastic interest in working with you in pursuing a PhD in Mathematics in the coming academic year. Your research in the field of number theory and algebra has been exceptional, and I’m confident that your guidance would help me to explore new avenues and ideas in mathematical research.

I graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Mathematics and Engineering. While at Columbia, I studied abstract algebra and number theory before working for five years in applied mathematics. More recently, I have completed an MSc in Mathematics covering topics such as number theory, representation theory and algebraic geometry.

I view PhD research as a means of extending the frontiers of human knowledge and I am strongly motivated to pursue my research interests in those fields. If there is any chance of us working together, I am excited to contribute to the wider mathematical community and further my own academic goals. Thank you very much for considering my request.

Best regards,

Susan Williams

Tips for Writing an Effective Email to a Potential PhD Supervisor

When it comes to emailing a potential PhD supervisor, it’s important that you put your best foot forward and make a solid first impression. Here are some tips to help you craft an effective email:

  • Start with a personalized greeting: Begin your email with a professional salutation such as “Dear Professor [Name]” or “Hello Dr. [Name].” Avoid using generic openers like “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam.”
  • Introduce yourself briefly: In the opening paragraph, briefly introduce yourself by mentioning your name, academic qualifications, and any relevant previous research experience. Keep it concise while being informative.
  • Explain why you are contacting them: Clearly explain why you are interested in this potential supervisor’s research field and how it fits within your wider academic interests. Mention their specific research projects or publications that you find interesting.
  • Outline your research interests: It’s important to make it clear what research topics you are interested in exploring during your PhD program. This will help the potential supervisor to determine whether they are a good fit for you. List any relevant research experience you’ve had so far.
  • Ask for a meeting or further communication: If the potential supervisor seems like a good fit, ask if they would be available to meet or have a phone call to discuss your research interests and their current projects. Be sure to offer a few potential dates and times to make scheduling easier.
  • Closing and polite signoff: Close your email with a polite signoff such as “Thank you for taking the time to read my email” and “Best Regards.”
  • Proofread your email: Before sending, make sure your email is free of typos, grammatical errors, and punctuation mistakes. Ask a friend or mentor to review it if you’re uncertain.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to craft a compelling and professional email to a potential PhD supervisor that will increase your chances of getting a response.

FAQs related to sample email to potential PhD supervisor

What should I include in my email to a potential PhD supervisor?

You should briefly introduce yourself and your research interests, explain why you are interested in working with them, and attach your academic CV and transcripts.

What should I do if I don’t receive a response from my potential supervisor?

You should follow up with a polite reminder email after a week or two. If you still don’t receive a response, it may be appropriate to contact someone else in the department.

Should I mention my publications or research experience in my email?

If you have relevant research experience or publications, you should mention them briefly in your email as they will strengthen your application, but do not go into too much detail.

What should I do if I didn’t do well in my undergraduate studies?

You should briefly acknowledge any shortcomings in your academic performance and explain how you have improved since then, and why you are confident that you will succeed in a PhD program.

Should I have a research proposal ready before contacting a potential supervisor?

It is not necessary to have a research proposal ready before contacting a potential supervisor, but it is a good idea to have a general idea of your research interests and potential research questions.

How important is the tone of my email?

The tone of your email is very important. It should be polite, concise, and professional. Avoid using overly casual language or attempting to be humorous.

Should I contact more than one potential supervisor?

It is recommended that you contact more than one potential supervisor to increase your chances of acceptance into a PhD program. Make sure that you personalize each email, and avoid sending the same email to multiple people without making any changes.

Wrapping It Up

Well, folks, that’s all I have for you on drafting an email to a potential PhD supervisor. I hope you found this article informative and helpful in your academic pursuits. Remember, it’s important to be personally invested and passionate about your topic of research to get the most out of your PhD journey! So, keep calm and keep writing those emails. Thanks for reading and visit us again soon for more tips and tricks related to higher education. Cheers!