As an undergraduate student, you want to represent yourself in a professional manner when communicating with faculty members. This starts from the very first email. Your emails should be professional, concise, and free of any spelling or grammatical errors. The email you send to a faculty member is a reflection of you and may affect how the faculty member views and interacts with you. 

We understand that reaching out to faculty members can be intimidating, so below we have outlined the basic rules of email etiquette to follow! If you need additional help reach out to your peer mentors, visit Stephanie's virtual office hours or visit the Office of URSA's virtual drop-in advising hours.

Basic Structure

This will include:

  • A clear and direct subject line
  • A professional greeting using the faculty's title and surname 
  • A brief introduction (your full name, major, the purpose of the email)
  • At least 3 specific times you are available to meet 
  • A salutation to end the email 

Example email

Dear Dr. Cortez,

My name is Alex Smith, I'm currently a third-year majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology here at OSU. I'm interested in the research you are conducting on the directionality of motor proteins and I would love an opportunity to meet with you and discuss joining your research team!

If you are willing to meet, I am available every Monday from 1-3 pm, Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11 am, and Friday from 4-5 pm.

Sincerely,

Alex Smith

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

XXX-XXX-XXX

 

Reminders:

  • Use complete sentences when writing an email and avoid using slang; you want to remain professional when emailing faculty.

  • Be sure to proofread for spelling and grammatical errors!

  • When you are including times that you are available to meet, be sure to include the date as well if you aren't always free at that time every week.

  • Be cautious using humor via email, it can easily be misconstrued since it doesn't always come across the same as in person.

  • Make sure to reply to any responses that require one.

  • If you don't receive a response right away, don't worry! Professors are busy and this means you'll want to wait about a week before sending a follow-up email.

Additional suggestions:

  • Using your ONID email can help prevent your email from getting flagged as spam.

  • Double-check that you are emailing the correct person!

  • Think about creating a signature block, an automatic ending to appear in your emails. This usually includes a closing salutation, the student's full name, and their major.

  • Consider reading your sentences aloud before sending the email. This will help limit spelling and grammatical errors, as well as limit any miscommunications.