Emailing Professors


1. If your professor provided his or her email address to you with the syllabus, then it is safe to assume that sending an email is acceptable.

2. Write from your academic account, if possible.

3. Always use a greeting and spell your professor’s name correctly.

4. Briefly and politely state the reason why you are emailing.

5. If you are e-mailing with a problem, suggest a solution. Be considerate of how your solution might create additional work for the professor.

6. Use standard spelling, grammar, and punctuation. “You” is a 3-letter word, and “I” is capitalized.

7. Sign it with your name. Use first and last name, and if you think there is any chance that your professor may not be able to place you, include your course information below your name.

8. Read it over. Consider not only spelling and mechanics, but also what you have said. Strive for a polite tone, concise language, and clear purpose.

9. If the issue is touchy, or the e-mail long, ask someone else to read it too. Ask if your reader would be offended by such an email if it were directed at him or her.

10. Send.

11. Leave enough time for a response. Some professors do not work on campus every day, so you may need to wait a few days. If you are only sending a piece of information (“I have the flu and will not be in class on Tuesday, but Sue will turn in my paper for me.”) the professor may not consider a reply necessary. In this case, you are done.

12. If more than a few days have passed and you have not gotten a response, it is appropriate to politely ask if the professor received your email and had time to consider what you wrote. If the case is not adequately resolved by e-mail, ask for an appointment to meet in person.