How to correspond with your professor

Hello! Most students who arrive at this page have been directed here by a professor. In all likelihood the professor believes that the student would benefit from some advice on how to correspond effectively with his or her professors by e-mail. Do not be alarmed if your professor directed you to this page. He or she did so to help you. Simply follow the advice below and re-send your e-mail.

The advice is simple:

  1. Address the professor as "Professor (last name)" unless he or she specifically directs you to do otherwise.
  2. Be clear about who you are and what class you are in.
  3. Be clear about the nature of your problem.
  4. Write in complete sentences without punctuation, spelling or grammatical mistakes.
  5. Be polite and respectful at all times.

Here is an example of an e-mail that meets these criteria.

Subject: Question about midterm

Dear Professor Smith:

My name is Connor James and I am in your Philosophy 002 class, which meets T,Th at 10:00 AM. I have a question about the midterm. You said in class that it will cover chapters 1-4 of the text, but I noticed that we only discussed the first half of chapter 3. Are we responsible for all of chapter 3 or just the part we discussed in class?

Thanks very much,

Connor James

  1. When your professor responds to your e-mail with a satisfactory answer to your question, you should reply with a brief "thank you."