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Office of Science Engagement

Do’s and Don’ts of contacting professors about their research

Do's and Don'ts of contacting professors about their research

Read our tips for sending more effective emails to professors


  • Contact 5-10 faculty members.
  • Address the individual you are emailing by their name (i.e. Professor Brown, Dr. Green)
  • Let them know why you are interested in research.
  • Do your homework! This cannot be stressed enough. Look beyond the field they are working in to learn more about their specific focus. Find out what he/she has recently published and read one of their publications. Use this information to customize your email and express genuine curiosity about their research.
  • Make it easy to schedule a meeting.
  • Follow up if you don’t hear back within a few days (3-5).


  • Send generic emails. Make sure every email you send is personalized; don’t let your message look like a form letter.
  • Forget to proofread.
  • Give up! You may not be successful right away, but keep trying. You may not get a positive response from someone, but it doesn’t always mean you are not qualified. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors who have turned you down to ask them for suggestions about other people with whom you should be in contact.

General Questions


124 Ritenour Building

University Park, PA 16802

Education Abroad

Vacant – Direct all questions to Tomalei Vess


Undergraduate Research

Dr. Tomalei Vess


Professional Development

Dr. Ann Marie Daniel