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Office of Science Engagement

Undergraduate Research: Writing to Professors and PI’s

Writing your email

Follow some of these suggestions when writing your first email

There’s a time and a place: Though you are looking for the opportunity to work with a research mentor, the first email is probably not the best time to directly request to work in their lab.

Do not write a long email!
To: Professor’s work email address
Subject: Question about something related to their research
  • Introduce yourself – major, year of study, etc. Tell them you are interested in learning more about research broadly, and their research specifically. If you know the faculty member, explain how.
  • State why you are interested in research in general. What are your goals? What are your career interests and how do they relate to research?
  • Indicate you have read about their research, and express particular interest. Talk about what you hope to learn as it relates to something you are interested in or have already learned.
  • Close by asking if they would be willing to meet with you to talk about their research and for advice on how to get involved in research in general.
  • Make it easy to schedule the meeting by listing a few time blocks that work with your schedule. If you feel up to it, you can include a copy of your class schedule below your signature.

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