Professional Communication

7 Tips to Effectively Email Your Professors

Finals are just around the corner and you may have a lot of upcoming questions you would like to ask your instructors. Remember these 7 tips in order to stay professional while emailing!

  1. Address Them Correctly – At the beginning of each email, start with a greeting followed by your teacher’s title. Some examples are “Dear Dr. Smith” or “Good morning Professor Smith.” If you don’t know whether or not your teacher is a doctor, do a little research before sending your email. You can typically find this information on the class syllabus, but you could also try searching for them on the Miami website or Linkedin. Double and triple check that you spelled their name correctly. This is a surprisingly common mistake.
  2. Befriend the Subject Line – The subject line is there for a reason and you should never leave it blank! Include your class, section, and a brief note about what your email will address. An example of this is “STA 125 A – Project.” Subject lines help your instructors sort through their emails and ensure that yours doesn’t get lost in the mix.
  3. Be Mindful of your Tone – If you’ve never emailed your professor before, the safest bet is to use a formal approach.  If they respond with a more casual tone then it is acceptable for you to loosen the reigns too. Pay attention to how they sign their name at the end of an email. If they use a nickname or include their full name, then it is acceptable to copy that. Never use their first name unless they have signed their email with it first or have made it clear in class that you should address them with a first name.
  4. Remember your Audience – You are emailing a professor, not sending a text to your friends. Read over your email before sending it and make sure everything makes sense and flows. There should be no spelling or punctuation mistakes. There should also be no slang or abbreviations.
  5. Add a Touch of Humanity – While your emails should be professional, they don’t have to be strictly business. If it is the beginning of the semester, introduce yourself to your professor or if you have been in their class for awhile then ask them how their week has been. Keep this short and concise, but genuine. Don’t be afraid to add exclamation points, within reason!
  6. Repeat your WHY – Remember to restate the reason you are emailing your professor at the end of your email. You may have already included this in the introduction, but this helps bring everything together at the end, especially in long emails. It is easiest to keep the questions and most important content at the end of the email, after all the fluff!
  7. Sign-Off – Conclude your email with an exit statement such as “thank you” or “sincerely” followed by your name. While not necessary, you could also add a signature to the bottom of all your emails. This would be a place to add your school, major, extracurricular activities, further contact information, and more. Signatures help establish your credibility and share a little bit about yourself. Learn more about writing signatures.