Thesis Tips

Sample emails to your thesis supervisor

A good thesis requires good communication between you and your thesis supervisor. This includes emails! Yet, even a simple email can lead to stress and overthinking. If you struggle to communicate with your thesis supervisor via email, have a look at six sample emails for inspiration.

General tips for emailing your thesis supervisor

Every relationship between student and thesis supervisor is unique. And everyone has a unique (email) writing style.

Nonetheless, there are a few general tips for emailing your thesis supervisor:

  • Properly address your supervisor. In some contexts, it is acceptable that students address their supervisors on a first-name basis. In others, it would be completely unthinkable! So make sure to follow context-specific standards. When in doubt, always go for the more formal option (Dr. x, Professor x, Prof. Dr. x, Mr. x, Ms. x).
  • Keep your emails short. No one wants to read an email of the length of a novel. Too much text can bury your main request. Always state clearly what you want. Don’t expect your thesis supervisor to read between the lines.
  • Create accompanying calendar invites to your emails. Once you and your thesis supervisor/s agree on a meeting date via email, make sure that you send everyone involved a calendar invite via email. It will be greatly appreciated.
  • Don’t overthink your emails too much. You may obsess about formulating a certain sentence or making sure no word is missing and no grammatical mistake is made. While emails to your supervisor should not read like a jotted-down text message, overthinking your emails is also a waste of time. Your supervisor will not judge you if your email includes one whacky sentence or a single spelling mistake.

Sample email to thesis supervisor inquiring about potential supervision

The first email to a potential thesis supervisor tends to be very formal. If you have never met the potential thesis supervisor in person before, make sure to check out tips on how to cold-email professors. In the following sample email, however, we assume that the student and the potential thesis supervisor met before.

Dear Professor Wales,

My name is Angelina and I am a student in the Mechanical Engineering programme. We met a month ago when you gave a guest lecture in the course ‘Advanced Fluid Dynamics.

I am currently working on my thesis proposal. In my thesis, I would like to explore distributed machine-machine interactions. As this topic falls within your field of expertise, I was wondering if you’d be willing to supervise my thesis.

I attached my draft thesis proposal to this email. Please let me know if you have any questions about the topic or process.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

With kind regards,

Angelina Forest
Student number 037-845-386

Sample email to thesis supervisor setting up a meeting

Successful (postgraduate) students are proactive and take matters into their own hands. Reaching out to their thesis supervisors to set up a meeting is one part of it. The following sample email contains a simple request from a student to meet with her thesis supervisor.

Dear Dr Dorle,

I hope all is well! Thanks again for providing feedback on my thesis draft. I addressed all comments and would like to set up a supervision meeting in the coming days to discuss the following steps.

I am available on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Friday afternoons. Please let me know whether you are available and what time suits you best.

With kind regards,

Daniela

Sample email to thesis supervisor sharing post-meeting action points

To get the most out of thesis supervision meetings, it is highly recommended that the student takes notes during the meeting. Based on these notes, the student then summarises the key takeaways from the meeting, or action points, so to speak. These action points will guide the student’s work until the next meeting, and provide a written record of agreements.

Dear Professor Fila and Dr Medow,

Thank you for the fruitful and encouraging meeting yesterday. I went through my notes, and summarised the key takeaways of the meeting as follows:

The conceptual framework needs to be improved and better reflect the theoretical discussion.
Research sub-question 2 needs to be refined.
I can start reaching out to people to begin the data collection process.
We agreed that I will apply to the upcoming postgraduate conference, and I will prepare my abstract submission.

Please let me know if you would like to add anything else to the list.

Sincerely,

Aarav

Sample email to thesis supervisor asking for feedback

Sometimes, it does not make sense to wait for feedback until the next supervision meeting. Of course, students should not bombard their supervisors with constant questions via email. However, a kind request once in a while is usually accepted and appreciated. The following sample email showcases a student asking for feedback.

Dear Professor De Leon,

I hope this email finds you well.

I am happy to share my reworked thesis introduction with you. Based on our last discussion, I changed the section on the scientific relevance of the study and the core contributions to practice.

I would be grateful if you could provide some feedback on the new version.

Thank you for your time.

Best wishes,

Valerie

Sample email to thesis supervisor asking for support

As a student, it can also happen that you get stuck. Often, it is better to reach out and ask your thesis supervisor for support, both in terms of content or any other challenges you experience. Don’t suffer in silence. The following sample email shows an example of a student asking for support.

Dear Caroline,

I hope you are doing well. In the last two weeks, I made a lot of progress with my thesis. I developed my methodology and already managed to conduct 7 interviews.

However, I currently feel a bit lost and overwhelmed because I do not know how to analyse the interviews. I received so much information, and I struggle to organise and categorise it. Furthermore, I find it increasingly challenging to concentrate.

Therefore, I was wondering if you could provide some tips or strategies on how to tackle the interview analysis, and how to stay focused and motivated. I would also be happy to meet.

Thank you in advance.

Sincerely,

Amina

Sample email to thesis supervisor when not meeting a deadline

And lastly, there are the unfortunate occasions where you made agreements with your thesis supervisor, which you cannot meet. Pulling an all-nighter is generally a bad idea, as sleep is crucial for efficient thesis writing. It might be smarter, to be honest, and open about it and to inform your thesis advisor in advance. In the following sample email, the student informs the supervisor that he cannot meet the agreed deadline.

Dear Professor Nguyen,

during our last meeting we agreed that I would send you a full draft of Chapter 3 by Friday, the 3rd of August. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to meet the deadline.

I ran into some problems with the data analysis and took longer to find relevant literature than expected. I think I will need one more week to complete a comprehensive draft of the chapter.

Apologies for the inconvenience.

With kind regards,

Fabian

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