How should I contact a lecturer?
The quickest way is probably to contact a lecturer by email – but how do I phrase and write such an email? How do I find the right expression? What should I consider when writing to a lecturer?
With these helpful tips and suggestions, we explain what you should consider and keep in mind when corresponding with the lecturer by email:
- Please consider and carefully prepare the content of the email (first impression).
- Never send an email enquiry to multiple persons at the same time (in cc/copy or to several email addresses)! Oftentimes these types of emails are not even read due to the fact that the recipient does not feel personally addressed.
- Please avoid writing emails without a subject line. The subject line is important too: it should give brief and exact information about the content.
- Start your email with a formal opening. *The typical greeting is „Dear Mr./Ms. [last name]“. In most cases, the title of the instructor (Prof./Dr.) is listed as well. *Please note: for professors, just using the title „Professor“ – „Dr.“ held by almost all professors does not need to be included. Following the title, only include the last name and not the first name. So: „Dear Professor [last name]“ or „Dear Dr. [last name]“ and never write „Dear Mr./Ms. Professor Dr. [first name] [last name]“.
*Please avoid writing „Hi” or „Hello“. *Not using any kind of salutation is disrespectful; write the name of the recipient correctly.
- Phrase your matter as precise as possible and give enough information for someone to understand your matter. For example: which course are you referring to?
- Please use a standard style and Standard English. Avoid using flippant remarks or very formal language.
- Your closing phrase could be: „Sincerely“ / „Sincerely yours“. It is uncommon to sign your letter with “Kind regards“, “Bye” if you have never spoken to the professor before.
- Sign the email with your full name (first and last name).
- Sometimes it is not possible for the instructor to answer his/her emails immediately and you will receive a delayed response.
If you do not receive an answer within a week, it is possible and not impolite to send an email again. If you still do not receive a reply, try to contact the instructor personally (if necessary by telephone or during advisory hours, contact data is listed here).