It's graduate program application time! Are you looking for a thesis supervisor? Here are a few tips. 🧵
It's totally normal to "cold email" faculty members you don't know. Don't feel weird about it.
Make sure the subject line of your email is specific. Try "MSc applicant to [PROGRAM] requesting supervision" rather than "your research" or "Introduction" or something unclear
Address the faculty member as Dr. LASTNAME or Prof. LASTNAME. Don't use gendered titles (Ms, Mr, Sir).
The first sentence of your email should specify the following information: What degree and what program you are applying to, full-time or part-time status, any particular stream of the program (if applicable) and that you are looking for a thesis supervisor.
Next, you are going to want to indicate why you are e-mailing this particular supervisor. Demonstrate that you have learned something about them and are making a deliberate choice (not just e-mailing everyone on the list). Something like:
"I'm familiar with your work on the ethical implications of prenatal testing. This aligns well with my interest in the ethical implications of reproductive health technologies".
Don't know how to connect their work to yours? Email someone else then. You and your supervisor need to have aligned interest and expertise: topics, methods, theoretical approaches. Show them the match.
Next, briefly indicate what you hope to study under their supervision. No one expects you to have your thesis project planned out, but indicate broadly what you would like to do. "I'd like to study the transition from pediatric to adult mental health services"
If you have a preferred methodological approach, indicate that too. "I've used qualitative methods in the past but would like to expand my methodological skillset and design a mixed-methods project" is enough detail.
Then you could tell them a bit about yourself. What was your last degree in and when/where did you earn it? Do you have professional or volunteer experience related to the topic or plan of study? Keep this brief and on point.
You can then conclude your email with something indicating you hope to hear from them, would like to have the chance to meet and discuss etc. But you're not done...
The most important part is the attachments to this email. You will want to send your CV, for sure. Transcripts (unofficial or official) can also help them assess your preparation and education. Check to see if they request any other materials via their website or faculty profile.
I ask for a writing sample (and this is clearly available information on my website). When students send me this writing sample on their first approach, I know they have researched me before writing.
As a faculty member I get multiple requests for supervision each day. More visible colleagues get even more. I don't respond to the ones which read like spam "Dear Esteemed Professor, I wish to join your economics lab", but I respond to all that look individualized.
How to identify who to approach? Start with the program's website. They will all have a list of faculty who supervise in that program. Read the profiles, look at what they've published recently, check for other info available online.
Having trouble identifying someone who fits with what you want to do? Program assistants are a great resource here. E-mail the main administrative contact for the program, describe what you are looking for and ask if they have any suggestions.
Since research takes a long time, sometimes people's current interests and projects haven't shown up online yet. Searching grant result databases can give you a sense of who has recently received funding to work in the area you are interested in. (e.g.…)
You can often search by topic and by institution in these databases.
Didn't get a response and wonder whether/how to follow up? A polite "Not sure if this was buried in your inbox" 1-2 weeks later is fine. An empty email in response to bump it up is rude.
If you find you are receiving a lot of non-responses, re-format your email and really make sure you are only sending it to faculty members with whom you have aligned research interests (and that your e-mail makes this alignment clear).

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Meredith Vanstone

Meredith Vanstone Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!