How to Email a Professor

How to Email a Professor
How to Email an Assistant ProfessorAssociate Professor or Any Other Type of Professor

An email can be as formal as a letter or as informal as a voicemail message. Here is how to format a formal email which is basically a formal letter delivered by electronic means.

—-Email’s Address Block, Formal:   #3
—-—-(Full Name) (post nominal(s) for degrees held)
—-—-(Address)
—-—-—-or
—-—-(Full Name) (post nominal(s) for degrees held)
—-—-(Graded Rank of Professor)(Department/University)
—-—-(Address)

———-Which looks like: 
—————-Robert T. Barbee, Ph.D. —–#3
—————-Associate Professor, McIntire Department of Art
—————-XYZ University

—————-Robert T. Barbee, Ph.D. —–#3
—————-McIntire Department of Art
—————-XYZ University

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

—-Formal salutation:
—-—-Dear Dr./Mr./Ms. (Surname):    #1
—-—-—-or
—-—-Dear Professor (Surname): —–#2

(The text of your letter here: Remind the professor who you are: class, day & time.  Keep it simple.  In complete sentences and punctuation.)

—-Complimentary close:
—-—-Sincerely yours,
—-—-—-or
—-—-Sincerely,

(Give your full name – First and Last.  Include your cell phone if you are open to a reply by phone.)

—-Conversation, initially:
—-—-Dr./Professor (surname) —–#1 and #2

—-Conversation, subsequently:
—-—-Dr./Professor —–#1 and #2

—-#1) ‘Dr.’ is used as an honorific if the person has a doctorate. ‘Mr./Ms.’ is used if an individual does not hold a doctoral degree,

—-#2) Anyone holding one of the graded ranks of professor (professor, associate professor, assistant professor, adjunct professor, etc.) may be addressed orally as ‘Professor’ or Professor ‘(Name)’ – especially in the classroom.

—-#3) Graded levels of professor, e.g., assistant professor or associate professor, are not used in oral address and are seldom used in written address. They most often appear in publications and on lists where the specific hierarchical position is pertinent.

For more on addressing professors – retired, with a military rank, or a JD – see the expanded page on addressing a professor in a letter.

– Robert Hickey

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"