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I want to send an email to a professor to inform him that I want to accept the offer of PhD admission and Research assistantship. But I do not know how to start email. Is the following good? if not, would you please recommend better phrase.

Dear Professor,

I hope you are keeping well ....

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4  
You'd want to include at least a name after "Professor," I'd think! –  aeismail Apr 23 at 16:02
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How about this? "Hello Dr. Genius, I gratefully accept your offer of admission and research assistantship, and I look forward to working with you. Regards, user11259" –  Mad Jack Apr 23 at 16:05
    
Thanks a lot for your comments :) –  Potential Scientist Apr 23 at 16:09
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This should be the least hard thing about graduate school. They won't take it away based on one email, simple is good. –  Neo Apr 23 at 22:13

3 Answers 3

up vote 19 down vote accepted

Congratulations on finding a PhD position :) When sending an acceptance e-mail to a professor, I would say the "general" rules of communicating with professors via e-mail apply.

  • Be polite, and extend thanks when appropriate, but don't overdo the social pleasantries.

    The polite part basically holds for any e-mail and live correspondence.

    I would say that "I hope you are keeping well" would be a bit unnecessary.

  • Be short and to the point. Respect the professors time.

    Professors receive many e-mails a day, and are usually very busy. Saying what you want to say clearly not only shows respect for their time, but also makes it more likely that everything written will be carefully read.

  • Do at least a basic spellcheck.

    Especially in the beginning of a communication. It doesn't cost much time and effort, but could leave a bad impression.

  • Do not attach big files unless explicitly asked for.

    Anything larger than a few MB should not be sent unless asked for (e.g. sending all your credentials / application papers when first contacting somebody is bad), and especially not to somebody who you are not collaborating with at the moment.

Beyond this, there is not much else. I already feel like it's hard to call any of these rules, they're just guides based on common sense. Just say what you need to say. I put and extended the comment by @user11259 here as an example:

Hello Dr./Prof. Brain,

I gratefully accept your offer of admission and research assistantship, and I look forward to working with you.

(Please let me know about the next steps in the admission process I need to take.)

Sincerely,

user11259

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This is very culture and person specific. My acceptance email was (translated from Dutch):

Harry:

Sure. When?

-- Maarten

I do not reccommend that as a general style, but it was the right response in my specific case, as in the Netherlands (academic) titles are less important than in other countries and I knew that Harry (my advisor) was even more extreme in his insistence on informal and brief/terse communication.

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Almost everyone who interviews attempts to present themselves, their accomplishments, and their personal objectives politely and submissively to the interviewer.

Dear Professor, I hope you are keeping well ....

Hello Dr./Prof. Brain, I gratefully accept your offer of admission and research assistantship, and I look forward to working with you.

When you write "I hope you are keeping well" or "I gratefully accept," you are subordinating yourself to your "superior."

This attitude is not "academic," it is playing power politics or submitting to colonialism.

The first thing you must do is read everything you can get your hands on your professor has published. Then select any aspect of the professor's writing that jumps up at you. Find something Professor Brain has written, and ask her one or more questions about her assertions. SHE MUST RESPOND--SHE CANNOT HELP BUT RESPOND BECAUSE YOU ARE ACTIVATING THE KEYS TO HER PSYCHE.

When Professor Brain responds, find a term or concept she mentions; and ask Professor Brain to elaborate.

After you have had a continuing conversation with Professor Brain for several e-mail messages back and forth, you can discuss any procedural issues you like. But at that point in the discussion, you will have established where you stand, who you are, and how much you care. Do it properly, and YOU WILL BECOME THE SUPERIOR.

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There's no need to act subordinate, but I don't see a problem with saying "I gratefully accept" or "I hope you are keeping well" (and I certainly don't see how either one could be considered submitting to colonialism). What you describe comes across as attempted manipulation, and I see it as at best pointless and quite possibly counterproductive. –  Anonymous Mathematician Apr 24 at 1:54
    
Not to forget useless... Academics usually take around a week to answer important emails, an exchange of pleasantries will be sent to the bottom of the pit of forgoteness. –  Davidmh Apr 24 at 10:59
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I hope that is just trolling and not a serious answer... –  xLeitix Apr 24 at 11:13
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I regret that I only have one downvote to give here. –  aeismail Apr 26 at 10:49

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