I recently sent a thank you note to one of my college professors via email and never got a reply from her. I have not heard from her in a week and being that she is retired I would have thought that as a courtesy, she could have replied to my email (i.e. thank you for your kind words). Is it normal for retired professors to not reply to these sorts of emails?

  • 2
    Perhaps, since she is retired, she does not check email very often, or is on travel, or who knows what...
    – Jon Custer
    Apr 5, 2018 at 17:56
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    Yes, thank you, Jon. I have also emailed to Office Assistant at this Department asking him how I can contact Professor. I don't know what is going on there, I got no reply, either. Maybe they are all on vocation, Very strange
    – user90950
    Apr 5, 2018 at 18:00
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    Many codes of etiquette say that people should not reply to thank you notes. Just let it go. Apr 5, 2018 at 19:08
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    Did you plan to reply to her thank you note for your thank you note?
    – Mark
    Apr 5, 2018 at 20:22
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    It would seem to be overly high of an expectation to always have a reply to your thank you note. Forget it and move on. Apr 5, 2018 at 21:58

2 Answers 2


I wouldn't say that. Professors really appreciate the "thank you" messages but replying to them makes some of us a little uncomfortable at times. Sometimes we don't know what to say also.

One thing for sure: it makes us quite happy and sometimes a little embarrassed.


There are 3 main reasons why she may not have responded.

1. The email you sent was to an address she no longer has access to, or does not check, because she is now retired.

2. As Elkady says above, some professors don't know how to reply or potentially does not see a reason to reply.

3. She did ignore you.

1 and 2 are the most likely reasons here. It isn't uncommon for professors to not reply all the time. In your case, don't do anything. Sending a follow up email asking why she didn't reply will be considered rude.

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