I have a sponsor to do my PhD but the problem with supervisors. I keep sending emails to them and no one replies to my email.

Could you let me know how can I encourage them to look at my email? for example what title is appropriate for my email in this case? and what should I include in my email?

  • Most likely is because your academic record is poor. Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 20:40
  • How do they know that? at least they should reply by refusing!
    – CS Geek
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 20:44
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    I based it on my own experience where such emails will include a CV or/and transcripts. As I receive many, I no longer reply, especially when many emails are fishing for scholarships. Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 21:15
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    The difficulty you face is a version of the "problem" spammers face: how to get people to pay attention to "cold calls". This is a moving target, since a new strategy results in new defensive techniques... At the very least, you should address people by name, correctly spelled, and so on. Not just generic "Dear Professor" or "Dear Sir" or "Dear Madam". (Worse is "Dear Sir/Madam, I am intensely interested in your work..." :) People will often not look at email, but only the subject line, so there should already be something effectively non-spam in that. You cannot easily mass-produce these. Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 21:54

2 Answers 2


Professors/faculty receive many emails asking for internships, PhD student positions, etc. I even receive such requests as a postdoc -- I am not even able to offer such positions!

Almost all of these emails are low-quality. Namely, they are not specific to the professor's research and have the appearance of being mass emails sent to hundreds of recipients without much thought. Replying to them is a waste of time.

As a result, professors are accustomed to ignoring such emails. It is quite possible that your email was treated as spam.

Here are a few suggestions to avoid your email being ignored:

  1. Ensure that your email is relevant to the recipient. If you are asking them to be your PhD supervisor, explain why. What about their research interests you? (At the very very least, get their name right!)
  2. Have a professor you know introduce you. The email will be more credible if it comes from someone the recipient has heard of. In essence, this serves as a recommendation.
  3. Make sure your email includes enough information about you. Briefly introduce yourself (i.e. your qualifications) and you could even attach a CV or link to a website with more information about yourself.
  4. Get to the point. Academics get so much email they may not read past the subject line before ignoring your email. Keep it short and make sure the subject and first sentence/paragraph of your email are clear, concise, and to the point. If you have a sponsor already, don't leave that until halfway through your long email.

The very first thing they will see is your email title, so be sure it is descriptive. If your sponsor is providing all the funding you need(?), then make sure that is clear, and that it is clear that you are personalizing it. For instance:

Have Fancy Foundation Scholarship, hope to work with you in fall at Awesome University

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