I am planning to request an override via e-mail for a class which is taught by two professors; one of them holds a PhD, while the other hold a master's; I have never met either of them. Usually my first line would be something along the lines of:

"Hello Dr. X, Dr. Y"

However, I feel like if I say

"Hello Dr. X, Mr. Y"

it would seem a little weird. I don't want to be over the top formal, but I still want to be polite. I've thought of using "Pro. X, Prof Y" but I'm not sure. How should I address them?

My location is the U.S.

  • 3
    This might depend on where you are. Some countries are more formal in general than others. You might even have a problem with 'professor' in some places.
    – Buffy
    Aug 23, 2018 at 0:31
  • 1
    @Buffy My location is the U.S., I've just added that to the question; in general the professors at my school are not extremely formal.
    – Ovi
    Aug 23, 2018 at 0:32
  • If one is an assistant to the other, you could just address the one, actually. But the answers already given are fine.
    – Buffy
    Aug 23, 2018 at 0:37
  • I've never found it particularly rude to simply dispense with the greeting line and get right to the message. E-mails have more structure in common with memos (what with the various headings like To, From, Subject, etc) than letters.
    – chepner
    Aug 23, 2018 at 15:40

3 Answers 3


Given that they're professors, you can just use "Prof."

Having said that, don't worry too much about salutation. I'm sure lots of people have received emails calling them "Dr." when they don't have PhDs, or "Prof" when they aren't professors. Heck, I've even seen emails calling someone "Mr." when they're actually female, or vice versa. We learn to ignore the honorific and concentrate on the email text.


In the US, it's perfectly fine to say "Hello (or dear) Professor X and Professor Y", or something like Dear Professors. Another widely-applicable option is to avoid names altogether -- my favorite is simply "Greetings."

  • 30
    "Greetings" in an email puts me in mind of a nice Nigerian man looking to offload some millions of dollars...
    – awjlogan
    Aug 23, 2018 at 8:11
  • 17
    @awjlogan "Greetings, dear kind sirs and madams. I am the Prince of Azbanath, of the Kingdom of Saluqua. It is your privilege and opportunity to obtain a portion of my immense wealth. I am currently stranded in the Kingdom of Oglbard, but if you wire me £1,000,000 I can buy my passage to freedom and reward you handsomely. I await your reply with anticipation."
    – Vladhagen
    Aug 23, 2018 at 14:50
  • I simply title my emails with “Hi,” and then ask my question. Feb 11 at 20:13

If it is an option to send them separate emails, I would do that and address both as "Professor." As someone who holds a Ph.D. and worked in academia with colleagues who have a Ph.D. and others who don't, I would say that no one would be discomforted by being addressed as "Professor" even when they don't have a doctoral degree. Since they are teaching college level, it is appropriate to address them as such regardless of their degree.

PS: I am assuming this is for US colleges. Although I think the academic etiquette practiced in some other parts of the world might be similar, I can't speak for it informedly. And you get an "A" from me for caring to ask this question :)

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