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I hold a Bachelor in physics and I am applying for a master program in Germany. There is a research group by a professor, with topics very close to what I'd like to study and furthermore work on. On the group's site it is posted that there are open master-phd positions.

Should I email the professor, expressing my willingness to study and possibly work in the future under his group if I am not yet admitted to the program?

My email would contain some basic information about my choices of classes, bachelor thesis, personal studies after my bachelor and interests in the research group.

  • If needed I can provide a link of the group and the university I am applying to; I just don't know if it's ok in relation with the stack exchange policy – Constantine Black Jun 6 at 12:25
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It is usually the case that the information you intend to include in your email about your studies would be asked for in the application, so preemptively providing that would be unnecessary.

It may be useful to email mentioning your interest in the research group, and ask any questions about the research you may have.

  • Thank you for your answer. When you write: "... and any questions about the research you have", you mean answering possible question about what I have studied or mention something? – Constantine Black Jun 6 at 12:53
  • I mean if you have any questions about the research the group does. For instance, if you have questions about applications of the research, available laboratory facilities, or field-specific questions, this might be a good time to ask. – Emma Jun 6 at 13:05
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Emails with too vague requests are more likely to be ignored. In Germany, admissions to Master programs are usually handled centrally and specific professors do not have influence on your particular application. For doctoral student admissions, it is the opposite: you normally contact the professor directly and they decide whether they want to take you. In this case, having done some (good) research work at the department will increase your chances.

If your Master program includes a mandatory or optional research internship (which is not uncommon), applying for such an internship at the professor's department is (in my experience) one of the best ways to get in touch with them. The same goes for a Master's Thesis, though that will of course happen later.

If such an internship is not a standard thing at your university, you can always take initiative and ask someone at the department about your options to do research in the group. I would suggest to do this once you are there, so that meetings in person are an option. Professors are known to be busy, so it might be a good idea to contact one of the doctoral students/teaching assistants for this. If it is someone that you already know from a course, even better.

In summary, wait until you are there, and try to include specific requests in your email to increase your chances of success.

  • Thank you for your answer. I am indeed now in Germany studying, and I will consider your analysis above. – Constantine Black Nov 3 at 17:50

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