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The following is the last email I received from a Professor in June 2019, and recently (in Dec 2019) I submitted my Ph.D. application to this University.

"Thanks for writing and for the great ideas -- I see a lot of energy and promise in your thoughts, and I encourage you to try to pursue some of these questions -- most, in fact, are exciting and open research areas. I also encourage you to apply for PhD at YYY University.

Best wishes, Professor X"

Now that I have submitted my application, I want to send a simple email to this Professor reminding her about my interest to join her group and the discussion we had 4 months back (through emails).

Can anyone suggest a draft of the email that I can send to this Professor?

  • Does Professor X work in YYY University? – Federico Poloni Dec 11 '19 at 9:52
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    I read this: "sounds like a nice direction which people at YYY may have interest to work on [which means, I don't]" – Captain Emacs Dec 11 '19 at 12:53
  • Yes, the Professor X works at YYY University. – MSS_PhD Dec 12 '19 at 9:36
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Can anyone suggest a draft of the email that I can send to this Professor?

Reply to the Professor's original email, so that your response appears in the same thread; perhaps include the original snippet, i.e.,

Thanks for writing and for the great ideas -- I see a lot of energy and promise in your thoughts, and I encourage you to try to pursue some of these questions -- most, in fact, are exciting and open research areas. I also encourage you to apply for PhD at YYY University.

and write something along the lines of:

Further to your positive encouragement, I have submitted my PhD application to YYY University.

Thereafter, it depends on your agenda. E.g., you might want to reopen discussion of joining her group, for which you could use:

Given the seeming alignment between our research interests, I would like to join your group. Can we discuss that possibility, perhaps by telephone?

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    This is more of an English than academic issue, but "Further to..." and "seeming alignment" sound a bit odd to my ears. Is this dialectal, or just highly formal? Also, I think almost everyone would use videochat these days, not telephone. – artificial_moonlet Dec 11 '19 at 10:47
  • I believe further to is standard. seeming alignment is a deliberate weakening. The professor is rather vague. There's certainly encouragement, that's clear. But, there's no direct offer to supervise. Presumably, they choose their words carefully. Using the deliberate weakening acknowledges that, whilst finding common ground to build a relationship upon – user2768 Dec 11 '19 at 11:40
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If Professor X doesn't work at YYY university, this may be a soft dismissal. Maybe X doesn't have room for another PhD, or isn't entirely sold on you personally as a candidate. Or maybe YYY is actually more specialized in your ideas. Basically, it's hard to know what exactly is going on.

Maybe write something like:

"I'm happy that you like my ideas, I'm currently looking at several directions in which to take them. Thank you for bringing YYY to my attention, I'm looking at them now as well.

I'd like your advice on a good approach to take, could we have a chat over coffee sometime?"

That doesn't commit Professor X to too much, so a better chance they're willing to take you up. And you can try to get some clarity.

If it seems like joining X's group isn't in the cards, but X actually approves of you, then maybe you can get a recommendation from X to someone at YYY, or more specific advice on how to approach YYY yourself.

  • Professor X works at YYY University, in that case, how should I approach? – MSS_PhD Dec 12 '19 at 9:40
  • Ah, I missed that. In that case I think the advice of @user2768 is good. I think exact phrasing is less important than being polite, happy, and a clear message: you followed X's advice and if your application is accepted, you'd want to join X's research group. – ObscureOwl Dec 12 '19 at 10:19

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