I decided to pursue a PhD degree after a few years in industry, so I contacted a professor from the university where I had received my Diploma a few years back. We had some conversations, she was rather positive as I had good grades and I used to attend her lectures. I could not apply officially yet, since the PhD applications start during summer. As coronavirus came, we all stopped going to the lab.

I emailed the professor about 10 days ago about how to proceed. However, I did not get any answer. Is it possible that she changed her mind about having me work in the team as a PhD candidate, since we had no communication for around 1 month?

  • Why is this your only option to re-enter academia? Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 14:45
  • Are you still planning to study in Greece?
    – Buffy
    Commented Jun 3, 2020 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


This is an unprecedented time in academia, and your best course of action is probably to just wait awhile for your professor to catch up on his emails.

As a professor myself, I have several emails left over from the just-ended spring term that I need to respond to. My college announced that there will be cuts to staff, which haven't been finalized yet, so it's possible I won't even be employed here next term. My kids' school and daycare are closed, so on top of childcare I might have a couple of hours each day to do work-related things. And I don't run skype anymore since discovering other, better options, so if anyone in my old skype contact list is contacting me, I wouldn't know about it.

In other words, if your professor's work-life situation is anything like mine (and many, many of my colleagues at other institutions, judging by their social media posts), he just hasn't gotten around to your email yet. It doesn't have any bearing whatsoever on his thoughts about your graduate application. You've got until July for applications, so give him another week and then try emailing him again with a polite "just in case you missed this" nudge--that usually does the trick.


This has to be a guess since I don't know the person, but I suspect that the prof is just busy with things and sees this as low priority since applications don't start until July. It may be that they have decided not to work with you, but I doubt that they would ignore your emails in that case. Much more likely that you would get a response.

Ten days isn't very long, actually, but it is long enough that a follow up would be OK. "I am very interested in continuing to work with you, .... trying to plan my next moves ... any possibility ..."

It is easy to ignore cold applications, but that isn't the case here.

  • @mar93: You could try calling his office number (which you should be able to get from the university website). Talking one to one can sometimes be more effective than via text. One advantage of calling his office is that you have a reasonable implicit excuse to call multiple times a week (maybe he was not in the first few times).
    – user21820
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 4:56
  • "Because pandemic" my university office number is forwarded to an inexpensive VoIP line I had installed at home for that purpose. I suspect I'm not alone. Before that arrangement, I had my university voice mail set up to send email, so, although I couldn't answer the phone, I got messages quickly.
    – Bob Brown
    Commented Jan 24, 2021 at 17:42
  • @user21820 You could try, but I don't know any professors who monitor their phone (as everyone is used to answering emails on their own schedule). Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 16:15
  • @AzorAhai: Office number usually rings!
    – user21820
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 16:21

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