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I have applied for a PhD program in USA. I have mentioned a professor's name in the SOP. Will the professor only get the application to review or the other professors will also be able to see my application? Will the other professors mind as I did not mention their name?

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  • This depends on the university, the department, and whatever rules they have for the application process. I don't understand who are the "other" professors who aren't mentioned.
    – Buffy
    Sep 16 '20 at 15:09
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    Does this answer your question? Can I mention professors' names in the statement of purpose?
    – GoodDeeds
    Sep 16 '20 at 15:14
  • @GoodDeeds: Thank you. It has some useful information.
    – SRC
    Sep 16 '20 at 16:32
  • @Buffy: The 'other' professors mean the professors who is working in the department but I did not mention their name.
    – SRC
    Sep 16 '20 at 16:34
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Usually PhD admissions in the US are by a committee of several professors. Everyone on the committee will see your application (except that applications are often triaged or only read in full by certain members); the professor you mentioned may or may not be on the committee.

If your application suggests you are interested in working with a particular professor, then your odds of admission go up if that person is taking students and wants to advise you - one of the things an admissions committee is looking for is "fit", and "fit" is pretty good in this circumstance.

Your odds of admission go way down if that person is not taking students or does not want to advise you. Again, the admissions committee will be looking for "fit" and this would suggest you would not "fit".

I wouldn't expect other professors to be offended, but it's quite reasonable to not admit someone who will not have a place. Typically I don't think it's a good idea to mention an individual professor unless you have had previous positive interactions with them and are applying to the program specifically to work with that person.

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  • Hi! I contacted with a professor before the submission of the application and he encouraged to apply. That's why I mentioned his name in the SOP. However, he is not responding after sending him 2 emails. I am bit worried about the outcome of the application.
    – SRC
    Sep 16 '20 at 15:46
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    @SRC Encouragement to apply doesn't necessarily mean "yes I'll take you as a student!" It's just...encouragement to apply. Be sure not to badger this person with emails or they may certainly get annoyed with you and be turned away (there are lots and lots of questions here about when it's appropriate to send another email in these circumstances, so I suggest you look through those). Not responding to 2 emails doesn't tell you much. They could be busy or on vacation, or they may not see a purpose in responding.
    – Bryan Krause
    Sep 16 '20 at 15:49
  • Also, I of course don't know what program it is that you've applied to, but the typical admissions period for US PhDs is with applications due somewhere around December, feedback which may include invitations for interviews late in December or around January, and admissions decisions a month or two later (Covid might interfere with it all this year of course). September is really really early and it's unlikely anyone has even looked at your application if you've submitted it already. The committee will wait until after the application deadline so they look at them all at the same time.
    – Bryan Krause
    Sep 16 '20 at 15:52
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    Thank you for enlighten me with some important information. The program has rolling admission, I applied in 1st week of August for Spring 2021. I do not know when I will get a response from them.
    – SRC
    Sep 16 '20 at 16:13
  • +1 @BryanKrause, September is way too early, and you can possibly strengthen your profile (more research work/publications which could lead to stronger recommendations as well) and update your after a few months.
    – Jihadi
    Sep 17 '20 at 5:32

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