I am a master degree student. I am keen to join a PhD program under a mathematician in a university in France or Luxembourg. I found that in the webpage it is written that I should send an email with my research interests to the faculty. I have some questions regarding those. My questions are as follows:

  1. Do I need to read research papers of the faculty before sending the email and in the email should I include that I have read his/her paper (or some parts of it)?
  2. How should I write the email?

2 Answers 2


You should look at some of the professor's recent papers so that you can get a sense of what they're currently working on, and whether it is of interest to you. However, I do not think it is necessary to refer to specific papers when you first email the professor. Far too often when people do this, they end up giving a negative impression: it rapidly becomes clear that they haven't actually read the paper in detail, or have misunderstood its content.

Keep it brief: a sentence or two on who you are (what/where you've studied), a sentence or two on what you're asking for (Their suggestions for a project? Funding? Are you hoping to start immediately, or at some point in the future?), and a sentence or two on the general research area(s) that interest you. If you have already written a masters thesis or similar, put it online somewhere and include a link.

  • 1
    Yes, a short initial email is much more likely to be responded to than a long one. Just ask what additional information the professor would like near the end of it. You can't settle anything with one mail in any case.
    – Buffy
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 21:19

It is essential that

  • Your email shows you know the professor's name
  • Your email shows you know the professor's area of research

because professors get a lot of emails asking for supervision that don't do those two things.

Include your CV. Make sure you explain how your record is related to your research interests.

Otherwise follow Avid's advice.

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