I have a great relationship with one of my professors(at least I think), and a few weeks ago we discussed the possibility of doing a research project together this summer. However, he never replies to my emails again after the semester ends(2 weeks already, I sent one email and a follow-up, and even a phone message), and I saw him attend an academic panel virtually yesterday. I am abroad, so I'm unable to go to his office. I have his phone number(from the syllabus). Should I call him?

  • 4
    Normally, "should I" questions are off-topic. However, two weeks out of semester is not much, he may be on vacation, on conference or retreat. Do not lead him to feel pestered. You let him know you are interested, now let it sink in. If he is interested, he will contact you back, else try to contact him early next semester. Jun 2, 2021 at 20:39
  • but we actually talked about this before and he agreed to do the project during the summer break. but then he just doesn't reply anymore, which is confusing
    – Ban
    Jun 2, 2021 at 20:49
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    @CaptainEmacs, Early next semester is September. Too late for a summer project. But I agree, that two weeks after the semester ends can involve lots of things.
    – Buffy
    Jun 2, 2021 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


It is probably better avoided to call. If they are busy with things, there is little they can do on a phone call but get annoyed.

If you already have any guidance on the project you could start reading or whatever prep work is needed.

Send another email in a few days and say you need some guidance to continue but that you've started (assuming you have).

There are lots of things that might explain the delay, but ignoring you isn't near the top of the list.

  • He already sent two mails and left a phone message inside 2 weeks. I would not send the next mail in few days anymore. This is getting naggy. I would wait at least 3-4 weeks now. Jun 2, 2021 at 22:38
  • Thanks, bro, for your comment. I will wait for 2+ weeks to send another email and find another supervisor to help me. He is a great candidate for a recommendation also. So sad
    – Ban
    Jun 3, 2021 at 21:30

Given the question was asked last summer, I would assume it is too late to answer this right now. However, I believe situations like this is quite common.

Given professors using cannot have a vacation time outside of summer or winter breaks easily, it is common for them to schedule many events and travels to the start of the summer break. And since OP mentioned he had seen the professor in a panel, the professor was indeed busy on some thing.

And given you seems to have a 3.5 month summer break, I would argue 2 weeks into the break is definitely not a long time yet.

Also, it's common for professors to check their school email and phone much less frequently, so you might also want to try to contact them through their personal emails to remind them, if it is possible.

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