A few months back I had an email conversation with a professor of a German university regarding a PhD position. She told me about the details for PhD admission procedure and I replied that I shall apply when the application window opens. Before the opening of the application window, I received a PhD offer from another university in the same field of study in another country in Europe. Should I let the her know that I am not applying for the previous position? Almost 3 months have passed since our conversation. I am afraid whether this will lead to any bad consequence.

1 Answer 1


Applying to a PhD program is not a commitment to take the position if offered. Not applying to a PhD program and merely showing interest is even less of a commitment.

I don't think there would be any harm in contacting someone via very brief email in this circumstance and saying something like "Thank you for talking to me about graduate admissions at (university). Since our conversation, I've accepted a PhD position at (other university), so I won't be applying to (university). Thanks again!" I'm in the US, though, and don't know what sort of formality a German professor might expect.

I also think there's very little harm in saying nothing. Nothing about your conversation established any commitment or expectation that you would join this professor's group, and it's unlikely they're waiting impatiently for your application to arrive.

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