I wrote to 6 professors whose research aligns with my interests (all in Europe) on December 21 for disussing PhD opportunities and attached my CV along with the mail. One of the professors replied after 3 hours that he doesn't have an opening. The rest have yet to reply. I came to know that it is also holiday season in Europe. I am from Asia.

How long should I wait before sending a reminder E-mail given that it is holidays there?

In general, how much time it takes a professor to reply to an e-mail of a potential PhD candidate?

  • In some parts of Germany, January, 6th is a holiday, too. There's a chance they won't be back in office before Monday, 10th. Dec 24, 2021 at 11:54
  • @BernhardDöbler So, do professors don't reply when they are not in office ? Do they never check mail in 15 -20 days of holidays ?
    – user135061
    Dec 24, 2021 at 12:21
  • 4
    Avenger, they'll check their email. But there's absolutely no reason they'd deem your email urgent enough to reply to before returning to the office.
    – Oxonon
    Dec 24, 2021 at 12:27

3 Answers 3


This close to the holidays, your email may get overlooked. Definitely follow up in the new year, as I suspect many will not respond before then. Outside of holidays, professors are generally very busy and need/welcome email reminders. If you really want to work with them, follow up a few times. However, six professors is a lot, so make sure your messages are tailored to them and their interests and not boiler plate -- otherwise they will be much less likely to respond.


You can go search for their university calendar to get a better idea when it's a good time to prompt. The universities I have ever been a student / worked for all put their calendars online.

If the calendar cannot be found, maybe prompt them on the 10th? Meanwhile you can spend your time bugging those folks in countries that don't do Christmas, but still make sure you avoid Christmas Day and New Year Eve / New Year.

  • 1
    are there any countries in Europe that don't celebrate Christmas? I emailed to prof's in France, Denmark, Switzerland.
    – user135061
    Jan 8, 2022 at 13:08

At the holiday season, wait many days. Send a follow up after the first of the year, perhaps. A mail sent at the start of the holiday season might actually get "lost" if they get a lot of mail.

Note that a very short reply ("Nope, sorry") is likely to come quickly, but one requiring thought will take longer, especially with end of term running in to holidays. In lab situations, a professor might even need to consult with some folks about current needs and openings. That takes time.

Unless there is a serious deadline, give it some time and pursue those options where you have some information.

  • I wrote to a potential supervisor on 9 Jan, Should I rewrite to him today? or wait for how many days?
    – user135061
    Jan 16, 2022 at 16:16

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