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This question is an extension of my previous question:How many days should I wait for e-mail of Prospective Supervisor in this condition

I e-mailed a prof in France on Jan 10 asking if he is interested in discussing PhD research opportunities( I am interested in his research work and want to do PhD under his supervision) and he replied me on Jan 24 to send him my master's thesis and CV, which I sent him the same day. He also wrote in the same e-mail :Thank you for writing and please apologize the long delay, which was not related to your CV or skill.

He didn't replied till Feb 7 and as user Buffy suggested in this question: How many days should I wait for e-mail of Prospective Supervisor in this condition , after 2 weeks I wrote following short mail to him:

Dear Dr. X,

I just wanted to ask if you have any additional guidance based on my CV and Master’s Thesis sent to you and what further steps it is appropriate for me to take now.

Y

2 weeks are about to pass and I still got no reply.

What steps I should take now as I really want to work with this Prof. and he has not replied to my previous e-mail till now?

I think I should send him a remainder e-mail but how should I frame it.

Thanks!

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  • Your meaning is unclear. Did he reply on Feb 7 or not at all?
    – Buffy
    Feb 17 at 18:28
  • @Buffy he didn't replied on Feb 7.On jan 24 he asked me to send him my master's thesis and CV and on Feb7, I wrote him the short e-mail.
    – user135061
    Feb 17 at 19:50
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    I understand your pain. But if the Prof. is interested they will come back to you. Looks unlikely. Do not pester. Look for other Profs.
    – kosmos
    Feb 21 at 9:46
  • Please update academia.stackexchange.com/questions/182494/…
    – user153729
    Feb 22 at 5:45

4 Answers 4

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+50

If things are not moving, you should try to move them a bit.

However, you should be proactive, not just "pestering" with reminders, follow-up mails and other request for attention/time.

There are two possibilities:

  • the professor did not yet read your CV / thesis;
  • the professor read your CV / thesis;

Either way, the professor did not yet make a choice, although if they read your CV/thesis, it is likely there is no interest in you as a future PhD student (otherwise you would have been contacted, no professor leaves interesting profiles. i.e. cheap and smart workforce, falling through). Additionally, there is no explicit funding available for the PhD poistion that you would like to have, so for the professor there are two tasks:

  • evaluate your profile;
  • evaluate fundings for the PhD position that would be created (and filled by you);

Therefore you can still improve your situation, convincing them you are a motivated and competent PhD candidate: try to get your own funding.

Have a look at the answers given here. If you find a relevant funding source XYZ for you, you can write the professor that you are interested in applying for XYZ grant. This way you will force the hand, because the professor will either be supportive (which means your profile was interesting) or not.

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    please note: although professors are interested in smart and competent candidates, they are still human and their evaluation of "smartness" of a certain person is absolutely subjective and therefore should not be taken at a personal level, but simply in the framework of the application itself.
    – user149718
    Feb 24 at 13:45
  • @tensors_are_4_engineers yes, thanks, I did not want to imply that professor have the holy power of judging people.
    – EarlGrey
    Feb 24 at 13:56
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If they haven't replied at all then they are probably not interested. You can follow up or not, but don't expect anything from them.

Your recent follow up with them seems about right, asking for guidance and what further steps you might take. The tone of that is about right.

However, their lack of response is an indication that they might not be very helpful even if they did accept you as a student. Look for other options.

There are a lot of possible reasons for a delay. Many of them are valid. But if the professor isn't sick or away from the office, then a reply within two weeks should be expected.

The person can, of course, be very busy, but they can also just not have a real need or desire to take on another student at the moment. Busy professors may not be the most helpful in advising you.

And you need to be realistic about their desire to work with you. For many reasons they might not be all that excited. Perhaps they don't see a match of interests as you do.

There is no reason why you can't keep following up, and perhaps you can get something positive to happen, but I strongly suggest that you follow up on all viable alternatives. It won't happen just because you want it to happen.

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  • I have made some edits to make the question more clear. Kindly have a look.
    – user135061
    Feb 18 at 6:28
  • They replied to my 1st e-mail where they asked for my master's thesis and CV.
    – user135061
    Feb 19 at 15:10
  • "Moreover, it is an indication that they might not be very helpful even if they did accept you as a student", I think it is too early to say this.
    – user135061
    Feb 19 at 15:11
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    Perhaps, but a bit of a warning sign.
    – Buffy
    Feb 19 at 15:14
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It is possible that the professor is very busy. In that case, all you can do is to patiently wait.

It is also possible that the professor lost interest in you after they read your CV and thesis. In that case, sending another e-mail is probably useless.

There is another possibility that you probably didn't think of. What if the professor is infected with Omicron Covid-19 virus? They are probably rest at home until recovered. In that case, don't bother them. Patiently wait until they are okay.

The bottom line, don't send too many e-mails. Just wait.

P.S. This answer is based on the assumption that you "really want to work with this prof".

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As a master's student myself, I have faced this issue as well. Do not worry as it seems to happen quite often that it appears.

The professors are busy with many tasks and have limited time. It also can mean that Professor might be looking for a different experience than you currently have. I am sorry sometimes it happens.

The case with most of the people I know including my seniors who did their Master Thesis faced this issue. One of the tips my senior mentioned is that if it is really important then in the subject it can be mentioned Urgent. Then type the issues in the mail clearly and with a good structure for ex: in points. This worked for me.

Second, most people I know mail the professor each day/alternative day. I know it sounds bad, I would not do it myself if it was not absolutely necessary.

If it was me, I would frame it this way :

Dear XXX,

I hope you are doing well.

I was hoping to hear from you regarding so and so.
*Add your questions *

I would really appreciate it if we can arrange a meeting and discuss this further in person.

Make sure they can still access your documents and emails which you have sent before in the same thread so that it would be convenient for them to have a look.

One more tip: Make sure to ask for a one-to-one meeting next time in an email. It provides a better understanding. It can be just 15 min call.

I must say, start looking for another Professor. Do not put all hopes in this one person. They might not be so much into the same field as you would like but you can meet somewhere in the middle.

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