There is a particular professor who I would like to supervise a summer research project (summer 2023), which is a necessary component of my MA program, since we share similar research interests. I have also heard from friends who have taken their undergraduate degrees at this school, that they really enjoyed his courses.

While this professor will being supervising MA projects next summer, he is only teaching undergraduate courses and a PhD research seminar this upcoming year, meaning that I will not be able to take a course with him.

I was planning to send him an email during the term with my topic proposal, and ask if we could meet to discuss things further. I was wondering about potential problems with working with an advisor whom you have never taken a course with before and who does not know who you are.

Perhaps I am overthinking things, although I realize the importance of choosing a good advisor.

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    why would that be an issue for you? This professor might not be interested (that would be highly dependent on the individual) but if you meet the technical prerequisites it’s presumably not a barrier. Commented Jul 19, 2022 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


You have some positive information about him, so it is probably worth exploring. But don't try to do things by email if at all possible. A sit down for a half hour or so while you get acquainted and let one another get a feel for strengths and weaknesses would be strongly advised.

Send him the proposal if you like, but propose a meeting where you can discuss all of the options. You can both make decisions after a meet up.

Advisement and course teaching are a bit different, so not necessarily equivalent for your purposes, but getting to know them and how they interact one-on-one would be valuable.

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