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I've contacted a potential PhD supervisor last month and gave him my PhD proposal. about a week after that I've got a response from the professor, acknowledging the receipt of my proposal and saying that he will respond as quickly as possible. I haven't received any other response since last month and I'm getting kind of anxious.

  1. Should I write him an email again or let him contact me first with a reply?

  2. How long does this process of proposal evaluation take?

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    I sent my very first PhD application in the month of September, and I got the rejection email on April. I had totally forgotten about them by then. – Davidmh Sep 15 '14 at 21:10
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    "How long does this process of proposal evaluation take?" - Why don't you ask him? – Superbest Sep 16 '14 at 3:24
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Many academics are flooded with email from students (undergraduate and graduate), administrators, coworkers, colleagues, editors, etc. What you've asked him to do for you takes more than two minutes and he may not have available time to do it, or the energy to set aside the available time in the near future. There are enough small things to deal with that they can can easily bury the larger things.

If one method of communication is not effective you can, after a suitable delay, try another. A phone call or visit to office hours might bump your earlier email to the top of his mind. He may already have some preliminary feedback, or he may apologetically say that he still hasn't gotten to it, but he does plan to do it soon. Either way this can move the process towards resolution.

On the other hand, you're considering this person for one of the most important roles of your academic career. If he does not show enthusiasm about working with you, you may want to consider other options.

  • Thank you for answering my question. He seemed interested in his first email. But i havent recieved any other emails from him since then. Its been 5 weeks now, How much longer should I wait before contacting him again? – Ali Sep 22 '14 at 21:06
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    @Ali: 5 weeks is long enough to wait. Either send another email, or try to find him in office hours. – Matthew Leingang Sep 23 '14 at 12:39
  • I can't go to his office because I don't live near the university. I can send him another email though. do you think this short email is appropriate? (in the next comments) – Ali Sep 26 '14 at 9:56
  • Dear Professor XXXX Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my emails. As you may know preparing for PhD studies requires some planning, be it academic or financial matters. and occasionally few things need to be planned far ahead. – Ali Sep 26 '14 at 9:57
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    @ali: I would skip the first paragraph after Thank you... If you have a deadline, say you have a deadline and when. Other than that it is fine. – Matthew Leingang Sep 26 '14 at 13:29
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Don't run, Walk!

May be your as quick as possible is one month and his as quick as possible is two months or more (who knows?).

Professors have their own personal/academic/career responsibilities and usually suffer from lack of time problem. Let him review your proposal and he will respond you when he is done.

In my opinion one month is not that much that you are becoming anxious, but it maybe a good idea if you don't receive any email from him in the following weeks, send him an email and remind your proposal politely. Also, if you are going very near to the university deadlines and it is affecting your application, it may worth it to include those deadlines in your reminder too.

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