I had an amazing research professor I conducted research under for my last two semesters of undergrad. I graduated in December and am currently waiting to hear back from graduate programs. This professor wrote me a letter of recommendation and I sent him a thank you email. However, I wanted to send him a hand written thank you letter for the letter of recommendation, all I learned while researching under him, and to see how several projects are going since I've graduated and left his lab.

Is it too late or "awkward" to send him a handwritten thank you note now that it's been about one and a half months since I've last contacted him?

  • In my opinion, an email would be better since it's kind-of the norm nowadays. I personally like brief, to-the-point, not-so-formal emails than long and boring ones. Sometimes it depends on whom it is desalinated. But again, it's just an opinion :)
    – yafrani
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 21:50
  • 1
    A well-written thank-you note is always appropriate. A hand-written note shows class. Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 19:06

3 Answers 3


Is it too late or "awkward" to send him a handwritten thank you note now that it's been about two months since I've last contacted him?


Two months is not so long in the academic sense at all. Whether or not it's handwritten shouldn't matter as much, either. Typing it up is perfectly acceptable, readable, and much easier to correct if you make an error.

  • Glad to hear! I plan to deliver it later this week, thank you so much!
    – Smoore
    Commented Feb 9, 2015 at 21:27
  • Handwritten notes are more personal, and my guess is most people appreciate them more (I do, provided they're legible).
    – Kimball
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 8:59

The timing would be even better if you wrote him upon getting accepted into a graduate program - then you would also be informing him on the news. Of course, @espertus' suggestion are quite relevant (and no less relevant when you get accepted somewhere).


In addition to Compass' excellent response, I'll suggest a few other things you can do:

  • Make a small donation to the college in honor of the professor. He will be notified.
  • Cc the letter about how helpful he was to his department head and/or Provost.

FWIW, I'm a professor and save all such letters and emails.

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