I was just about to send my first PhD application to University XXX. I am currently finishing my master's thesis at University XXX. Would it be incorrect to use my university address to apply for PhD positions?. Could it be taken as unrightful use of the "university name"?.

  • I certainly had no problem when I was in exactly the same situation. – jakebeal Apr 2 '15 at 13:57
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    That's something that only your university can answer for sure, though I can say that it would seem like an absurdly draconian policy if you couldn't. Just do it, and if someone kicks up a fuss then you probably don't want to work at that university! As an aside, you should check up on when your current address will expire after you finish your Master's. It will be a nuisance if the university deletes your email account when you are halfway through the application process. A sensible personal email, i.e. firstname.lastname@provider.com is absolutely fine to use instead. – Moriarty Apr 2 '15 at 13:58
  • Using your university email is appropriate in this case, since it is a relatively more formal academic address which aligns well with your application for further academic study. It also identifies you to the university, making you less of a 'wildcard.' Lots of other applicants will be applying using their home university email addresses, so you are only being true to form. Besides, not only is it totally OK to use your academic email in this case, but I would encourage you to use any and all formal and informal relationships and affiliations at this school that may strengthen your applic-n. – A.S Apr 2 '15 at 19:53
  • Thank you all for your answers, I sent the application using my uni mail. It is done. – Keine Apr 2 '15 at 19:55
up vote 17 down vote accepted

I don't see any possible problem with using your current university email address in your application.

The university issued you this address with the expectation that you would use it to communicate with people inside and outside the university. I can't imagine any way this would be considered "not rightful".

Do your terms of use for the university address specify any restrictions on using the address for such purposes?

If they do not restrict you in that way, just make sure the address remains in existence for long enough once you have finished your master's thesis - some universities automatically and irrevocably delete their students' accounts including inbox content sooner than expected (e.g. on the day of giving the final presentation ...).

Note that some professors explicitly refuse to receive any e-mails not sent from university addresses (because they expect common, or at least free e-mail providers to sell out address to spammers sooner or later). Universities are probably, to some limited extent, aware of this habit and thus should usually allow their students to contact such professors with their university addresses, including for PhD applications. **

In all, I do not see any reason why this should be problematic with respect to the "university name". If you are afraid that a bad* application of yours might shed a bad light on your university, using the university address should not be any more problematic than writing the name of your university onto the front page of a bad* master thesis, which can then be found world-wide on Google Scholar.

*hypothetical, not claiming this badness applies to you

**Based on a discussion with Bill Barth, I figured that this only works to some extent as in my place, most student issues are handled by other people in the department beside the professor, so there is hardly ever much of a reason for students who do not have a university address (and even for those who do) to contact a professor by e-mail.

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    "[S]ome professors explicitly refuse to receive any e-mails not sent from university addresses." They must not get much work done with people outside of academia. That's a very closed attitude. It's maybe the craziest thing I've heard all week. – Bill Barth Apr 2 '15 at 14:15
  • @BillBarth: I suppose addresses issued by companies or otherwise reputable organizations would count as well. The point is, they won't accept e-mails from providers where "everyone can set up an address". – O. R. Mapper Apr 2 '15 at 14:16
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    They must lose out on communications with lots of their students who would like to have an address that lasts longer than their stay at University. I don't think it would be allowed for a professor at my university to drop email from students that came from any outside address. – Bill Barth Apr 2 '15 at 14:19
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    I have had plenty of email contact with professors about issues or questions related to classes. Is that not common at your university? I also had lots of email communication with my PhD supervisor. All of this was between 12 and 20 years ago for me. Plus I have had frequent email contact with students in the handful of courses I have taught since grad school (I have primarily a research job). It seems like something normal at my university. – Bill Barth Apr 2 '15 at 16:01
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    I know of several institutions which require all students conduct university correspondence using their university email account. It is against policy for staff to deal with any matter of student business using another email address. This ensures someone can't set up an external email and make enquiries about someone else's progress or status. This does help as a student though, as it means email is acceptable even to request graduation from a course etc, which likely wouldn't be the case otherwise. – gdp Apr 2 '15 at 16:19

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