I have to send my doctoral dissertation to the members of my committee and I wonder how I should write the email. It is not a question of inviting them to be on the committee (they have already agreed with my advisor), but on how to tactfully send them the dissertation.

Besides, is there anything else I should send besides the dissertation and my CV?

  • 35
    You guys are overthinking these things.
    – xLeitix
    Aug 7, 2015 at 14:01
  • 2
    Is this seriously a question about how to write an email to a few people? Lordy... Aug 7, 2015 at 21:03

4 Answers 4


If you are obliged to send them the two documents, simply do so. Keep the cover letter as simple as possible. Just remember to address each of them separately, it looks better.

Dear Prof. Smith,

I'm sending you, as you are a member of my PhD committee, the PDF version of my thesis together with my CV. In case you had any questions, feel free to contact me at any time.

I'm looking forward to meeting you.

Best Regards,


As Bill Barth points out, make sure the people know when the defence is. In most places, university staff sends the official invitation, but if you know the dates, you can include them:

I'm looking forward to meeting you on October 15 at the defence.

  • 4
    What, no "thank you"? Aug 7, 2015 at 21:03
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Well, when sending to the opponents, I would probably add a thankie. When sending to the committee members, I would likely consider it over-polite, but remember I'm in (quite pure) maths.
    – yo'
    Aug 24, 2017 at 22:09

If they've already agreed to be on the committee and all that, you don't need to say anything fancy. "Here is my dissertation, please let me know if you have any questions" will do just fine.

  • 1
    you beat me by 2 minutes, I decided to include a sample letter, too :-)
    – yo'
    Aug 7, 2015 at 12:14

The other answers are good, but it might be better to also include some reminders about the timing. If you are sending them your dissertation today intending to defend and graduate this fall, you should say that. You might suggest that assuming everything is looking good that you'll be getting back to them soon to start looking for a time in December that everyone can get together for your defense.

  • I would suppose that they receive this in the official invitation, which is sent here by the university stuff. I think I should make a remark about this in my answer.
    – yo'
    Aug 7, 2015 at 12:28
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    @yo', My university didn't use an official system to find a date. The student, supervisor, and the committee members agreed on a date around everyone's schedules, registered the date with the university, and then it happened. The committee might have gotten official notice at that point, but the date was set by the parties not the university.
    – Bill Barth
    Aug 7, 2015 at 14:05
  • Ah ok. Well, still, they are aware of the date, so it's fine.
    – yo'
    Aug 7, 2015 at 14:20
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    In my department, in order for a Ph.D. degree to be awarded in a particular semester, all of the committee members must submit their (short) reports to the graduate school office by a certain date, and two of them (the adviser and the "second reader") must submit more extensive reports to the department by an earlier date. If the OP's university or department have such rules, this would be a good opportunity to remind (or inform) the committee members about the deadlines. Aug 8, 2015 at 1:17

I would keep it as short and simple as possible. These folks are going to be doing a lot of work for you (i.e. a lot of reading and reviewing) so the last thing they need at this point is a long flowery email.

You might want to throw in a link to a version of it in the cloud or something though. Giving extra file formats and ways to access the document from various devices would probably be well received.

  • I am not sure throw in a link to a version of it in the cloud is a good idea. What if there is some discrepancy between the e-mail version and the linked version? Which one do you want the commitee members to read?
    – Nobody
    Aug 7, 2015 at 13:46
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    Why would there be a discrepancy? This doesn't seem to make sense... if we assume the author is capable of attaching a file to an email isn't it fair to think that he or she is equally capable of copying the same file to his or her Dropbox or Google Drive, etc? Documents don't randomly mutate when stored in a cloud as opposed to an email...
    – y0gapants
    Aug 7, 2015 at 13:55
  • I like the multiple format idea. Some people like to read a PDF, some people like to read a Word file. Aug 8, 2015 at 3:22

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