There are many helpful posts explaining how a hopeful graduate student should contact a potential supervisor (example 1, example 2). However, I cannot find any advice about how an undergraduate should contact a supervisor regarding undergraduate research experience. As an undergraduate, I do not know what to include in my email because I do not have any distinct experience (or much knowledge) in the professor's field.
For hopeful graduate students, the common advice seems to be:
- introduce yourself/your previous work
- explain why you are interested in his/her work, papers, etc.
- emphasize what differentiates you from other candidates, besides grades/scores
The reason I am interested in this particular professor is just because their research sounds fascinating and exciting. I am taking a class related to their field and I enjoy it. I have looked at some of their publications but I find it difficult to understand the details; I do not have the background knowledge. I am just interested in working in their lab so that I can learn more about the field.
For context, I do not go to the university where they are a faculty member. I have undergrad research experience at my own university. I also have research experience at this professor's university (but for a different faculty member in the same department). I have good grades, but no publications.
Since I have a general interest in her research, but not much background knowledge or experience, what details should I include in my email?