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I recently finished my Masters in Urban Planning in Belgium (Bachelor in Architecture) and I am looking into continuing for a PhD in the same university with the same professor who supervised my Masters thesis. I am, however, a bit lost on how formal or informal the email should be. He recently sent me positive comments about my thesis paper and I feel he would be a good supervisor for extending my research with the Phd. Can anyone offer some advise on how I the email structure should be?

Thank you!

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    why an email? Why not a informal meeting to fell the waters? – Fábio Dias Sep 11 '16 at 12:55
  • First ask him if he has the same feelings for your PhD. You might be misunderstanding his comments as a gesture for PhD. Ask him if he is willing to have you as PhD students, then ask him if you should email him or apply on proper channel. – Shahensha Khan Sep 11 '16 at 16:30
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    I'm with @FábioDias. Just walk to their office and say "hi, masters was fun. can we do for a phd now?". If walking there is not possible, frame your email as this. – Gimelist Sep 12 '16 at 0:26
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I've recently been in the position where my MSc thesis supervisor informed me about a possible PhD topic and suggested to apply. From this experience I would say that having an open discussion is best - of course depending on your relationship with the supervisor. You should present your case for wanting to pursue further study (this also helps to decide for yourself) possibly first by e-mail, however nothing beats a discussion in person. Academics are generally quite busy, so writing a long, serious e-mail is not the best approach. Adding a familiar face to your conversation will work better!

First bases: Are you aware of PhD opportunities at the university/with your supervisor? Can you address a specific project of his/of the department that you are interested in?

The great deciders: Ultimately, a PhD is dependent on available funding. If your potential supervisor or you can secure funding for the proposed project (or best case - funding is already available), then you can apply for the position without a doubt. Of course, when a position has been funded usually the department will advertise to the world at large at which point other candidates will also be considered.

In any case - good luck!

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    If I'm honest, if you are not comfortable asking your ms advisor regarding a phd position, shouldn't you consider a different advisor? Because this is one of the most obvious, expected, conversations ever :) – Fábio Dias Sep 12 '16 at 19:55

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