A few weeks ago, I finished my undergraduate research project. I had 2 supervisors for the project: One supervisor signed off on everything I did and gave me the opportunity to work on the project. He was my official supervisor. The second supervisor oversaw all of my work, assigned tasks, and graded my work. I would like to thank both of them since this was an incredible opportunity, especially when applying to graduate school. I also plan to keep in contact and use them both as references in the future. How should I go about thanking them and what should I say?

  • 2
    Your supervisors may show these thank-you notes to hiring or promotion committees. Ask yourself what you would want those committees to know. Apr 28, 2017 at 5:38

2 Answers 2


You have the options already mentioned: sending an email or visiting them in person to say thank you.

However (like me), you might be a little unsure of what to say when speaking face to face. In this case, a handwritten note or card would be a nice touch, as it's more personal and permanent than an email.

You might want to ask for a reference at a later date, nearer to when you submit your applications. As Prof. Santa Claus says, if the project went as well as you describe, I see no reason why they would refuse.

  • 1
    while no student has ever written to me a few years after their initial gracious thank yous before going off to jobs and grad school - it would feel pretty amazing to get an additional followup note on the order of year or two or more later if there happened to be any lasting 'advice' or training that they felt was still useful later!
    – Carol
    Apr 30, 2017 at 15:43

A heartfelt email would suffice or simply thank them in person. Everyone likes to know they have done a good job. You only need to validate that.

I wouldn't go in with the objective of securing a reference letter. Otherwise, you would sound insincere. If you have done good work and had the right attitude whilst working with them, they would be more than willing to write one.

  • Thank you for the reply. Would May 1st be too late to email them with a thank you (one month after the project finished)? I am unable to use my email over the next several days due to the server being closed.
    – aspire94
    Apr 27, 2017 at 20:55
  • 5
    @aspire94 It's never too late to say thank you. Apr 27, 2017 at 21:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .