I intend to write to potential supervisors soon and I had a few questions.

I am currently in my second year of Masters of Neuroscience (In France, I'm Indian) and won’t finish until June 2018. I see some positions open that I really want and I don’t want to miss out on them but I also don’t want to write to them too soon.

When is the right time to write to them? What should the first email contain? I guess one should attach a CV but should I also send letters of recommendation?

Any tips on the scholarships and funding and what that requires?

Any other tips?

  • As long you make it professional and not use some template for spamming people, you should be fine. – Prof. Santa Claus Aug 7 '17 at 3:01

Usually, there is no specific timeline for applying for a PhD in Australia, unless you are thinking about particular advertised PhD positions or scholarships which of course have deadlines. After all, because you are an international student, you'd better find a good way to pay your tuition fees unless you are able to finance your project independently.

Approaching a potential supervisor, you will be asked to provide a research proposal and your CV. You can also include your referees' names and contacts in your CV. I suggest you introduce yourself and talk briefly about your academic background. Then you can talk about your proposed project and how the professor is suitable for it. Finally, you invite him/her to consider your attached CV and proposal.

You can use below template for emailing potential supervisors:

Dear Professor XX,

I have graduated (or I will be graduated) from XX with an M.A. degree in XX.

I am interested in carrying out a project, title of your project,

Based on your research focus on XXX, I am keen to join your research team as a Ph.D. student.

Please find attached proposal concerning the proposed project and my CV for your perusal.

I look forward to your reply,

With Kind regards,


  • Be sure to say why you are interested in the particular project. Also, Indian nationals who want to study in Australia would be wise to allow 6 months for visa processing. In my field, if you have a publication you are likely to get a scholarship with a stipend. – Anonymous Physicist Aug 6 '17 at 23:21
  • Universities have different criteria to assess scholarship applications, but to the best of my knowledge, if you have a one peer-review publication and a conference presentation, then you have a good chance of securing a scholarship (albeit in my field, psychology). Thus, try your best to write a good journal or conference article. Personally, I have been taken more seriously when I attached a proposal in the first contacts. – NormalDistribution Aug 7 '17 at 17:10