Making a good impression via email is important. Here are a few ideas to help you craft emails to your instructor.

Instructor Emails

Use descriptive subject lines

  • Include your course and section number.
  • Include a specific topic that matches the content of the message.

Address your instructor

  • In general, it is best to be more formal than casual. 
  • Include a greeting like “Hello,” or “Dear”. Opening with “Dear Dr. Knowles” is more professional than opening with “Hi”.
  • If they hold a PhD, refer to them as Doctor/Dr. (ex, Dr. Knowles).
  • If you are unsure an instructor has a PhD, 'Professor Yang' is an acceptable option to use.

Write your message

  • Use complete words and sentences throughout your message. 
  • Be as specific as possible. For example: In your 9/12 lecture you covered (topic). I want to better understand the topic and would like to review that part
  •  of the lecture.
  • Be polite and concise; only include needed information.
  • If you have multiple questions, group them in a bulleted list.
  • Using ‘I’ statements helps promote a productive, problem-solving approach. Example: "I would like some help on following the lectures on (topic). Do you have any suggestions on how I can improve reviewing the material?" rather than "You talk too fast, or you didn’t ...".

Identify yourself

  • Sign your name and provide your internet ID for the instructor’s ease. 
  • If you are not emailing your instructor about a course, remind them of how they know you. For example, “I took WRIT 1001W with you last Spring…”.

 Proofread your email

  • Make sure your email is free of spelling errors, is clear and concise, and that it has all the key information.
  • It is best to avoid slang, emojis, and abbreviations.
  • If you are writing when upset about something, it might be best to wait another day before sending the message. Then, reread the message for clarity and tone.