How to Email Your Professor

Can’t make office hours and need to schedule a meeting? Want clarification on a deadline, assignment, grade or reading requirement? Looking to respond to an email sent to you?

You’ll likely have to send an email to a professor at some point. It can be hard to know where to start. We get that, and we’re here to help.

Learning how to craft professional emails not only will help you connect with faculty, it’s a skill you can take with you after you graduate.

Simply put, your email should be:

Polite

It’s best to use a more formal greeting like “Dear Professor,” along with their last name spelled correctly. Sign off with something like “Thank you,” “Best” or “Sincerely.”

Clear

Use your NIU email address and include your purpose, such as “Question about lecture,” in the subject line. Professors have lots of students, so tell them your name and the class you’re attending. And remember to capitalize, punctuate and check your spelling. Stick to a formal tone and avoid emojis or informal abbreviations like FYI or ASAP.

Concise

Get straight to the point. If you can’t explain why you’re emailing in a sentence or two, consider making an appointment to meet in person. No demands or complaints either. A concern about a grade or course policy is best handled in person.

For more information, explore our Emailing Your Professor guide.

Have Questions?

Take a look at these frequently asked questions about physical and mental wellness.

Back to top