Subject Line to email professor for Gradudate school admission MS or MBA

Subject line to email for graduate school admission (MS / MBA ) ? How to ?

In Application Info by KumarUpdated : 32 Comments

how to email admissionsIf you are a student applying to graduate school for MS or MBA, one of the key things you always want to do is contact professor at prospective school and seek their advice for funding or admission. The most important thing for that is the professor you email to reads your email…it all boils down to the correct “Subject Line”  for the email you send.

In our everyday email conversations, we are used to putting standard or catchy subject lines for emails that we send to anyone. Few of them are as below:

  • Hello
  • Hello ! How are you ?
  • Hi , How are you ?
  • Need info
  • Thank you
  • Met you in bus, train

Few years ago, I was exactly the same way as everyone, not sure what to put in the subject line, when I email admissions or professors seeking information. Sometimes I got replies, sometime I did not get replies. I was really mad at the admission/ professors as they did not email me back. Guess what, after I got admission and started MS in US, I got to know that professors typically do not even open email, if they do not find the subject line relevant for them as there is so much of SPAM and all sorts of promotional email they get.  Basically, “NO ONE really opens your email, they ONLY read the Subject line and decide to read or delete the email if they do not recognise it”. If you put in any of the subject lines like above, it is deleted and never read. That’s the problem. In this article, we will give reasons why it is important and what kind of email subject lines should you use when you email admissions for graduate school i.e. MS or MBA.

Why is it important to have a good subject line for emailing Admissions or Professors ?

I started my first Graduate (MS) class and the professor handed out the syllabus. The guidelines on the first page under contact section,

“ Email Subject should at least say the COURSE NUMBER and some relevant info, if not, Emails will be deleted as SPAM”.

I thought to myself “ Oh my God ! none of my emails were read that I wrote to many professors”. Just imagine the situation from a professor perspective, professors teach two to three classes and students they interact with can vary anywhere from 50 – 200, also they are in all the faculty email listings, they get emails from University, personal emails, advertisement emails, etc… The reality is, there are way too many emails for them to open, read and validate. On top of this, there is a virus threat. So, NO ONE really opens the email if they see anything that is not familiar or really meaningful. Please avoid the subject line as I stated in the beginning. It is same case with admissions department. A university strength can vary from 10,000 to 70,000. Imagine how many people would be applying ?  at least 30,000 to 200,000. Admissions do not take time to read every email that does not say any appropriate info about seeking admission. They just delete or put in other list and review later. Overall, the point is, email subject is very critical. In fact, personally I do not read any email if I do not see proper subject line, because I get so many emails…

What should the subject line be for emailing graduate school admissions or Professors?

Because of the importance of the subject line, you have to put the perfect subject information when you email admissions. Your email subject line should contain critical information like

  • What is your status ? Current student or prospective student ?
  • When do you want to apply for admission ?
  • What is your question ?  Can you come up the whole gist of your question in 3 words ?
  • What is the urgency of the information ?
  • What is your topic of interest in academic research ?

I can keep writing few more, but fundamentally these are the key things you have to ask yourself when you put in a subject line.

Sample Subject lines for emailing Graduate School for Admissions :

  • Fall 2019 Prospective Student: Need Admission Status
  • Spring 2019 Student : Seeking Scholarship Information
  • Summer 2019 Graduate Student : I20 Status
  • Prospective student 2019 : Need admission info
  • Prospective student 2019 : Need I20 Info, URGENT !

If you carefully observe all the above, anyone can identify what you need. They look quite simple and crisp don’t they?  I cannot believe I screwed up these things before 🙂

Sample Subject lines to email Professor for Graduate School, funding, etc :

As I mentioned above, professors do NOT read everything. You have to convince Professor with your subject line that they should read the email without deleting it.  Because you do not have a course name or subject name with you, you have to be very cautious. All the guidelines that were told above apply here too.

  • Fall 2019 Prospective Student: Research Info needed
  • Summer 2019  Student: Artificial Intelligence Research Question
  • Spring 2019 Prospective student: Need Admission Information
  • Fall 2020 Student : Need info on Research prospects at UW-Madison
  • Summer 2020 : Research Assistantships Info needed, URGENT !

The key word to mention in subject line is PROSPECTIVE STUDENT. The trick is, no professor would throw away any email if it has prospective student because, you are a potential student to the university and they will read it and forward it right person if they do not know. Think about it, prospective students are the future customers for the School, they do not want to lose customers :). Also, make sure the subject line is crisp and does not exceed over the readable subject line. Usually 50  to 60 characters.

Also, check out the article on Sample Email templates for emailing Professors for Funding, Admissions, etc.

What has been your experience Emailing processors ? What were your subject lines ?


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Comments ( 32 )

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  2. Ibrahim

    Hello dear.
    Mostly I wrote this subject ; Request for supervision of master program; to many professor but still no response.
    Please guide me,for a good subject line ..

    1. administrator

      It can be hard to get responses now as it is end of summer term and start of fall and professors could be very busy…and you may not always get reply…The above article is just guideline, you can use your own creativity.

  3. Syed

    What should one write in the subject line to ask a professor for a PhD position.? I don’t think it has been mentioned here.

    1. administrator

      It does not really matter, what is mentioned above is the guideline. You can add PhD in the subject line like “Fall 2019 Prospective PhD Student: Research Info needed”

    1. administrator

      You will not get acceptance letter by just writing an email with correct subject my friend, it will just get them to read the email and then respond. The above subject line is good enough, read it again.

  4. Priyanka raj

    Hi Admin,

    Thank you for the above topic.

    I had initiated my first mail to the professor and I got the reply stating that he is indeed interested in new students for his research work but didn’t mention anything about admission help.

    I wanted to know how can I now initiate the talk with him, requesting him to influence my admission process .

  5. Mourya

    Bro, I have just sent the mail now. I don’t know whether i may get the reply or not but, this post is quite helpful in fact i didn’t have to google much about the subject matter.

    Thanks a lot.
    keep writing!

  6. Harshavardhan Reddy

    I sent a mail to a prof asking a few questions from her recent journal. and at the end of my mail, I asked her to let me know the possibility of working with her for this summer. After a few days I sent a follow up email.
    Now, I got a mail from her Ph.D student answering all the questions. Now how should I ask her about my internship?

    1. administrator

      You cannot directly ask for internship. You can try to share your research interests and ask about the program, etc. If you have any work you have done in that area, you can send that later and ask for their inputs. In further conversation, you can ask, if there is an opportunity to work as intern there under the professor.

  7. Logesh

    Thank you so much !
    I want to send an email to a school regarding for a admission to the respective school’s Principal . Can u suggest me a subject and how should be the way of asking to send the email ?

    1. administrator

      In graduate school, you will not have principal, you would have department chair. It is no different from what is described above. Just follow the same.

  8. Pan

    Thank you so much!

    I emailed to the potential supervisor last week, but she has not responded yet. I know she was out of campus last week. I am thinking to send a follow-up email. Should I start with “I wanted to follow up from the message I sent….”? I am worried if it is too impolite. Could you give me some suggestions?

    1. administrator

      I would forward the first email and start with something like. “Not sure, if you have received my earlier mail, please see my request below. Would really appreciate, if you can spare few minutes and share your thoughts. “

  9. Hosna

    Thank you very much for this useful information.
    But i am still a little confuse.
    I want to have admission in an university as a foreign student next year ( 2017 ). That’s why I want to ask about some details. What will be the best subject line for asking some information.

  10. MJ Jeli

    I want to mail at the admission office for my status is not update , but i already send all documents , so please email me what to write in this letter to get update.
    give me guideline what can i write in it?

  11. sushmitha

    I want to mail at the admission office for my status is not update , but i already send all documents , so please email me what to write in this letter to get update.
    give me guideline what can i write in it?

  12. mina

    Hi every one ,
    First of all thanks For this excellent post ,
    my Question is that should we attach the CV and SOP to this email (as the first email ?) or it would be more impressive to wait once the professor respond and following?

  13. Fitri

    Thank you for sharing is so useful for me.
    But I am still confuse.
    What is the best subject for ask a scholarship from the professor?
    Thank you before

  14. deepak gandhi

    I want to mail at the admission office for my status is not update , but i already send all documents , so please email me what to write in this letter to get update.
    give me guideline what can i write in it?

  15. Rachel

    I want to thank you very much for your information regarding subject lines for prospective graduate students to use for their introductory emails. This took a lot of stress out of my already overwhelming preparation for grad school. You may actually have a hand in my acceptance letter, rather than my email being tossed. 🙂

  16. A Sen


    Thank you for this wonderful article. It was really very helpful.
    Can you please tell us the proper way of writing e-mail to the admission unit for any query?
    How should we address the recipient? Should I be very formal or an informal letter will do?
    If possible provide one sample too .

    Thank you

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