Home » Study in USA » Application Info » Subject line to email for graduate school admission (MS / MBA)? How to?

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

If you are a student applying to graduate school for an MS or MBA, one of the key things you always want to do is contact professors at prospective schools 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.

Many a time, students are used to being quite informal and put in the wrong subject line when they send emails to professors. Due to this very fact, it is never even opened by the professors and gets deleted. In this article, we will review what is the best subject line to use and why would professors read your email, if you use the right subject line when you apply or ask about MS or MBA-related questions, or ask about funding for TA, RA, or GA.

What email Subject line do most of us use? Issue?

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

Common Subject Line used to email Professors in US for Funding, Admission questions
Common Subject Line used to email Professors in US for Funding, Admission questions
  • Hello
  • Hello! How are you?
  • Hi, How are you?
  • Need info
  • Thank you
  • Met you on a bus, train

A 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, sometimes I did not get replies. I was really mad at the admissions team and many professors as they did not email me back.

Guess what, after I got admission and started studying MS in the US, I got to know that professors typically do not even open emails, if they do not find the subject line relevant for them as there is so much spam and all sorts of promotional emails they get.  Also, they handle lot of subjects, research, and many other administrative things, so the amount of email is crazy and they only choose to respond to something that they understand is important.

In short, “NO ONE really opens your email, they ONLY read the Subject line and decide to read or delete the email if they do not recognize it”. If you put in any of the subject lines like above, it is deleted and never read. That’s the problem.

Importance of a good subject line when 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 the 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’s perspective, professors teach two to three classes and the 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 the same case with the admissions department. A university’s 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 it in another list and review it later. Overall, the point is, the email subject is very critical. In fact, these days, personally, I do not read any email if I do not see the proper subject line, because I get so many emails…

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

To write an effective email, it is very important to have a proper subject line. Your subject line will make the person reading the email, either open the email or delete the same. It is more critical for you to put the perfect subject information when you email admissions as they get thousands of emails.

Your email subject line should contain critical information about your request 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 with 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 a few more, but fundamentally these are the key things you have to ask yourself when you put in a subject line.

If you were to put a short subject line format, it would look like

[Your Status]: [Reason for emailing]

If we translate the above subject line format into sample subject lines for admission, they would look like the below.

Sample Subject lines for emailing Graduate School for Admissions

  • Fall 2023 Prospective Student: Need Admission Status
  • Spring 2023 Student: Seeking Scholarship Information
  • Summer 2024 Graduate Student: I-20 Status
  • Prospective Student 2024: Need admission info
  • Prospective student 2025: 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, research

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 2023 Prospective Student: Research Info needed
  • Summer 2024  Student: Artificial Intelligence Research Question
  • Spring 2024 Prospective student: Need Admission Information
  • Fall 2025 Student: Need info on Research prospects at UW-Madison
  • Prospective Research Student: Cybersecurity Paper on Encryption
  • Summer 2025: Research Assistantships Info needed, URGENT!

Why would a professor or admissions team reply to your emails with such a Subject line?

If you send an email with the right subject line having the keyword like PROSPECTIVE STUDENT, the odds of you getting a response is very high. The simple reason is no professor would throw away any email if it has a 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, and they do not want to lose customers :).  Also, not just it is business for them, most of the professors are very friendly and really appreciate someone taking the time to ask about admission or funding. So, they will take it seriously and reply or at least forward it to the right team.

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 with emailing professors? What were your subject lines?


Other Articles


  1. if you need a loan we are Legitimate and reliable Loan lender. we offer all kinds of packages of Loans. we give out loans on a clear and understandable terms and

    conditions at 3% interest rate. From $5000 to $6000000 USD, Euro And Pounds Only. We give out Business Loans, Personal Loans, Student Loans,Car Loans, Bank Loans And

    Loans To Pay Off Bills. If you are interested kindly Contact us: kelvinlubby8@gmail.com

    Your Full Name:
    Loan Amount Needed:
    Loan duration:
    Phone number:
    Loan Purpose:
    Monthly income:

    Best Regards
    Mr kelvin lubby

  2. 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 ..

    • Ibrahim,
      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. 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.

    • 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. 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. 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. 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?

    • Harsha,
      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. 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 ?

    • Logesh,
      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. 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?

    • Pan,
      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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Hello,

    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


Leave a Comment