Subject: Clear Subject line [1]

Dear Professor Last-Name [2],

This is a small talk line that recognizes our common humanity [3]. I’m in your Class Name, Section Number that meets on This Day [4]. This is the question I have or the help I need stated quickly and clearly. I’ve looked in the syllabus and at my notes from class and online and I asked someone else from the class, and I think This Is The Answer, but I’m still not sure. This is the action I would like you to take [5].

Signing off with a Thank You is always a good idea [6],

Favorite Student

(letter adapted from “How to Email Your Professor (Without Being Annoying AF) ” by Laura Portwood-Stacer.


  1. Brief, accurate, specific subject line
  2. Accurate greeting (usually Dear Professor last name)
  3. A short small talk sentence—optional, but shows you see your professor as human
  4. A sentence reminding the professor who you are. (If you’re sure they remember you, you can skip this one)
  5. Your question or favor—make sure you’ve tried to answer it yourself first and that you ask respectfully. Informed questions are always welcome!
  6. A pleasant sign-off (usually “thank you” or some version of that)
  7. Feel free to follow up politely if you don’t hear from the professor in a few days!


  1. Keep it sort of formal. You don’t have to write like you’re talking to the Queen, but spell words out (no “how u doin?”) That’s okay for text, but this is a work email.
  2. Give your professor all the info they’ll need—if you’re asking for a recommendation, for example, make sure you tell them the due date and send them the link they’ll need.
  3. Be polite! Even if something is urgent for you, don’t sound demanding (try “this is pretty time sensitive, so I hope you can respond within the week”)
  4. Proofread. Accuracy helps your professors see you care—and it’s good practice for work emails.