Lesson 3.1 – Memorandum to Evan Crisp


Date:       22 November, 2019

TO:          Evan Crisp, UBC student

FROM:    Emily Leung, Student of ENGL 301

Subject:   Writing Effective E-mail Messages to Professor



Thank you for reaching out for advice on improving your e-mail to Professor Lambert. Registering for an already-full class can be a stressful process. Here is a list of some best practices for writing an e-mail to a professor. These principles result in more professional-looking e-mails and a higher chance of getting responses.

Tips for writing an e-mail

Effective student writers follow these guidelines when sending e-mails to professors:


  • Using an academic or professional e-mail address for easier identification of the e-mail’s source, this also reduces the chance of reaching a professor’s spam inbox.
  • Ensuring your full name is displayed in the “From” field.
  • Adding an informative and concise subject line to inform the professor of the purpose, urgency and importance of the e-mail. Communicating a reasonable request in the subject line ensures the e-mail gets opened.
  • Addressing the professor by name and title with a polite salutation. In this case, using “ Dear Professor Lambert” instead of “Hey there” would be more professional and appropriate.
  • Ending the e-mail with a signature block consisting of the full name and contact information for easier follow-up.
  • Incorporating postscript to the body of the e-mail where possible. 


  • Beginning the e-mail with a clear purpose to help professors understand the context of the request. 
  • Framing the request to reflect your interest and need for the class, instead of being at a matter of convenience, can effectively increase the professor’s willingness to offer assistance.
  • Being specific about the class of interest. As mentioned in the e-mail, Professor Lambert teaches more than one English class. Using detailed information on the specific class, such as course name and times, allows for an explicit request.
  • Closing with an appreciation for the professor’s time and consideration can show respect. For example, using the phrase “I would very much appreciate your permission to take this class.”
  • Being mindful of professors’ busy schedules and asking politely when communicating a necessary deadline for their actions. 
  • Maintaining a courteous, professional and respectful tone throughout the e-mail. 
  • Avoiding the use of slang and abbreviations such as “ttfn” to demonstrate professionalism and enhance clarity.
  • Proofreading the e-mail to enhance grammatical and spelling accuracy.


E-mail is an effective communication tool between students and professors. Following these tips can help us build a stronger relationship with professors. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach me at emilyleung@ubc.ca.

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