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About Student Research

Sample Outreach Emails

While combining professionalism, context, specific content, and brevity, it is important that an outreach email to a prospective research mentor sound authentic. Please use the following examples as just that—examples—rather than rigid templates. A mentor will value you using YOUR voice to articulate your interests.


SUBJECT: Interested Undergraduate Researcher - Jane Doe

Dear Dr. Sample,

I am a third-year undergraduate student here at Example University majoring in Environmental Health. Your research in reverse osmosis and point-of-use water treatment caught my attention as I was considering how I might get involved in meaningful on-campus research.

I am incredibly interested in the intersection of chemistry and civil engineering, with future hopes of attending graduate school. Access to clean drinking water—and what constitutes “clean” water—has long been a problem on my mind, sparked by courses I’ve taken in analytical chemistry and toxicology. Your work on copper and lead removal from water and the fouling of nanofiltration membranes seemed like incredible ways to unite my environmental health and chemistry majors. I am curious about what sort of methods and setups you use for water quality analysis, metal detection, and membrane testing.

I would love to be able to talk with your about your ongoing projects and what you might be looking for in a prospective undergraduate researcher. Let me know if you have any time in the upcoming weeks that I could come by your office for a meeting. Monday and Thursday afternoons or Friday mornings are typically open for me to talk. I have attached my resume to this email.

Thank you for your time. Best wishes,
Jane Doe
Environmental Health; Chemistry
Class of 2030


SUBJECT: Conversation about your telomerase research

Dear Professor Dumbledore,

I'm a sophomore student at Rochwarts planning to major in transfiguration. I want to learn more about your research and potentially work in your lab. I recently read an interview that you gave to the Journal of Undergraduate Research back in 2007. I found the part where you talked about telomerase in mice versus humans interesting, especially as we were learning about telomerase in Dr. Kettleburn's genetics class at the same time. I also read some of your recent papers and found the one about translation fidelity in different dragon species very thought-provoking.

I'm currently taking BIO 198 (Principles of Genetics) with Dr. Kettleburn. I was really fascinated when we talked about the different DNA repair mechanisms, and want to learn more about how they apply to aging. Next semester I'll be in Dr. McGonagall's BIO 252 biochemistry class.

Would it be possible for me to meet with you and learn more about your research? If you have time, I am free Tuesdays between 11AM-2PM, Wednesdays after 3PM, or Fridays after 11:30AM. I've also attached my resume for your convenience.

Thank you!

Sincerely,
Newt Scamander
Class of 2020


SUBJECT: Research conversation

Hello, Professor Smith,

Last fall, I had the pleasure of studying migrant narratives with Professor Snape in his class, Modern Latin America. I particularly loved exploring the intricacies of the relationships between identity, space, and place in central Guatemala.

Motivated to continue my exploration of primary narratives and sociopolitics, I hope to dedicate time this upcoming semester to an independent study on media and the modern Cuban identity. As a current second-year student, I hope that this work may ultimately result in the development of a Senior Honors Thesis. After reading more about your cross-disciplinary work studying social reform in the U.S. and Mexico, I think you would be an excellent guide for this journey. I admire the ways in which your research is able to bring to life the daily lived experiences of immigrant women, and I plan on registering for your policy course next semester.

Could we meet to further discuss your research and the suitability of a potential independent study under your mentorship? I am available Fridays after 1PM and Tuesdays or Thursdays between 11AM–2PM.

I look forward to our conversation. Thank you,
John Doe