How to Write an Email to Your Dissertation Advisor

Communicating effectively with your dissertation advisor is a crucial part of successfully completing your graduate program. In this article, we provide a comprehensive guide on what to do before writing the email, what to include, along with a customizable template to assist you in drafting a professional and respectful email to your dissertation advisor.

To effectively write an email to your dissertation advisor, identify your requirements, prepare a specific query, gather all necessary information, and construct an email with a respectful salutation, a clear introduction, detailed body, specific request, and a polite conclusion.

What To Do Before Writing the Email

The quality of your communication largely depends on the preparation you do beforehand. Here are some steps you should take before writing your email:

  • Identify Your Needs: Understand what you need from your advisor. Are you seeking guidance on a specific chapter? Do you need feedback on your methodology or results? Or perhaps you need clarification on some comments they made. Identifying your needs will help you articulate your request more effectively.
  • Prepare Your Query: Once you’ve identified your needs, prepare a specific question or issue to address in your email. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for your advisor to provide helpful feedback.
  • Gather Information: Make sure you have all the necessary information at hand when writing your email. This includes any documents, drafts, or data related to your query. If you’re referring to these in your email, consider attaching them for easy reference.

What to Include in the Email

Your email should be well-structured and contain the following elements:

  • Salutation: Begin with a respectful greeting. Address your advisor by their professional title and surname unless they’ve indicated otherwise.
  • Introduction: Start by briefly introducing the purpose of your email. This helps set the context and prepares the advisor for your request.
  • Body: This is where you present your query or issue in detail. Make sure to provide enough context so that your advisor understands your situation. Also, keep your language clear and concise to ensure your message is understood.
  • Request: Clearly state what you want from your advisor. Whether it’s feedback on a specific section, answers to questions, or general advice, make sure this is communicated clearly.
  • Conclusion: Wrap up by summarizing your points and expressing gratitude for their time. Indicate that you are looking forward to their response.

Email Template

Here’s a customizable email template for you:

Subject: Request for Guidance on [Your Dissertation Topic]

Dear [Advisor's Professional Title and Surname],

I trust this email finds you well. I'm writing to discuss some aspects of my dissertation titled '[Your Dissertation Topic]'.

In the [Specify Section], I have addressed [Briefly Describe]. However, I find myself uncertain about [Specific Issue or Question]. I have attached the relevant section/draft for your reference.

Given your expertise in this area, I would greatly appreciate it if you could provide some guidance on this matter. Specifically, I am seeking advice on [Specify Request].

Thank you in advance for taking the time to assist me with this issue. Your support has been instrumental in my progress so far, and I look forward to furthering my work with your valuable input.

Best regards,
[Your Name]
[Your Contact Information]


Writing an effective email to your dissertation advisor doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By identifying your needs, preparing your query, gathering relevant information, and structuring your email appropriately, you can ensure effective and respectful communication. Remember, your advisor is there to assist you, and clear communication is key to benefitting from their expertise.