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Thank-you letter


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I think it's a nice gesture, but advice on how to best approach it vary tremendously. At a minimum, it can't hurt to email the program administrator (who presumably arranged the whole thing); if you met with just a few profs for extended periods of time, you should do the same.

In my case, I met with 6 profs for 20-30 minutes each, about 8 students over dinner/breakfast/lunch, and the associate director of the health policy/economics PhD program. I didn't think it was feasible or appropriate to send out 14 different notes, so instead I sent one short email to the AD and noted that my travel receipts were in the mail. I then also included a much longer, handwritten thank you card along with said receipts (I got the impression that she was the type of person who would appreciate that kind of gesture), which referenced each of the different conversations. The full, slightly sanitized text is below, if that helps.

Dear Associate Director,

Thank you so much for inviting me up to interview last week and for organizing such a thorough introduction to the people and the program. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the students over food and drinks - including some friendly (and hopefully not too heated!) debates over vaccine financing mechanisms. That same friendliness and genuine interest was reflected in my conversations with each of the professors - from Prof 1's encouragement to consider data gaps as opportunities rather than constraints and Prof 2's thoughts on the university's increasingly global focus to insightful questions from Profs 3 and 4 that pushed me to consider and articulate my career aims. It was also very rewarding to meet with Profs 5 and 6 as they demonstrated the ways students can benefit from the faculty and resources outside of the department. I look forward to a similar phone conversation with Prof 7, and only regret that I did not have the chance to talk with Prof 8 at greater length.

More than anything, I appreciated how much you put me at ease from the moment I arrived. In fact, the department as a whole seems almost unimaginably warm and welcoming, and I remain more convinced than ever that the university would be an ideal fit with my research interests and educational aspirations. I eagerly look forward to the possibility of joining your academic community and hope to hear back from you soon.

All the best,


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At my last interview weekend I met a professor who was really awesome, so I sent him a thank-you email, very brief, just thanking him for meeting with me and referencing some stuff we talked about so he'd remember which interviewee I was. I also met with the curriculum director for my potential department and he was really enthusiastic about getting me all the info I need to learn about the school and the program, so I sent him a short note as well. But typically you meet with SO many people that it's impossible to send thank-you notes to all...

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