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Titles - what do they call YOU?


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So people are always talking about what titles to use with professors here, but I've encountered the opposite issue. At what point should I ask a professor to call me by my first name rather than "Ms. _____"? Normally I would do this immediately, but I'm an undergrad right now and I'm not used to people who are far "above" me addressing me this way. It almost seems risky to do because I feel I might be suggesting the professor should be doing the same? I don't know. How do you handle this?

I have had a series of interviews with a professor at my top school, and I have now been accepted. They are still considering funding and I still feel very much "on the spot" in my communications with this professor. She sent me an email today that addressed me as "Ms. _____" multiple times, and it just felt awkward and I feel like I should have asked her to call me by my first name long ago.

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I can't imagine a prof. at my current institution addressing me by anything other than my first name. I would personally be a lot less likely to request that professors at another institution/places I'm applying treat me less than formally, but that's just me.

This would be a lot easier to do gracefully in person or over the phone as an aside than in writing. (Oh, I prefer x/please, call me x). Alternatively, you can sign an email with your first name and let the prof on the other end pick it up or not (this is also one way to tell if your professors are comfortable with you using their first names). If the person on the other end prefers to keep things formal, you might just remain "Ms. ___" until you're attending. :huh:

I wouldn't necessarily let the fact that the email made you slightly uncomfortable lead you to think this form of address is out of the ordinary or awkward. If you're not used to interacting with people in the field as future colleague rather than a student (this is perfectly normal, and I remember it feeling really uncomfortable at times), it could just be an adjustment period! It's also entirely possible that this phase will drop away naturally once the funding issue is sorted and the conversation is less business-y.

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I think you are lucky if they are calling you by your name formally, since this is a sign of respect. Most people who consider you a colleague of sorts will use the Mr. Ms. Mrs. type intro. You might be lower on the totem pole. but you are still considered an academic. I know that if I am one on one with profs, I call them by their first name, but in front of other students or profs I will use the formal Dr. So-and-So. You could just casually say at the beginning of the interview (or in an email), "feel free to call me (insert first name here". Just like students wait for profs to say that, I think they are waiting for the same from you!

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