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How to Politely Email Potential Mentors

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So I got an interview invitation. The purpose of the interview is to secure funding with potential professors. One professor in the program has the research that I am very interested in but he is titled as "Emeritus." I know that becoming emeritus means you are officially retired but may still be involved in research. How should I politely ask him whether he will have projects available? Can I just ask him "I am interested in some of your research projects but I see that your title is emeritus so was wondering if you still have projects available?"

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Yes, you can just ask him, but I wouldn't phrase it that way (i.e. no need to refer to his title). However, note that emeritus professors may no longer compete for grants and other funding sources that may be used to pay you, so it might not be helpful to pursue them for funding! So, I would just ask something like, "I am interviewing with your department to secure funding with potential professors. I am interested in your work in X, Y, Z. Will you be taking on new students in Fall 2017?" 

Something like that should hopefully convey the message that you are searching for funding, so if he doesn't have any available, he can politely say no.

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1 hour ago, TakeruK said:

Yes, you can just ask him, but I wouldn't phrase it that way (i.e. no need to refer to his title). However, note that emeritus professors may no longer compete for grants and other funding sources that may be used to pay you, so it might not be helpful to pursue them for funding! So, I would just ask something like, "I am interviewing with your department to secure funding with potential professors. I am interested in your work in X, Y, Z. Will you be taking on new students in Fall 2017?" 

Something like that should hopefully convey the message that you are searching for funding, so if he doesn't have any available, he can politely say no.

 
 

Thank you very much TakeruK.

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