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Emailing multiple potential supervisors at one school?


beanbean
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So I’ve identified my first choice school and am in contact with a potential supervisor (met in person over the summer and have been in email contact this fall). I am in a field where it is highly encouraged/necessary to contact potential supervisors before application. Since I’m very serious about this school, and there is another professor there with compatible enough research interests, should I email them too? Obviously the prof I’ve already spoken to is my first choice - but should I still email this other professor? If so, how do I do it without saying “Can you supervise me just in case So-and-so can’t?”?

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  • 3 weeks later...

In case anyone is wondering how this turned out: I asked the grad admissions office, and they said it was a good idea to contact other professors as well just in case that person can't take on multiple new students in a year. They recommended letting them know that I had been in touch with another prof already. Like everything else, it probably depends on your program and the school! 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yes, I can corroborate that. In fact, it is preferable to contact multiple professors in the same program. That shows them that you are a good fit for the department as a whole, and not just one faculty member. If anything should happen to your primary advisor (death, relocation, sabbatical, etc.), you want to make sure there is another potential advisor in the department who could take you on to their advisee load.

Some of the grad school applications I did this year even specifically asked me to name multiple professors in their department who I communicated with before submitting my application.

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I've spoken with most of the faculty of the department of the university I applied to.  I just let them know that I was talking to other professors, also.  In my field, this also helps build a "team" of advisors so you can get multiple perspectives on the same topic. My app also asked me for at least 2. 

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For future applicants: This is more than acceptable! Sometimes your first POI may tell you to email the other professors to get to know them or let them know you're interested. 

 

That's been my experience after emailing about 4-5 different POI.

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