how to talk to a professor about research

The Professor Is In.

If your professor is teaching a class next semester or next year that you're interested in, you can easily talk about it. The challenge is that most first-year students might not have the background to understand what's going on in the research, … You can ask about the reading load, what kinds of topics will be covered, what expectations the professor has for the class and for students taking the class, and even what the syllabus will look like.

If you are not available during their office hours, don’t give up. Personally, I am always happy to talk about possibilities for working in my research group with a student who's interested in the group. Faculty doesn't want to mentor students who require hand-holding, and you want to avoid being perceived as needy. Tell him or her about the work you’re interested in or about problems you’re having (but remember, a professor is not a therapist; they’ll talk about whatever you want, but may not be able to offer professional advice). To add to this, look up any research the professor has published in any notable journals. You can’t predict how a professor will respond to multiple emails.

I emailed 4 or 5 professors, two emailed back, one told me that they don't have a position but would be happy to talk to me if I still had any questions, and the other gave me a couple of times to meet with him. Your professor uses office hours to grade papers, prepare for classes, and do research. I'm going to start research under him and his team of grad … Karen Kelsky has advised countless graduate students and junior faculty members on how to navigate the perilous waters of the job search. If there have been problems in previous years with this professor, they may know about it and have tips on dealing with him or her. Contact your professor to see if there are alternatives. Professors love to hear themselves talk, so if you can bring up an interesting anecdote from their research or maybe a particular part of the research that interests you, you have a good shot at getting a warm reaction. Talk to your advisor before you go to the problematic professor. Some might welcome them, but it is better playing it safe and avoid emailing the professor again unless you have specific questions about his or her research. Pay your professor a visit or two, just to talk. If they are expecting you (and maybe even have an idea about what you want to discuss) you will probably have a better experience.

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