The supervisor reads the email carefully from start to finish. A student wanted to write her bachelor’s thesis with him, but he was busy with many thesis projects. But somehow the email was formulated differently and drew his attention.
The student justified the topic with her experiences and how she intends to proceed. She even mentioned appropriate sources... This will be a well done thesis, he thought and clicked on the reply button. He wrote back briefly suggesting a phone call...
That's the way it has to be! Follow this procedure and your cover letter will convince the supervisor to accept your thesis project.
What does a supervisor want?
- A current, relevant, scientific and feasible topic.
- A good text at the end.
- An efficient supervision.
- Your goal is to get the green light for the topic and thus the acceptance of your official thesis start.
Let's go through the contents of the cover letter.
1. Subject in the cover letter
The email should make a good impression immediately and the subject must be visible. So, write a clear subject. There are some good formulations but a lot of bad ones so take a look at them BEFORE contacting your supervisor.
2. Salutation in the cover letter
Be polite and make sure to use the appropriate title, even with staff members! There are fixed formulas. Professors and PhDs have worked hard for their titles, so they take this very seriously. You should do the same and it’s better not make any mistakes so familiarize yourself with the right formulations.
Tip: Write the following greeting: "Dear Professor Sample" and not “Dear Prof. Dr. Sample”
3. Starting point for the cover letter
- History is important. Refer to a previous interview and thank them for their willingness to supervise you.
- If you still haven’t received a response from them, this is more difficult, but it works.
- Give a good reason why you chose her or him.
- Think about HIS / HER point of view. Everyone likes that. The goal is to get to the heart of the motive without "sucking up". Polished formulations bring success. Some phrases should be left out, so they don’t show you in a bad light! Better avoid them.
4. Topic found for the Bachelor’s thesis or Master’s Thesis
I have found an interesting topic in your research area Alpha.
The subject is:
Effects of chocolate consumption on the motivation of students during examination phases
5. My question for the bachelor’s or master’s thesis is...
The subject alone is not enough. Concretely show that you know what you will find out in the end. Write your research question in the cover letter. That's what supervisors like to see. It shows YOUR systematic approach and thus promises on the one hand a good job, and on the other hand a manageable amount of support. No one has time to waste.
Questions also make people curious and can be a good start to your relationship :-)
6. Your motivation for the topic of the thesis
For God's sake, don't tell your life story. Don't list all your short-term jobs for the Alpha magazine... Just briefly show your relation to the topic. Two sentences are enough, but they have to have an impact.
7. Your approach
Describe very briefly HOW you want to answer the question and which methods you will use to do so.
Anything is possible, even ONE expert interview in a non-empirical literature thesis. The own results of the analyses can be discussed with the expert. The knowledge gained from this will be incorporated into the text.
8. Main chapter of the thesis
List only briefly the main chapters, i.e. the initial chapters. You should not have more than 6 main chapters.
Please confirm that this topic is ok for your bachelor’s or master’s thesis
There are different approaches here.
A) if you have already had a previous conversation about the topic
B) if you still haven’t spoken about the topic
With the right formulations for both variants, you will ensure clarity right from the first contact. You will get the green light and will not have to talk about your approach again and again.
10. Registration procedure for the Bachelor’s thesis or Master’s thesis
NEVER ask for formal information that is already on his/her site or which can be obtained from the Examination Office. Be prepared and know the formalities.
According to information from XXXX (website or examination office or assistant ...), registration can be made by February XX. I would like to apply for this appointment.
By doing this, you signal your seriousness once again.
11. The end in the cover letter
Make it clear that you only want a short answer.
If you basically agree with the proposed topic, please send me a short message. I will then ... (prepare the registration, formulate the proposal, write the introduction, come to the office etc.)
Be sure to add the following contact information. You never know. Maybe he or she will give you a quick call...
- First name
- Last name
- Mobile number:
Good luck writing your text!
Silvio and the Aristolo Team
PS: Check out the Thesis-ABC and the Thesis Guide for writing a bachelor or master thesis in 31 days.