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MA/MS- contacting professors - is it mandatory?

Apurva Barve

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I'm an international student and I am applying for Experimental Psychology program to a number cal-state universities. I currently moved here from India.

My question is - is it mandatory to email or call professors and talk before applying? I have read that it is an extremely important step for Phd admissions. Is it true for MS admissions as well?

In India we never had to contact any professors in advance and I really have no idea about how to approach them in the first place? Do I call or write email? What do I mention in the email? Do I have to tell them my test scores?

Can somebody please help me? Most of my friends who are studying here are enrolled for Engineering program. They never contacted their professions in advance. So I really do not have any sources for Psychology admissions.

I have a fairly good academic background. I have 3.5 GPA and very good TOEFL score (English proficiency test) and good Recommendations. I do not want to lose out on my chances of getting in because I did not contact my professors.

Can you guys please help me with this? http://forum.thegradcafe.com/public/style_emoticons/default/unsure.png


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  • 4 weeks later...

I my opinion - it really depends on a school by school basis. Some departments websites explicitly mention NOT to contact their professors. Other websites conveniently list the professors' role in the admission committee.


By a general guideline to follow is never to write to them about your profile. Write to them expressing interest in their research, discuss their paper etc, and it does hurt to throw in a 'btw, i'm thinking about applying to x program for fall 2014 and would love to discuss this in person with you' etc.


I know writing to prof's is much more standard for phd applications, not very much so for masters, and by no means is it mandatory.

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