Essentially the professor you will be working under for the coming years will be your boss, and hence it is imperative few questions are asked and answers seeked. For instance, is the professor a workaholic; if yes be prepared to slog it out. Is the professor an out an out research person – that is does he have a huge laboratory. The professors who love researching expect their students to follow suit and hence be prepared to graduate after a longer duration (with respect to the dates of graduation.)

Apart from the working style, also find out about the views of the professors about the funding. Consult your professors about the stipends, and if this can be used as your thesis/ dissertation research.

For the students who are planning to go for Ph.D, be careful about the age of the professors, and make sure that they will be available by the end of your course and that they do not retire before the stipulated program.

The best to get an answer to all these questions would be to contact the professors directly:

Address the professors directly, and when you e-mail them, keep the subject short and crisp. Subjects like “ Few queries from a prospective student” or “ Questions in my mind”, will allow the professor to take note of your emails. At the onset, make it very clear to the professors that you are interested in the program, and hence you are particularly inquisitive about few questions. And then mention questions about research, opportunities, the various courses, funding and stipends and also any teaching opportunities.
Like we have mentioned earlier, do not restrict this mail to one particular professor, but to different professors. Also, personally mark every one of them so that this mail does not end up in the spams section.

Also, it is not enough to just shoot a mail and then sit back and procrastinate. It is imperative that you follow up, because if you show intent chances are that the professor will like you and will sooner rather than later contact you personally. Bear in mind that this initial impression will help you create a very good image and might be useful in the future process.