Letters of Reference

We require three letters of reference with your application.

In selecting your referees, choose individuals who can provide an overall evaluation of your readiness and potential to succeed as a doctoral student and ultimately as a researcher and professor.

Selecting Your Referees

Our faculty prefers that all reference letters be written by academics. They can be your instructors, your advisors, or, in the case of applicants who hold teaching jobs, your colleagues.

In some cases, it may be appropriate to ask nonacademic individuals, as long as they can best speak about your academic abilities.

If you have been out of school for a significant period of time, you may substitute non-academic references of your choice.

Reference Requirements

You are responsible for ensuring that all three references are submitted online by the application deadline.

Federal law provides, after enrollment, a right of access to letters of reference if retained by the school, and if the right has not been waived; no school may require an applicant to waive this right. You will be asked to read, choose, and sign in regard to your right of access to each letter of reference.

It is highly inappropriate to draft or write your own letter of reference, even if asked to do so by your referee. If the individual insists on this approach, you should find another referee.

Registering Your Referees

You must register your referee in the online application. Go to the “Register Your References” page and enter the names and contact information — including a valid email address — for each referee. You may submit your application after all three referees have been registered; you do not need to wait for your referees to submit their references.

Submitting Letters of Reference

Individuals writing letters of reference on your behalf are required to submit them through the online application.* Once you register a referee, he or she will receive an email confirmation with instructions to log in and submit his/her reference. Once a letter has been submitted, both of you will receive an email confirming that the submission was successful. Be sure to ask your referee to use your formal name when writing your letter of reference.

Check the Status of Your References

You can log in to the online application to verify whether all letters of reference have been received and to also send your referees a reminder if necessary. We cannot guarantee the review of any materials received after the deadline.

*Unless an exception has been made by our office, hard copies of reference letters will not be accepted. If your referee cannot submit his/her letter of reference online, contact our office to receive a hard copy of the reference form.