Letters of Recommendation

The Graduate School's (TGS) admission committees are interested in letters of recommendation from those who are most able to assess your academic and research abilities in areas related to your field of study. Letters of recommendation are very important to the evaluation process, so choose your recommenders wisely!

When considering a recommender, give some thought to the following questions:

  • Does the faculty in the program to which you are applying know your letter writers?
  • Will they write fair and thoughtful recommendations for you?
  • Can they speak to your academic research and accomplishments and your potential for graduate study?

TGS requires a minimum of two letters of recommendation. Some departments may require more than two letters, so please consult your specific program’s website to determine if additional letters are necessary.

NOTE: All letters of recommendation must be submitted through the online application.

FAQs – Letters of Recommendation

Q: May my recommender send you a hard copy of the letter rather than use the online system?

A: No. All letters must be submitted via the online application.

Q: May I use Interfolio (or a similar service) to submit my letters of recommendation?

A: It depends on your program of interest. While a few of our programs continue to accept letters of recommendation from Interfolio, a growing number of our programs are using a version of the online recommendation form that is inherently incompatible with third-party uploading services. We recommend contacting your department of interest to confirm whether or not they accept letters of recommendation submitted via Interfolio.

Q: I have been out of school for several years and there is no one left who can write an academic recommendation for me. May my employer write one?

A: The purpose of submitting letters of recommendation is to give program faculty and TGS an indication of your ability to do scholarly research. Current or former professors in your major-field have the best idea of your research potential. If, however, such persons are no longer available to ask, anyone who you think can best assess your potential for graduate study can be asked to write the letter.

Q: I want to send more than the required number of letters of recommendation because I feel this will enhance my chances of being offered admission. Is this true?

A: Letters of recommendation are all about quality over quantity. Send the required number (two or three), and choose your recommenders well. If you do choose to send more than the minimum, make sure that your additional letter will include new information above and beyond what your other recommenders have already said.