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Guide to providing academic references

Guide to Providing Academic References

How many academic references are required?

We typically ask for one academic reference for postgraduate taught courses and two academic references for postgraduate research courses. Please check with your chosen department for our reference requirements.

How do I provide references?

When you complete your application you are asked to provide referee contact details, including a valid email address. We will email your referee(s) directly with a link to a portal to submit your reference.

We do recommend that you contact your referees prior to nomination to ensure that they are willing and able to write a reference for you and to let them know to expect an email from Warwick.

My referee did not receive the reference request - can you resend the link?

If your referee has not received the link to provide your reference please visit your applicant portal where you can resend the link to them directly. Please ensure that you check that the referee contact information provided with your application is correct and update if required. You should also ask your referee to check if the email containing the link arrived in their Spam or Junk folder.

Who should I nominate to be my referee?

An academic reference should be provided by a tutor who has taught you on your current or most recent degree and who can provide an informed view of your academic ability and suitability for your chosen programme of study.

The University will accept professional references if you have been out of higher education for over two years and these must be submitted by your current or most recent line manager. If you are unsure about the suitability of your referee please contact your department directly.

Please note that personal references, such as those from family and friends, are not acceptable.

What makes a good reference?

Your referee should comment on your academic suitability for the proposed programme of study, and to provide any other information they consider to be relevant to your application. If they have knowledge of your recent study, it would be helpful if they could indicate the standard attained.

For research degrees, a good tip is to ask the referee to comment specifically on your ability in the area detailed in your proposal, as well as your capacity to undertake independent research.

References must be submitted in English, unless otherwise permitted by the department. References not submitted in English might delay your application significantly, and could result in you missing crucial funding deadlines. It is your responsibility to ensure your referee is aware of this.

Do you accept paper based references?

We do accept references posted to the team if they are original, on professional or institutional letter-headed paper and signed. If this is not possible - for example, where a referee has retired - the reference should still include the referee's contact details and current (or relevant previous) position.