Applying for a PhD @ Edinburgh – References – Frequently Asked Questions

UNIVERSITYOn the 5th and 10th of November 2014 the IAD hosted on-campus and online panel discussions about applying for a PhD. This gave Taught Masters students the opportunity to ask staff questions about the PhD application process at the University of Edinburgh.

Representatives from Admissions, EUSA, International Office and the Scholarship Office were there to answer questions and give advice to students.

This blog will cover some of the discussions surrounding references raised during these panel sessions.

Examples of questions raised included:

  1. If you have known your referee for only 3 months- is that long enough for someone to then provide a written statement about your work?
  2. Can you submit the same recommendation letters used to apply for Masters?
  3. If the potential referee is not used to writing a reference- what to do?

Choosing your referees is a very important task; your references should reflect your skills and abilities. It is advised to try and pick people who can provide an academic reference, with regards to teaching you, reading and marking your work.  If returning to academia after a long break, then providing an up to date reference relevant to your area of interest would be highly recommended.

If you have recently started your master’s studies, you should try to speak with potential referees in advance and build a stronger relation allowing your referees to then provide a strong recommendation.

Below is a link which provides further information regarding PhD application and reference requirements. This also includes guidance for referees whom may be new to writing PHD references.