MSc Admissions Blog

Advice and Information from the MSc Admissions team

How to submit references


We get many queries from prospective students about their reference letters. These supporting documents are an important element of your application and it is crucial that you read our guidance carefully to ensure you provide valid references.

Choosing your referees

We require two reference letters for each student. Usually we would recommend that you provide one academic and one professional reference.

If you do not have any work experience, you may provide two academic references. Similarly, if you have been out of full-time education for at least two years, we can normally accept two professional references.

Please note that we cannot accept references from fellow students, friends or family – even if you have worked in a family business – as we cannot guarantee the impartiality of these.

How to provide your references

When you fill in the application form, you will see that you are asked to provide the email addresses of two referees. When you submit the application we will email these contacts directly to request a reference. However, it would be courteous of you to inform them in advance that we will be contacting them.

We inform referees that they can either email the references to us or post them.

If your referee wishes to email us, they must use a professional email account. We cannot accept references emailed from web-based email accounts like, or because we cannot confirm the provenance of these. Please bear this in mind when you fill in their email address on the application form.

If your referee does not have a professional email account they may wish to post the reference to us. This should be written on university or company headed paper, and sealed in an envelope with the referee’s signature across the seal and covered in clear tape so we can see the letter has not been tampered with.


We can only accept confidential references. This means that your referee has written their letter objectively and that you have not read it.

Therefore we cannot accept references that you email to us yourself, or that you post to us unsealed. We also cannot accept references from agents. The reference should always come directly from the referee. The only exception to this would be if the referee gives you a hard copy in a sealed envelope for you to forward on to us.

References should never be faxed to us.

When do I need to provide my references?

Due to the huge volume of applications we process, for most programmes, your application will be considered without references if they have not been received by the next file review. This means that you may be made an offer which lists providing satisfactory references as a condition. If your references arrive promptly they will be considered when your application is reviewed.


We hope this clears up a few common queries but if you have any questions about providing your references you can check the guidance on the website or contact your Admissions Officer who will be glad to advise you.


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