Reference Letter Sample For Graduate School

This article acts as a guide when writing a reference letter for graduate school and it provides samples of reference letters for graduate school.

A reference letter is an essential part of a graduate school application starter pack.

Graduate schools require reference letters from individuals who will give details on the abilities, qualities, and personal characteristics and also recommend the applicant for admission into the graduate school.

A reference letter for graduate school is a recommendation of a graduate school applicant that is submitted along with the application. 

The reference letter for graduate school should be short, positive, and contain examples highlighting the attributes of the applicant.

Article Road Map

Requesting For Reference Letter For Graduate School

The best person to write your reference letters should be your professors, supervisors, mentors, managers, and employers.

Most professors are happy to write a reference letter for students who had an excellent performance in their classes and projects.

When requesting a reference letter, it’s advisable to meet the professor in person and show respect and appreciation to the professor.

Choosing which of your professor to request a reference letter for graduate school should depend on these factors:

  • Positive relationship 

 Choose someone you have a positive relationship with. Someone that is familiar with you and can speak positively of you. They should also know your academic and career goals.

  • Length Of Relationship

 A reference letter for graduate school should be written by someone who has known you for years or several months. They should also be familiar with you in your different contexts like a professor who is also your project supervisor.

  • Can speak to your strengths in relation to your graduate program. 

Choose a professor that is in your department or close to your course or one related to the graduate program you are applying for to write your reference letter. It can be someone who has the degree you are applying for

  • Shared stories

Choose a professor who knows good stories about you to share that will give you an advantage over others. Someone who has stories of you in an academic, extracurricular, or professional setting.

Information Needed For Reference Letter For Graduate School

You should give the professor sufficient time to write out a good reference letter. You should also provide the professor with the information needed to make the process easier. Information could include:

  • The professor’s classes you’ve attended
  • Experiences you’ve shared with the professor
  • Your transcript
  • Your resume or CV
  • Your research experiences 
  • Your experience during an internship
  • Your awards and achievements
  • Your academic and career goals
  • Reference letter for graduate student due date
  • Format for submitting the Letter Of Reference
  • Give details about the program you are applying for

What To Include In A Reference Letter For Graduate School

The reference letter should give details on the academic qualifications, skills, and experiences in and out of the class of the applicant. The reference letter should include details of:

  • The graduate student’s characteristics, qualities, and traits
  • The graduate student’s accomplishments and habits in class
  • The graduate student’s specific interests, courses, and abilities
  • The relationship between the student and professor
  • Description of the program and how it matches the student’s qualities
  • A recommendation of the student into the program

Writing A Reference Letter For Graduate School

A  reference letter that is well organized gives the reader an understanding of the student’s worthiness to get admission to the graduate school.

The reference letter for graduate school should be one or two pages, with letterhead, an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

 The reference letter should follow this outline: 

  • Letterhead

The contact and other information of the professor writing the reference letter should be at the left-hand corner of the top page.

 Information containing the full name of the professor, date of writing the letter, the name of the school, the school address, and the title of the reference letter. 

  • Introduction 

In the introduction of the reference letter, state who the letter is being addressed to and the student that is applying into the graduate school.

This can take up to 4 to 6 sentences. 

  • Body

Next, the professor should give details on the relationship with the student including how they met and how long they’ve known each other. This can take up to 3-5 sentences.

The next paragraph should be on the positive qualities and attributes of the student and this is the main body of the reference letter. Positively describe the student in topics about work, habit, character, achievements, awards, and sense of responsibility.

The professor can use examples, comparisons, and personal observations to highlight the qualities of the student with as many details as possible.

  • Conclusion

In the concluding paragraph, describe the consistent improvements that the student has made and restate a recommendation to the graduate school.

Also, include a preferred method of contact and an invite for any additional information needed.

The signature and name of the professor should be at the end of the reference letter.

Reference Letter For Graduate School Sample

Sample 1

March 24th, 2022

Samuel Jackson

Carpenter’s Inc

212 Texas Drive, TX, 79930

(915) 533-3777

To whom it may concern,

Antonio has been a full-time intern here at Carpenter’s Inc. for almost four years and has been of major value to our team. When he requested I write a recommendation letter to strengthen his application for the Master of Architecture program at University of PortHarcourt, I accepted without hesitation. As his mentor, Antonio has my full support in his academic goals. He has the power to inspire those around him with his positive outlook.

Antonio applied for the architectural intern position in 2017, along with several other applicants. It was apparent that he was the perfect candidate for the position. He was the top student in his classes and his portfolio included impressive projects and innovative designs. Over the course of my time at Carpenter’s, Antonio has been the most outstanding interns we’ve ever had.

Starting an internship can be a stressing experience, but Antonio started with ease. He brings a certain positivity to the company that seems to inspire us all. His ideas are always well thought out, and he communicates very well with the team members. He has a knack for design and has a creative mind. Working alongside Antonio has been a pleasure and anyone lucky enough to work with him will share the same feeling.

 The way he explains his ideas and the manner in which he goes about his work is likened to that of an architect with years of experience. He is an incredibly fast learner, always eager to expand his horizons. And one of Antonio’s qualities is his ability to see the projects beyond the drawing board.

One of our current civic projects, in the conceptual design phase, has shown us that Antonio can handle any type of architectural project. Antonio is capable of understanding the clients’ needs and converting those ideas to paper. Antonio has been instrumental in the design and conceptualization of this project.

Antonio consistently impresses me with his performance and enthusiasm. He has creative thinking skills, and is able to analyze and critically assess problems to find the most effective solution. His designs and ideas are extremely creative and he manages to see the big picture without missing the smallest details. I highly recommend that you consider Antonio into your Master of Architecture program. I believe that he will go on to accomplish great architectural feats and I hope that University of Port Harcourt will provide him with the chance to do so.


Samuel Jackson 

Sample 2

John Dove

123 Main Street

Anytown, CA 12345


[email protected]

February 2, 2022

Jeffery William

Office of the Registrar

Ignatius School

123 Iwofe Rd.

Iwofe City, PH 54300

Dear Mr. William,

I highly recommend Emile Samantha as a candidate for graduate school. I have worked with Emile in my position as Education Department Chairman at Amen College. 

While a student at Amen, Emile maintained a 4.98 CGPA while taking honors classes and seminars. She excelled as the top student in the advanced Teaching Methods course I teach; her other professors in our department speak highly of her participation in their classes, as well.

Apart from her classwork, Emile has also been employed in various positions including teaching a museum program to fourth-grade classes, teaching both adults and children to ride horses, and running a horse show for a local riding stable.

 Emile has a wonderful rapport with people of all ages, especially the children which she has worked with at schools and family center.  Emile has a special talent working with children who need more guidance and support.

Her ability to connect with her students and her talent at teaching to simplicity, even with advanced topics is truly superb. She has good written and verbal communication skills, is organized, reliable, and a computer literate.

Emile would be an excellent addition to your program and I recommend her to you without any doubts. For further questions with regard to her achievement or qualifications, please do not hesitate to contact me. 



John Dove

Chairman, Department of Education


Have a great day.

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