Essential References

Postgraduate Taught Applicants – 1 reference

Applicants for Postgraduate Taught courses must submit at least one reference. In most cases these will be academic references but in some cases it will be a work based/professional reference (e.g. for Masters courses with the Department of Information Studies or for experienced non-graduates).

Offers may be made for Postgraduate Taught courses prior to the receipt of any references. The offer would then stipulate that a satisfactory reference was required as a condition of the offer. Applicants will not be admitted without satisfactory references.

N.B. Excludes PGCE and Graduate Diploma in Law.

N.B. Applications for the Masters in Archive Administration should ideally provide a professional reference to comment on relevant work experience. An academic reference may also be provided in addition to this. 


Postgraduate Research Applicants (MPhil, PhD and LLM by Research) – 2 references

Please note that all applicants for Postgraduate research programmes must submit two academic references with their application form. 


Reference Criteria

Please ensure all references meet the following criteria, each reference should:

  • Be written on letterhead paper. Emailed references will only be considered if they are sent directly from the referee’s official work email. We do not accept references from yahoo, gmail or hotmail accounts, for example.
  • Be signed and dated by the referee. Email references that meet the above criteria are the exception.
  • Contain the contact details and position of the referee.
  • State your name, address and the course you have applied for.
  • State how long the referee has known you and in what capacity.
  • Address the issue of your suitability for the course you have applied for.

The University provides downloadable reference forms on the applying offline page. You may pass these forms on to your referees for them to complete and return to the University. See our page about applying offline for address details.


It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the required reference/s are forwarded to us. We do not contact referees to enquire after missing letters.