You must nominate two suitable referees by providing their contact details in your online application and you must ensure that each of your nominated referees submits a reference in support of your application. You should use each referee’s academic/official email address when nominating your referees. Once you have completed the References section of your online application, your referees will automatically receive a reference request email from us asking them to submit their reference via our online referee portal. This is a secure and confidential service for referees and helps speed up the decision-making process.
You may submit your application without waiting until we have received your references: as long as you have successfully nominated two referees and completed all other mandatory sections of the application form, you are ready to submit your application. Please note, however, that your submitted application will not be processed and considered until we have received a reference from each of your nominated referees.
References are an important part of your application. Selectors are particularly interested in the referees’ assessment of your academic ability and potential, skills and qualities, and motivation and suitability, relevant to the programme(s) you are applying for. Therefore, it is in your best interest to nominate two suitable referees who are able to speak to these points to support your application. In most cases, this will be two academic referees.
Academic referees should have taught you during your university-level studies, preferably in relevant courses, at your current or most recent institution(s). They should know your academic work well and be able to comment in detail on your academic performance and ability, skills and qualities, and motivation and suitability, relevant to the programme(s) you are applying for.
You are expected to provide academic references in support of your application wherever possible. However, in some cases, professional references may be acceptable. This might be where you graduated a number of years ago and it is not possible to provide a suitable academic reference, or where a professional reference might be considered appropriate. However, selectors may ask for an additional reference if those submitted are not considered suitable. A professional referee should normally be your line manager/supervisor from your current or most recent employment. They should know your work well and be able to comment in detail on your ability, skills and qualities, and motivation and suitability, relevant to the programme(s) you are applying for.
Please note that personal or character references, such as those from family or friends, or references from someone who taught you below degree level, are not acceptable.
Please check the programme-specific information below as well as the relevant programme page(s) via our available programmes page for any programme-specific guidance on references before nominating your referees to ensure you have chosen two suitable referees.
We strongly recommend that you contact your prospective referees before nominating them to confirm that they are happy to provide a reference for you and that they are able to do this in a timely manner, and to let them know to expect a reference request email. It is also helpful to discuss your decision to pursue your chosen programme(s) of study with your referees beforehand, and to provide them with further information about the programme(s) including the entry requirements, to support them in writing a suitable reference for you.
Your referees will be asked to complete a short questionnaire, which includes general questions about their relationship to you as well as specific questions regarding their assessment of you. They will then be asked to upload your written letter of reference, in which they have been encouraged to comment on your academic ability and potential, skills and qualities, and motivation and suitability, relevant to the programme(s) you are applying for. All references must be submitted in English. Both the questionnaire and reference will be added to your application. More details regarding the information and guidance provided for referees can be found here.
Please note: if we have cause to suspect that your references are not genuine, we will take reasonable steps to determine their validity, and your application may be cancelled.
Applicants for Executive programmes should note that all Executive programmes are willing to consider one academic and one professional reference. Additionally, the following programmes are willing to consider two professional references:
- Executive MSc Cities (K4U1)
- Executive MSc International Strategy and Diplomacy (L2UJ)
- Executive Global MSc Management (N2U9)
- Executive MSc Social Business and Entrepreneurship (N2UC)
- Executive MSc Health Economics, Outcomes and Management in Cardiovascular Sciences (L4CS)
- Executive MSc Health Economics, Policy and Management (L4HM)
- Double Executive MSc Health Policy (with Chicago) (L4HP)
Applicants for the Executive Master of Laws (M3U5) are required to provide at least one academic reference. Two professional references will be acceptable if you have been out of school for five years or more and are unable to obtain an academic reference. Applicants for the Executive MSc in Evaluation of Health Care Interventions and Outcomes in collaboration with NICE (L4HN) may provide two professional references if they are unable to provide an academic reference.
Please be aware that when you submit your online application, we will consider it as complete only once we have received two references. You don't need to (and should not) arrange for more than two references to be sent. We will not accept additional references unless the selectors request them during the decision-making process.
More information about supplying references can be found here.