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References

Frequently Asked Questions

Three academic references are requested for all applicants; however, professional references will automatically be allowed in place of academic references as follows:

  • Applicant’s credential received less than 5 years ago: up to one professional reference letter automatically allowed.
  • Applicant’s credential received between 5 and 10 years ago: up to two professional reference letters automatically allowed.
  • Applicant’s credential received more than 10 years ago: up to three professional reference letters automatically allowed.
Applicants wishing to provide professional references in place of academic references - beyond what is automatically allowed above - should obtain permission from the program coordinator.

An academic reference is provided by a college or university instructor, usually holding a PhD. The academic reference will have instructed or supervised you during your academic studies. The academic referee will be asked to comment, where applicable, on your academic preparation, originality, skill at research, industry, intellectual capacity, and teaching ability.

A professional reference is provided by an individual who has worked with you in the field of your intended graduate study in a supervisory capacity. The professional referee will be asked to comment, where applicable, on your academic preparation, practice competence, creativity, working relationships, work ethic, critical thinking skills, research skills, intellectual capacity, and teaching ability.

All other references are considered "personal." PERSONAL REFERENCES ARE NOT ACCEPTED.

If your referee is retired and does not have an institutional email address, you will be required to arrange for the submission of a fourth reference.

In all cases, it is recommended that you arrange for the submission of academic references who have valid institutional email addresses, so that the completion of your application is not delayed.

References can be submitted by referees online via the online reference system. Referees are automatically sent an instructional email upon the submission of an online application. The automated e-mail is sent to the e-mail address indicated in the referee section of the online application.

The referee may also choose to submit a reference via email to gradadmissions.ok@ubc.ca or mail a reference to our office:

College of Graduate Studies
EME 2121 - 1137 Alumni Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7
Canada

In the case of references submitted via email, the referee must submit the reference from their institutional email address.

If a referee chooses to submit a reference via mail, the reference letter should be written on institutional letterhead, placed in a sealed envelope and the referee should sign across the seal of the envelope. The reference letter must include, in English, the professor’s name and contact information (including the institutional address).

Yes, all references are verified for their authenticity.

As such, we are unable to accept references from free email accounts such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc. References must be received from an institutional email address in order to be considered official.

If your referee does not have an institutional email address, they should mail a reference letter written on institutional letterhead, place it in a sealed envelope, sign across the seal of the envelope, and address it to the College of Graduate Studies. The reference letter must include, in English, the professor’s name and contact information (including the institutional address).

Applicants are responsible for selecting appropriate referees and ensuring that their referees complete & submit the references prior to the application deadline. Applicants can check the status of the references via the online application checklist.

It is recommended that applicants contact the referees prior to listing their contact information in the online application form.

Choose your referees carefully. References are critical application components and are reviewed carefully.

Once the applicant submits his/her online application, you will receive an automated email message from the College of Graduate Studies with instructions on how to submit your reference.

Through the online system you have two options:

1. Fill out the online reference form.

2. Upload an attachment. Attach a PDF or Word version of your letter of reference. Please put the reference on your letterhead and sign. Scan and upload as a PDF whenever possible.

If you would like to submit your reference via email, you may send your PDF document to gradadmissions.ok@ubc.ca

References submitted in this way will be considered valid only when sent from an institutional email addresses (i.e. john.smith@ubc.ca) directly to the College of Graduate Studies.

If you do not have an institutional email address, you should mail a reference letter written on institutional letterhead, place it in a sealed envelope, sign across the seal of the envelope, and address it to the College of Graduate Studies. The reference letter must include, in English, the your name and contact information (including the institutional address).

College of Graduate Studies
EME 2121 - 1137 Alumni Avenue
Kelowna, BC V1V 1V7
Canada

References must be submitted directly to the College of Graduate Studies and never to the applicant.

You should receive a confirmation email indicating receipt of your reference. The confirmation email will be sent within 5 business days.

To complete the form, you must use Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat. The Viewer program does not work for completing these forms. If you experience difficulties completing or submitting the form, we recommend Mac users try an alternate method of submitting the reference (online or paper submission).

A well written letter of reference adds life to the applicant's dossier, introduces what is unique and exciting about the individual, gives a flavor of what it would be like to interact with this person and gives us information not communicated by the rest of the application. A "value-added" letter of reference can not only help the applicant obtain deserved funding and recognition, but provide useful data to the university in selecting the best candidates. For more info, see the McGill presentation on Writing Effective Reference Letters.

Last reviewed shim5/30/2017 3:40:02 PM