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Letters of Recommendation

The Graduate School requires three recommendation letters in support of your application (Applications for Graduate Liberal Studies require only two recomendation letters). Your recommenders must submit their letters of recommendation electronically via the online recommendation system.  

We strongly discourage requesting more than three recommendations unless you are asked to do so by the department to which you are applying. Rather than improving your chances of admission, an excessive number of recommendation letters may actually cause application reviewers to view your file unfavorably.

Should you receive and accept an offer of admission, your recommenders may be asked to verify their authorship of the submitted recommendation letters.

How to Submit

In the Recommendations section of the online application, choose "Add Recommender" to enter the contact information of your recommenders, including their e-mail addresses. Each recommender will then receive an e-mail that includes a link to an online recommendation form. This is the form the recommender will use to upload a letter in support of your application. We ask that you provide professional email addresses for your recommenders if possible. Recommendations sent to a general email account (Gmail or Yahoo, for example) will be more closely monitored in our application credentials review process.

Currently, The Graduate School's online recommendation system is not compatible with Interfolio or other letter services. To submit a recommendation that has been filed with Interfolio, fill out the recommendation section of the application with your recommender's professional email address. Then ask Interfolio to email that recommendation letter to grad-admissions-center@duke.eduNote: your recommender will receive an email from our online application system with a link to the online recommendation form. Please let them know that they can ignore that email because Interfolio will be submitting their recommendation on their behalf.

Requesting Recommendations

Request letters of recommendation from people best qualified to attest to your capacity for graduate work. We prefer to have academic references representing your major field, though we realize that there are situations where this may not be possible. In such circumstances, seek out people who can comment on qualities that will be relevant to your academic pursuits, particularly research.

Frequently asked questions about letters of recommendation