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Letters of Recommendation

General Information

  • Three references are required; five are allowed.
  • Locate and contact your recommenders at least a month in advance of the application deadline (December 1, 2014) to find out if they are willing to provide an electronic reference and to allow adequate time for them to respond.
  • As soon as you enter a recommender's contact information electronically, he or she will receive an email request.
  • Letters will only be accepted in electronic form through the UW Graduate School application system.
  • Types of references Required:
    • One (preferably two) reference(s) from a professor(s) or equivalent academic source who knows your work well.
    • One (or more) letter(s) that speaks to your research potential is especially helpful.
    • Letters from recommenders holding a doctorate (or a non-us equivalent) carry much more weight than letters without such credentials. A letter from a public health professional with a master's degree might serve as a fourth reference particularly if it addresses relevant aspects of your background not likely to be covered in other letters...
    • Letters from professors or supervisors in fields unrelated to public health, health sciences, mathematics or quantitative social sciences carry significantly less weight.
    • Letters from colleagues, as opposed to supervisors, carry very little weight.
    • Do not send letters from relatives, non-professional sources, and other students.
  • It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure references are submitted by December 1.

Specialized Reference Required for UW Postdoc Fellows

  • A UW postdoc fellow or resident must have a reference letter from both the fellowship director and research mentor (if known) stating unequivocally that the applicant will have release time from clinical and research responsibilities that enable him/her to attend all classes on a regular basis and to study and work outside of class sufficiently to perform well in the program. First year requires class attendance 5 days/week. Flexibility in the clinic/lab schedules is necessary because core course times vary depending on the quarter.

We High Recommend that Each Applicant Send the Following Information to Recommenders:

  • Electronic copies of transcripts, resume or CV, and goal statement.
  • The following text:

  • For Recommenders of Applicants to the Epidemiology Department, University of Washington:

  • Each recommender will receive a system-generated email request to submit an on-line reference so he or she should make sure that the request is not discarded as spam.
  • Recommenders should comment in detail about the accomplishments, training and experience that qualify the applicant for a degree and career in epidemiology and public health. Evaluation of the applicant's health science research experience is especially helpful, if applicable.
  • Clinical residency or fellowship references are inadequate, as are references that are only general in nature.
  • Late references may prevent consideration or reduce admission chances for the applicant.

Application Submission Instructions

    This page was last updated on August 20, 2015