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ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Social Sciences

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Referees are kindly requested to submit a reference letter, to assist the University in making a full assessment of each application.

What should I include in my reference?

Please read the guidance below, which provides a suggestion of what to include in your reference letter and instructions for sending your reference. 

We ask that referees comment on the academic ability and general suitability of the applicant for postgraduate research, and any other information you may consider relevant (e.g. any relevant circumstances concerning the eligibility criteria).

Please ensure that the applicant's name is clearly visible in your reference letter and if possible, please include the following:

  • the name of the applicant, so that we can attach your reference to the correct application;
  • the duration and extent of your familiarity with the applicant;
  • the specific course the applicant is on;
  • their general aptitude and academic potential;
  • their academic achievements (including prizes, publications etc);
  • their relevant skills and experience (eg academic writing, work and/or research experience, laboratory skills, etc);
  • their suitability for postgraduate study/research; and
  • their relevant personal characteristics (eg independence, innovation or determination).

How do I submit my reference?

If you have been nominated as a referee, you will automatically receive an email when the student submits their application.

You will need to send your reference to us by email ( as a PDF attachment.

To be considered valid, you should send your reference from your professional/institutional email address. Where this is not possible (eg because you have retired), please explain the circumstances in your reference letter.

Please submit your reference by the deadline shown in our email.

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