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Answers to questions from real grad school applicants. For more information check out our pages on the TheGradCafe and Quora.

Can you apply to graduate school if you don’t have references from former professors?

It will be difficult, but it will depend on the specific graduate program to which you are applying. In the case of programs with an applied, practical focus, the admissions committee members may not care whether you established strong relationships with your college professors. Relevant work experience and solid academic skills should do the trick. On the other hand, for research PhD programs you will need at least one reference from a former professor. If you don’t have one we recommend applying for a pre-PhD masters program first.

How admissions committees look at references was last modified: October 13th, 2017 by Gabe