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Graduate Program / Information for Prospective Graduate Students / Guidelines for Letters of Recommendation

Guidelines for Letters of Recommendation

Guidelines for References for Applicants to Graduate Programs in Mathematics at the University of Kentucky

Thank you for agreeing to write a letter of recommendation. We are concerned that there be a close match between our program and the goals, training, and interests of our students. A frank appraisal, by a person who knows the applicant well, is our best source of information.

It would be helpful to us if you would address as many of the following points as you can.

  • How long, how well, and in what way have you known the applicant?
  • How would you rank the applicant's mathematical knowledge and training in comparison with other students you have taught?
  • Does the applicant have the motivation to complete a Ph.D.?
  • Is the applicant mature and professional?
  • How well-developed are the applicant's teaching, tutoring, and computing skills?
  • How well does the applicant get along with peers and with faculty?
  • Is the applicant a person of integrity?

Overall we would like to get a sense of the applicant's "trajectory"--how they have developed and matured, and how the applicant's interests and aspirations have evolved over time. Although we will consider applicants at any time, it would be most helpful if we receive your letter by January 15 for students who are being considered for assistantships and/or fellowships and by April 15 for admission in August of the same year. 

We realize that writing these letters is a time-consuming task. Thank you for your willingness to do this. If possible, please upload your letter directly to our online application system. If you are unable to do this, please send your letter to:

Benjamin Braun, Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Mathematics
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0027
859-257-6810 [voice]
859-257-4078 [fax]