Two interns reviewing information on a computer monitor
Graduate Access Programme participants discussing a research project
(Image credit: Phil Brooks)

Guidance for UNIQ+ referees

This page provides guidance to individuals who have been requested to provide a reference for a UNIQ+ Research Internships applicant.

What is the reference for?

The UNIQ+ Research Internship programme offers an experience of postgraduate study at the University of Oxford. It is aimed at those from areas of low progression to postgraduate study.

What should I include in my reference?

Referees are kindly requested to submit a reference letter to assist the University in making a full assessment of each application. 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, academic potential, and general suitability of the applicant for participation in the UNIQ+ Research Internships programme at Oxford, and any other information you may consider relevant. Please ensure that the applicant's name is clearly visible in your reference letter.

If possible, please include the following in your reference letter:

  • the name of the applicant, so that we can attach your reference to the correct application;
  • a brief description of your own background and qualifications so we understand the basis of your assessment;
  • the duration and extent of your familiarity with the applicant so our assessors can appreciate how well positioned you are to comment on their suitability for the programme;
  • the specific course the applicant is/was on;
  • their academic achievements and academic potential, including interim grades from any in progress course if known;
  • confirmation of any prizes awarded and extra-curricular activities undertaken if known;
  • their relevant skills and academic experience (eg communication skills including academic writing, laboratory skills, critical thinking, independent and collaborative work, ability to organise workload, data analysis);
  • their suitability for participating in a postgraduate access and widening participation programme at Oxford (if you are including any information about personal extenuating circumstances please ensure that you have the applicant's explicit agreement); and
  • their relevant personal characteristics (eg independence, innovation or determination).

Note that reference letters should be typically 500-1,000 words and should not normally exceed two pages. You should write in enough detail to give specific examples of their qualities and achievements, but longer letters will not be taken as indicating greater support.


In the event of a subject access request, your reference may be disclosed to the applicant. If you wish your reference to be treated as confidential, please clearly indicate this at the top of the letter.

How do I submit my reference?

If you have been registered by the applicant as a referee, we will send you an email containing instructions on how to submit your reference. Please submit your reference by 12:00 midday UK time on Wednesday 21 February 2024.

You will be sent an email with a link to a form through which you can upload your reference as a PDF attachment. You can convert Microsoft Word (or similar) documents into PDF format by selecting 'Save As' from the file menu and selecting 'PDF' from the drop-down 'save as type' field. If the applicant has let you know that they have requested a reference, but you have not received the reference request, please check your junk/spam email (the email will have been sent from [email protected]).

If the applicant has registered your personal (rather than a professional or institutional) email address, please explain the reason (eg if you have retired or left an academic position) in your reference letter.

If you are unwilling or no longer able to act as a referee, please let the applicant know directly.

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