Information for referees | University of Oxford
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Information for referees

Referees are kindly requested to submit an online reference form, including a reference letter, to assist the University in making a thorough assessment of each applicant’s academic record and abilities.

How to submit your reference

As soon as an applicant registers you as a referee, you will receive a short automated email providing you with the applicant's details, a link to the online reference system and the deadline by which the reference is required, as entered by the applicant in their application form.

Submitting a reference will involve the following steps:

  • access the reference system using the link supplied to you
  • answer a short series of questions regarding the applicant
  • upload your reference letter on professional/institutional letter-headed paper as a PDF file
  • submit your reference.

FAQ: How to convert your document to PDF file format

Once you have submitted the form, a confirmation will appear on screen. Please note that you will not receive a confirmation email, and that you will not be able to access your reference letter once submitted, so you may wish to retain a copy for your records.

Your reference letter

Your reference letter should comment on the applicant’s academic achievements (or relevant professional achievements, if professional), your assessment of their work under your supervision, their suitability for the course they are applying to, and any other information you consider relevant.

Your reference should be uploaded on institutional or professional letter-headed paper. In exceptional cases where this is not possible (eg, if you have retired), please include your contact information and details of your current and/or previous relevant position in your reference.

Automated emails and reminders

Your initial registration email and any subsequent emails from the online reference system are sent immediately on the applicant’s request. The timing and frequency of these automated emails are therefore under each applicant’s control, though all applicants are also strongly advised to maintain personal contact with each of their referees throughout the process.

If you misplace or do not receive the initial email, the applicant can re-send this to you, as well as subsequent reminders.

Deadlines for references

Please note that all references must be received by the University’s application deadline in order for that application to be considered.

It is the applicant's responsibility to accurately communicate the deadline that they intend to use to you, to ensure that all referees are given good notice of the deadline they intend to apply for, and to arrange alternative referees if any of their referees cannot meet the deadline.