Letters of Reference

A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications. 

There are three possible formats for references:

Electronic references: Many graduate programs utilize an electronic reference ("e-ref") system. In the online application system, applicants are asked to provide an email address for each referee. (Please note, that we are unable to accept e-mails from Hotmail, Yahoo, GMail, MSN or other free e-mail accounts for referees.) A unique link will be emailed to each referee, allowing them to log in to a secure site and submit an online reference or upload a reference document as an attachment.

Paper letters of reference. Your referee may wish to send a paper letter. Paper letters of reference should be on referee's official letterhead and must be mailed directly to the relevant program in a sealed and endorsed envelope.

Paper reference forms. UBC provides an academic reference form and a professional reference form.

  • The academic reference form is used in situations where the referee is someone who you have interacted with in an academic setting (e.g. referee was the professor of a course in which you were enrolled).
  • The professional reference form is used in situations where the reference is someone who you have interacted with in a professional setting (e.g. referee was your supervisor at work).

Your referee will fill out the applicable reference form and mail it directly to the relevant program in a sealed and endorsed envelope.

Note: Some graduate programs have special requirements for references. Check the individual graduate program's web site for the required number and format of references to be submitted.

The following programs require different reference forms: