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.

  • We also accept references via Interfolio, a U.S. based electronic reference service. Interfolio references should be directed to graduate.sas@ubc.ca.

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 website for the required number and format of references to be submitted.