Postgraduate study
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You will usually be asked to provide references in support of your application.

Reference requirements

Reference requirements vary between degree programmes: some programmes do not ask for any references, while others require either one or two references. Find the specific reference requirements for your chosen programme in our degree finder.

Degree finder

Choosing your referees

Appropriate people to provide your references would include a Personal Tutor (or equivalent) or another academic who has taught you at undergraduate or masters level. They should be able to comment on your potential to undertake postgraduate study.

If it is a while since you graduated you may be able to supply a work-related reference in place of an academic one. This would typically be written by a line manager.

Requesting a reference

Download our reference request template, which will help you prepare a request to send to your referee. 

Providing your references

There are multiple ways you can provide your references.   

For applicants: guidance on providing references with your application


You can supply us with your references online in the following ways: 

Upload references to the Applicant Hub your application 

You can upload the reference yourself. A reference must be printed on headed paper, dated, and hand-signed. 

This can then be scanned and uploaded to the Applicant Hub when submitting your application.

Applicant Hub

If you have not uploaded your references at the point of submitting your application, you can upload them to the Applicant Hub a later date.

We can contact your referee directly 

You can provide us with the referees’ email addresses in your application, and we will send a reference request by email. This will provide them with a link to upload a reference direct to your application, or to send it directly to us. 

Reference requests will not be generated until you receive your University Username (UUN) (7-digit number beginning with an S). It can take up to 7 days to receive your UUN after you have submitted your application. 

Please note that the system will only send one email, and that it is your responsibility to send reminders if required. 

Please ensure that your referees are prepared and able to provide the references within five working days of the submission of your application. However, it may take longer for reference requests to be issued, depending on the volume of applications being processed at the time.

For referees: guidance on providing references for your students

Your referee can email us directly  

Your referee can email their reference to us directly at   

They must use their professional email address and quote your name, UUN and the programme you have applied for. 

We can upload the reference from there. 

For referees: guidance on providing references for your students

By post

You can post your references to the relevant College or School office. Please ensure that your full name and date of birth are clearly indicated on each reference. If you have already applied and received your UUN you should also include this.

Contact  details for your programme can be found on your programme's entry in the Degree finder.

Degree finder

The legal context of providing references

  • Your referee does not need your consent to provide a reference for you. By requesting a reference, you are taking steps towards making a contract with the University, and there is a legal basis ("performance of a contract") that allows your referee to use your personal information for this purpose.
  • Your referee cannot provide confidential references; they must be prepared to share the reference with you.
  • Your referee has a legal obligation to use due care when compiling your reference in order to ensure its accuracy.
  • As references involve the sharing, handling and disclosure of personal data, they are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation.