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Reference requirements for PhD and Scholarship Applications

The Graduate Research School has recently standardised reference requirements for domestic and international students, for PhD and scholarship applications.  Experience has shown that external references can sometimes highlight issues that were not apparent to a Department, and the Scholarships Panel requires a standard way of assessing applications. The standard for requesting references is:

• Regardless of scholarship, if known to department – one departmental support letter/reference;
• Regardless of scholarship, if domestic degree but not in department - one departmental support letter/reference and one external* reference;
• If international degree and not applying for scholarship - one departmental support letter/reference and one external reference;
• If international degree and applying for scholarship - one departmental support letter/reference and two external references

* A reference from outside the department is also required in the case where an Otago student is applying for PhD study in a different department from their qualifying degree.

Finally, note that in all cases it is highly preferable that one reference be from a person who has been directly involved in supervising the research work of the applicant’s qualifying degree.