Letters of Recommendations

Letters of Recommendations Should Be Submitted Electronically via the Applicant Portal

If your graduate program requires letters of recommendations, there will be a section on your admissions application to add recommendations. The graduate application only accepts letters received electronically through our online application portal. Neither the graduate program nor Graduate Studies will accept letters of recommendation which have been sent by mail or by e-mail. 

How to Add Recommenders on the Application

In the "Recommendations" section of the application:

  1. Enter the name and email address of the person(s) who will supply your letter(s) of recommendation.
  2. UC Davis will automatically send an email to this address with instructions on how they can upload their letter of recommendation to the admissions portal. 

Note: Because not all graduate programs require recommendations, the "Recommendations" section will not appear until applicants have completed the "Plans for Graduate Study" section.

Communicate the Process With Your Recommenders

Be sure to tell your recommenders they will receive an email with instructions from UC Davis on how to upload their letter of recommendation in the admissions portal.

If your recommender cannot find the request with instructions from UC Davis:

  1. Log on to your applicant status portal
  2. Revisit the "Recommendations" page under your application checklist
  3. Click on the recommender's name and use the "Send Reminder" feature to re-send the email.

If your recommender does not receive the email request within 48 hours, take the following steps:

  • Remind them to check their spam/junk mail folders. The request email may be there.
  • Check to see if they are using an email spam screening system (e.g. Boxbe). If so, ask them to add gradadmit@ucdavis.edu to their safe contacts list.
  • Some non-U.S. universities have email firewalls that delay or prevent delivery of our emails. If your recommender has a non-university email address and is willing to use it for your recommendation, follow the steps below.

If your recommender is not able to access the UC Davis system or upload their letter, please ask them to contact gradadmit@ucdavis.edu and explain the issue they are experiencing. We will assist them. 

Editing or Removing Recommenders and Email Addresses 

The process for correcting a recommender's email address is the same as replacing the recommender. If you would like to change a recommender or edit their email address, follow these steps:

  1. Log on to your applicant status portal
  2. Revisit the "Recommendations" page under your application checklist.
  3. Click on the recommender's name and click the "Exclude" button.
  4. Re-add a recommender using a new email address.  

Even after you’ve submitted your application or the application deadline has passed, you can still log on to your Status Page and revisit the recommendations page. To remove the recommender entirely, simply click "Exclude" on their name. You will then be able to add another recommender to replace them. You can replace any recommender as long as they have not already submitted a recommendation on your behalf. 

Admissions Deadlines and Letters of Recommendations

You may submit your completed admissions application prior to UC Davis receiving all of your letters of recommendations. Once you submit your application, your recommendation providers can still upload their letters of recommendation. After you submit your application, please encourage your recommenders to submit their letters as soon as possible.

Graduate programs understand that, if an applicant applies shortly before the deadline, a recommender may not be able to get their recommendation in before the deadline passes. However, graduate programs will expect letters of recommendation to arrive shortly after the application has been submitted. If you want to make certain that your letters are received in time for your application to be considered, contact the graduate program directly to find out when they expect your application to be complete.

Other Common Questions About Letters of Recommendations

  • My letters of recommendation are held by an automated letter of recommendation service (e.g. Interfolio) which sends out copies via email at my request. Can I send these in to you?
  • No. Because your recommendation providers are required to provide both a letter and complete a short evaluation for you, any recommendations must be submitted via our online application system. We cannot accept letters of recommendation sent to our office (or the graduate program offices) by recommendation services.
  • Can I send in more letters of recommendation than what the graduate program requires?
  • No. Graduate programs are only able to accommodate the specific number of letters they require. For example, if you have five excellent recommendation providers and the program only requires three letters of recommendation, you will need to select only three of the recommendation providers.
  • What does it mean if I waive my right to examine my letter(s) of recommendation?
  • If you select "Yes" and waive your right to examine the recommendation, you are only stating that you will not ask UC Davis to provide you a copy of the recommendation. You may still ask your recommender to provide you with a copy of the letter (as long as your recommender is willing to provide it). Responding "Yes" gives your recommender the option to keep their letter confidential, and the graduate program will know that the recommender had the opportunity to provide an honest assessment. If you select "No" regarding the waiver, you are indicating that you may ask UC Davis to provide you with a copy of your recommendation for review (though the recommendation still may not be used for any other purpose).
  • Can I change my answer to the letter of recommendation confidentiality waiver?
  • If your recommendation provider has not yet submitted their recommendation in the system, you may "exclude" them (see the instructions above) and re-add them to the list after selecting a new waiver option. However, if your recommendation provider has already submitted their recommendation, it is not possible to retroactively change your waiver selection.