Letter of Recommendation (LOR) for UK: Guidelines for UG & PG Courses, Writing Tips & Requirements

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Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Aug 30, 2022 01:36 IST

LOR for UK Guidelines: While applying to any foreign university, applicants generally require two to three letters of recommendation (LORs) for the application process along with other important documents such as the statement of purpose (SOP), essay, resume, and financial documents. For UK universities, at least two LORs are required for the application process. These LORs can be either an academic LOR or a LOR from the professional front. Irrespective of the type of LOR, the document should be able to demonstrate an applicant’s eligibility or suitability for the programme/course. The recommender needs to showcase strong support for the applicant’s candidature and create a favourable impression of the applicant.

LOR for UK: What to include in a LOR?

Before we get into what to include in your LORs, let’s review the format of a LOR. There are no specific requirements for LORs with respect to length, word limit, and formatting. However, in general, it is advised that your LOR should not exceed two pages in length. The letter should be written on the official letterhead of the school, college, or firm that the recommender is associated with and it should contain the referee’s contact details.

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At the beginning of the LOR, there should be a brief introduction of the referee and his/her relationship with the applicant. The recommender should highlight your strengths and skills, with proper instances, and mention where they witnessed you performing or showcasing those skills or strengths. Instances such as discussions, tutorials or coursework can be discussed in order to highlight and support the attributes. Conclude your LOR with an offer for further contact from the referee with their signature and seal or stamp of the institution. Here are some points to be noted while drafting a LOR:

  • Previous study or working experience
  • The referee’s assessment of the applicant’s interest and ability to study the chosen subject
  • The applicant’s achievements in school/college or firm
  • The applicant’s involvement in community or voluntary services, if any
  • The referee’s thoughts on the applicant’s academic/professional record

LOR for UK: Picking the Right Recommender

Picking the correct recommenders for issuing your LORs is as important as the format and content in the LORs. You need to choose the right recommender who has worked with you closely as they can offer a detailed insight into your personality, skills and work. After selecting the referees, you should always inform them of your application and document submission deadlines. It is a good idea to meet with the recommender in advance so that you will have time to discuss the letter if you plan on writing it. Ideally, the LORs should be written by the recommenders themselves to maintain the authenticity of the drafts. However, in some cases, the referees prefer the applicant to draft the initial copy of the LOR and later, the referees refine it by adding their inputs. Also, it is recommended to keep a backup recommender in case any one of the previously finalized referees is unavailable.

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LOR for UK: Writing Tips

UK universities mostly have no standard format, but ideally, the LORs should not exceed one or two pages or as stated by the university. Most UK universities prefer academic references, but some programmes or courses may require professional LORs. Do note that personal references from friends or family members regardless of any academic or professional relationships are NOT accepted. LORs from colleagues may be accepted only if the university accepts them.

Undergraduate LOR for UK

Most UK universities process undergraduate admissions through the Universities and Colleges Admission Services (UCAS) portal. So all your supplementary documents like a personal statement, recommendation letters, or resume. are uploaded on the portal. At least one letter of recommendation is required for UG courses or a maximum of two which can be provided by a subject teacher, school tutor, headteacher, school counsellor, or the Principal. When two LORs are required, at least one LOR should be from the school counsellor and the other can be from a subject teacher.

Postgraduate LOR for UK

For master's programmes, UK universities require two LORs. Depending upon the department and university, applicants are required to provide academic and/or professional LORs. Check MS LOR Sample here. LORs for MBA courses are mostly sourced from the professional front. However, one academic reference may also be required as per university instructions. Here are some general MBA LOR requirements for top UK universities:


MBA LOR Requirements

The University of Manchester

One professional or academic LOR

Imperial College London

Two professional LORs

University College London

Two academic LORs or one academic and one professional LOR

University of Oxford

Two professional or academic LORs

University of Cambridge

One professional LOR

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About the Author
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

With over 8 years of experience in overseas education, Rahul Singha has been previously associated with prominent education houses. He is also responsible for keeping a sharp eye on education policies of major study... Read Full Bio


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