Letters of Recommendation: Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many letters of recommendation are required and who should write them?
  2. Must all of my recommenders submit their letters online?
  3. Can some of my recommenders submit the letters online, and others mail their letters?
  4. My recommender does not have an email address and cannot be registered in the online system. What do I do?
  5. I have more than three recommenders. Will they be accepted?
  6. Should I wait to submit my application until all letters of recommendation are complete?
  7. Do I have to submit my online application before my recommenders can access the system?
  8. If my letters of recommendation are sent before I submit my online application, will there be a problem?
  9. Can I add or change my recommenders after I have submitted my online application?
  10. Can my recommenders email or fax their recommendation letters rather than use the online system?
  11. How do I know if my recommender has received my request for them to write a recommendation?
  12. My recommender hasn’t completed their recommendation. What should I do?
  13. My recommender says they never received the notification email asking them to write a recommendation, or they accidentally lost the email. What should I do?
  14. Do you accept recommendations or other documents from a credentials service or a career services office (e.g., Interfolio or my undergraduate institution)?
  15. How do I know if you received my recommendation from a specific recommender?



1. How many letters of recommendation are required and who should write them?

Three letters of recommendation from persons who know your academic qualifications are required. Recommenders should be chosen from people most familiar with your former studies, research interests, or work, including at least one instructor in the institution you last attended. The Graduate School prefers recommendations from instructors familiar with your work in the field in which you expect to study. If you have been out of school for some time, a letter from an employer or supervisor should be provided. Exception to the policy of three letters of recommendation is as follows: (1) the advanced certificate program in Ergonomics requires two references, but they are not asked to write letters of recommendation.

2. Must all of my recommenders submit their letters online?

Yes. The Graduate School asks that you register your recommenders in the online application and requires that your recommenders use the online system. It is easy for the recommender, greatly facilitates the processing of your application, and insures the department receives all materials together at the same time.

We understand that in very exceptional circumstances a recommender may find that he or she is not able to use the online system (e.g., no access to the internet). Even so, you must still register the recommender in the online application. Ask the recommender to send their letter to the Graduate School in a sealed envelope with her/his signature written across the flap. Please note that we will not accept the letter by email or fax.

The mailing address is as follows:
U.S. Postal Service (including express and priority mail):
New York University
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Graduate Enrollment Services
P.O. Box 907
New York, NY 10276-0907

FedEx, DHL, UPS, or other express mail service (do not use for U.S. Postal Service express or priority mail):
New York University
Graduate School of Arts and Science
Graduate Enrollment Services
One-half Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Telephone: (212) 998-8050

3. Can some of my recommenders submit the letters online, and others mail their letters?

Only in exceptional circumstances. Please refer to the reply to question 2 above.

4. My recommender does not have an email address and cannot be registered in the online system. What do I do?

If your recommender does not have an email address, then you cannot register them in the online system. Since you cannot register them, you should ask them to submit their recommendation by mail. See the answer to question 2 above for how to proceed.

5. I have more than three recommenders. Will they be accepted?

The Graduate School requires three letters of recommendation. Most applicants find this number is sufficient and you should not submit additional letters unless there are strong reasons for doing so.

6. Should I wait to submit my application until all letters of recommendation are complete?

No. Submit your application as soon as you have completed it. We will match your letters of recommendation to your application when they arrive.

7. Do I have to submit my online application before my recommenders can access the system?

No. We encourage you to register your recommenders early, even before you submit your application. Once your recommender is registered, he or she will receive an email with information on how they can access the system to submit a recommendation on your behalf. Then, after you submit your online application, it will be matched with all letters submitted on your behalf.

8. If my letters of recommendation are sent before I submit my online application, will there be a problem?

No, there will not be a problem. The letters will be matched with your application once you submit it.

9. Can I add or change my recommenders after I have submitted my online application?

Please be sure to register all of your recommenders in the Letters of Recommendation section of your application before you submit your application. You cannot revoke a recommendation letter once it has been submitted by the recommender. You may delete a recommender who has not submitted a letter by using the "edit" link to "exclude" their name. You may add a new recommender to your listing only if you have at least one recommendation that has not been submitted. You do this by clicking on the "Add Recommender" link. If all of your recommenders have submitted their letters, then it is not possible for you to add a new recommender to your application without assistance. Please email gsas.admissions@nyu.edu in such cases.

10. Can my recommenders email or fax their recommendation letters rather than use the online system?

No. We do not accept recommendation letters by email or fax.

11. How do I know if my recommender has received my request for them to write a recommendation?

You can check the status of your recommendations for each recommender by going to your Application Status page and looking at the Application Checklist section. Below each recommender's name you will see if it was "sent to recommender," "in progress," or "submitted."

12. My recommender hasn’t completed their recommendation. What should I do?

You can send your recommender a reminder. You do this on your Letters of Recommendations page. Choose the recommender, click "Edit" and click "Send Reminder."

13. My recommender says they never received the notification email asking them to write a recommendation, or they accidentally lost the email. What should I do?

The most common reason why the registration email is not received by a recommender is because the notification email is blocked by a "spam" filter as part of their email software. Please ask your recommender to double-check their email messages and their spam folder, looking for a message from "NYU Graduate Enrollment Services" with a subject line that says, "Letter of recommendation request for Your Name," where Your Name is the name on your online application.

If they cannot find the email message, or they accidentally lost it, you can resend the registration email message to your recommender. You do this on your Letters of Recommendations page. Choose the recommender, click "Edit" and click "Send Reminder." You can still do this if you have already submitted the online application.

If the email message is still not received after the second attempt, then please ask your recommender if they have an alternative email address. Use the "Add Recommender" link to send a request to them at the new email address. You may also "Edit" and then "Exclude" the first unsuccessful email listing.

If the email message is still not received after those attempts, then you will need to ask them to send the recommendation by mail. Please see the answer to question 2 (above).

14. Do you accept recommendations or other documents from a credentials service or a career services office (e.g., Interfolio or my undergraduate institution)?

No, we do not accept letters of recommendation via Interfolio and other credentials services. This policy became effective September 1, 2010.

We do not accept any other documents through Interfolio and other services. The personal statement should be included in your online application and not sent through them. Transcripts and translations should be uploaded to your online application, as well.

15. How do I know if you received my recommendation from a specific recommender?

You can check the status of your recommendations by going to your Application Status page and looking at the Application Checklist section. Below each recommender's name you will see if it was "submitted." Also, the status will show as "received" with a green check mark.




Updated on 10/20/2016