Academic Reference help


Hello everyone, first post here...

I need advice on obtaining academic references for my MA applications. At undergraduate level we barely knew our personal tutors, they weren't really part of our course, so in applying for a Masters I've had to ask individual module tutors who actually know me, for a reference.
The problem is I'm applying for a few courses, and I'm a bit worried about potentially bombarding these tutors for reference requests. Is this all part of life for a university tutor, or does anyone know if I'm supposed to get a more generic reference from the School of English (where I studied).
Also is it common to apply to a load of different universities for Master's degrees, like when applying for undergraduate courses?

Thanks in advance :)


Hi Leightonjonny! Any link there to Leighton Buzzard ?! Firstly, it's totally standard to bombard your old profs for reference requests - it is indeed a regular activity for university tutors and they expect it. I know how strange it feels having to constantly grovel to them, especially when you were just one in a sea of students, but really it isn't that hard for them. They do tend to have a template which they edit accordingly, and when they have done it once they can just shoot it off to whichever institution you need - the lucky/senior ones sometimes have PAs, especially at the top unis, and they tend to just get them to do this. So don't be put off approaching profs, even if they didn't know you well. For my Master's I remember one of my references was a guy who only taught me one class/seminar. In my approach email I said, "you probably won't remember me but...." and supplied a whole bunch of info of the units I took/grades/stuff I did at the uni etc to jog his memory - which is always a good idea - though in his reply he said "I do of course remember you.." as if it was foolish to think he wouldn't. It gets even weirder when you are applying for PhDs more years down the line, knocking on their doors once again!

Regards the second query - yes it's fine to apply to a few uni's. It is much more like undergrad in that sense. Just one point though, in your app you should still show why you are choosing each uni/course in particular and just be aware some might ask what other unis you have applied to. Hope that helps!


Thanks Bismarck your post is loads of help, my profs aren't gonna know what has hit them lol! I'm glad it's a part of their university life, feel much better about just applying now!

Oh and no link to Leighton Buzzard, Leighton's just my surname hehe!!