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Postgraduate Study


Please check if your question has been answered below before contacting the Postgraduate Admissions Office with your enquiry. If your question has not been answered, use our Contact form to get in touch with us.

Q. Where can I find instructions for referees?

Instructions for academic referees can be found on our Academic References page.

Instructions for personal referees can be found on our Gates Cambridge References page.

Q. When will I receive an email requesting a reference?

When the applicant completes the online application form they will be asked to provide details of referees, including their referees' email addresses. A reference request can then be sent from the online application form to the referee. References are then submitted by the referee via our online Referee Portal, as described in our guidance for academic references, and the applicant will be notified when they have been submitted. The applicant is also able to send reminders to their referees via the online application form.

Please note that the Postgraduate Admissions Office are not able to accept references sent by email either from the applicant or directly from the referee.

Q. I have logged into Postgraduate References but can't see the application(s) I expected to. Why is this?

This might be because the application is ‘Inactive’. Please contact the applicant, who will have access to further information about the application.

Q. What kind of file can I upload?

You may only upload Portable Document Format (PDF) files (with the extension .pdf). These may be no more than 2 MB in size.

Q. I wish to provide a reference on paper. How can I do that?

If you are not able to provide a reference via the Referee Portal, please contact to discuss your case. 

Q. Can I amend or retract my reference after submission?

You are not able to amend or download your reference once it has been submitted. Please contact if you wish to make changes OR to retract your reference after submission.

Q. I have submitted my reference but the applicant claims not to have received it. Why is this?

References can take up to 24 hours to appear on an applicant's account.

If the reference does not appear, please log back in to the Postgraduate References system and ensure that you have completed all confirmation steps. If you have not, the reference will still be listed.

Both you and the applicant will receive an email to confirm submission of the reference when all steps have been completed.

Q. Is my reference confidential?

The University will treat your reference securely and in confidence. Confidential references normally are exempt from disclosure to the applicant under the terms of data protection legislation. Despite this, we often receive requests from applicants for copies of their references. By default we will not disclose your reference without checking with you first.

References are held electronically with the student's application, along with all other supporting documents. Applicants cannot view the references; they will only know when they have been received.

Q. How do you store the personal data I submit?

Your own personal information (name, contact details, etc.) will be stored with your reference against the applicant’s record and will be retained in line with our standard procedures for applicant data. For more information about how we handle personal data, please see our Information Compliance website