Submitting your references

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Submitting your references

Learn how to submit your reference(s) when you apply

If you are applying without the help of a school, college or other education centre, you might need to provide contact information for referees.

These are people who will support your application by telling us about your recent work or study, either directly or through UCAS.

Who can be a referee

If you can, choose someone who is familiar with your most recent period of study. But if you have been out of education for two years or more, your referee can be an employer.

Don't choose people who can only comment on you in a personal capacity, such as friends and family members.

What goes into a reference

As well as your general performance, a reference can include:

  • career goals,
  • extra-curricular activities,
  • work experience,
  • predicted grades,
  • circumstances that have affected your work or study.

Referees need your permission to share details of your personal circumstances. Make sure you discuss this with them if you think it is appropriate for you.

Submitting your referees

You will need to share details of your referees in your application materials, so that we or UCAS can contact them to request a reference.

Undergraduate study

If you are applying for a BA, BSc, LLB, BEng, HND course, teacher training course, or foundation degree you will add your referees to your UCAS form.

Check the UCAS references page for more guidance.

Postgraduate study

If you are applying to a postgraduate course other than teacher training, and you are applying on our on-line application form you can provide details of your referee on your application form, and we will contact them on your behalf.  If you are not applying on-line, then you can ask your referee to complete a reference form (PDF, 573.1KB) and send it to

If you are applying for a postgraduate teacher training course in England or Wales, you should apply through Apply for teacher training - GOV.UK (

Get help

For help with your application, please complete an enquiry form.

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