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Ultimate Guide for Letter of Recommendation

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Ultimate Guide for Letter of Recommendation for Masters Program in 2024

Want to pursue your Masters degree overseas? The way that you project yourself in your application for admission will determine, to a great extent, the final outcome. A well-written Letter of Recommendation (LOR) will introduce you in the best possible way. Going beyond grades, an LOR will convey to the admissions committee as to why you would be a valued addition, above all other applicants. 

What is a Letter of Recommendation?

A personal recommendation from a well-known or established individual, a Letter of Recommendation is a document that adds weightage to an application for studying abroad as an international student. LORs are reference letters written for you by someone that knows you personally. 

Why do I need an LOR for Masters?

Providing a complete picture of your capabilities, an LOR is a statement from another individual in your favour. Someone that is a known and established persona in their own relevant field. An LOR is a personal reference - from someone in your past academic or professional life - that sheds light on your personality, traits and achievements in the best possible manner.

Is giving LOR compulsory?

Yes, an LOR is a mandatory requirement for securing admission into the leading universities in the US, UK, Canada etc. You will have to submit LORs for admission into - 

  • Undergraduate, 
  • Postgraduate, and 
  • Doctoral programs. 

How many LORs do I have to submit for Masters abroad?

Generally, you will have to submit at least two to three LORs when seeking admission into any Master’s course as an international student. 

How many types of LORs are there?

A Letter of Recommendation (LOR) for Masters can be - 

  • Academic LOR, or 
  • Professional LOR. 

What’s the difference between Academic LOR and Professional LOR?

Academic LORs

Professional LORs

To be written by someone that can talk about and build upon your educational background. 

Academic LORs are written by - 

  • Teachers, 
  • Professors, 
  • Dean of the Faculty etc. 

To be written by someone that knows you as a professional.

Professional LORs are written by previous employers.  

Academic LOR Sample For MS


Professional LOR Sample For MS


How to write an LOR for Masters?

  • Introduce yourself 
  • Talk about the person you are recommending
  • Conclusion 

Begin with introducing yourself. Mention your name, designation, and other credentials. Proceed by stating as to how long you have known the person that you are writing the LOR for.

In the body text, you will be talking about the qualities and accomplishments of the person that you are recommending for admission to the Masters course. Be specific. Avoid using too many generalizations and giving vague details. Your LOR must be written around the specialization that the person is targeting. For example, if the person is applying for a Masters in Public Health (MPH), you must build upon traits like critical thinking, team collaboration etc. 

Provide details on situations in the past wherein the person being referred displayed qualities, such as - 

  • Good academic performance,
  • Team skills,
  • Management,
  • Organizational ability,
  • Being self-driven, 
  • Determination to succeed etc. 

Mention any outstanding capabilities that fall outside the academic qualifications.  

Conclude your LOR by summarizing the above-mentioned traits of the person. Give your contact number and other details in case some confirmation or clarification is required from your end. 

Are there any LOR guidelines for popular Masters programs?

Ideally, an LOR must be tailor-made keeping in mind the specific course requirements. In short, you must project and highlight the things that the particular admissions committee will be looking out for. 

Letter of Recommendation for Masters: What are the Top 3 skills to highlight in LOR as per the specific Master’s Program?



Masters in Arts and Humanities 

  • Creative skills
  • Communication skills
  • Reasoning and logic

Master of Public Health (MPH)

  • Collaborating with teams
  • Critical thinking
  • Community engagement

Master of Business Administration (MBA) 

  • Leadership skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Project management 

Masters in Computer Science 

  • Technical knowledge
  • Problem-solving ability
  • Critical thinking

Masters in Science (MS)

  • Research and analysis
  • Innovation
  • Critical thinking

Masters in Engineering 

  • Programming skills
  • Machine design
  • Industry skills 

Masters in Medicine 

  • Empathy
  • Resilience
  • Emotional intelligence 


What should be included in LORs for Masters?

An LOR for admission into Masters degree should - 

  • Give an insight into the personality of the applicant, 
  • Focus on the skills that will be needed for that particular Masters program, and 
  • Speak about the major achievements and qualities demonstrated as an undergraduate student. 

What are the general tips for writing Masters LOR?

Certain basics must be kept in mind when writing a Letter of Recommendation for a Masters program. These include - 

  • Stating all the unique attributes of the applicant, 
  • Writing in a personalized yet formal tone, 
  • Being precise and matter of fact, 
  • Being to-the-point, 
  • Avoiding spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, or any punctuation issues, 
  • Projecting the strengths to showcase the applicant in the best possible light, 
  • Writing in a simple and easy to understand language, 
  • Stating facts, with examples, that you have personally observed, 
  • Highlighting the skills as per the course applying for, 
  • Giving your honest opinion, and
  • Avoiding any exaggeration. 

Taking the time to proofread and make further edits to your LOR before the final submission is highly recommended. 

How to submit LORs for MS?

There are three ways for you to submit an LOR as part of your application process for admission to a Masters course. You can either - 

  • Fill up an online form,
  • Send as an email attachment, or 
  • Submit via regular post. 

The mode of submission for your LOR for Masters will be as per the requirements of your intended university. Generally, most of the universities keep to an online application and document submission process. Nevertheless, there might be certain universities that require you to submit hard copies of the LORs instead. Always confirm from the official website of the university and plan your submission accordingly. 

In case hard copies have to be sent of the LORs, plan to apply at least two weeks before the application deadline. 

Does an LOR matter in getting admission to a Masters program?

Yes, an LOR does matter. Your application, grades and academic credentials project you as a prospective student before the admissions committee. Your LOR, however, has its own story to tell. An LOR brings your personality to the fore. A well-written can make all the difference. If you are able to make a good impression, you might even be considered over another candidate with a comparatively higher percentage of marks. 

What is the format for Letter of Recommendation for Masters?

An LOR for Masters is an official document. Nevertheless, the tone of the Masters LOR need not be dry and uninteresting. Your LOR should be personal and recommend the applicant in an unbiased manner. There should be no apparent and obvious exaggerations. Your Masters LOR should be an interesting read throughout and worthy of the time of the reader.  

Can I use online templates for LOR for Masters?

It is not recommended to use templates for Masters LOR. Every LOR must be unique and add value to the candidature of the applicant as a prospective international student. Using online templates might work against you as the person reading your LOR might get the impression of your having opted for the short-cut route. 

In conclusion

Studying abroad as an international student can be life-transforming. Not only do you gain access to a world-class education system and develop the confidence to live independently, you also get to experience another culture first hand. A good and well-rounded letter of recommendation for Masters can pave the way for your future success. 

Your LOR for Masters tells your own unique story. Tell a compelling and one-in-a-million story that resonates, making it worthwhile for the university to take you on as an international student. The better and more rounded your LOR, the better the chances of securing admission in your dream university for study abroad for your Masters

Other FAQs

1. Who should write my LOR for Masters?

Depends on the kind of LOR required by your intended university. Academic LORs can be written by professors, teachers etc. Professional LORs, on the other hand, are written by a previous supervisor or employer. 

2. Can I get my LOR written by anyone?

No. You will have to give the details of your recommender to prove that the LOR is genuine. The required details of the person writing the LOR are - 

  • Full name
  • Designation & Department
  • Name of the Organization
  • Contact number
  • LinkedIn profile 

3. How many words should be there in my LOR for Masters?

Your Letter of Recommendation for Masters program should be around 500 words in a document of up to two pages in length. 

4. How to ask for an LOR for study abroad?

  • STEP 1: Choose the best person.
  • STEP 2: Request an LOR by meeting in person. 
  • STEP 3: Provide your resume.
  • STEP 4: Send in a formal request for LOR by email.  

5. Can my employer write my LOR for Masters?

Yes. Your letter of recommendation for your Masters degree can be written by an employer. In fact, certain universities prefer that a previous employer write the Masters LOR. 

6. Who can I get to write my Letter of Recommendation for my post graduation admission?

Letters of Recommendation for admission into the Masters program might be written by - 

  • Teachers, 
  • Professors, or 
  • Past employers. 

Always confirm with your intended university before you approach anyone to write an LOR on your behalf. Universities might have specific guidelines on who can write your LOR. 

7. Is it mandatory to get a Masters LOR from my teacher?

As such, there is no limitation on who can write your LOR for graduate school. You can get your Masters LOR written by teachers, professors, or past employers. 

8. How and why does a Letter of Recommendation matter in getting admission into Masters course?

Your LOR is unique to you and tells your story - in your own words - to the person who will be reading the LOR. Each of the applications submitted for study abroad are examined and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. It is your LOR that sets you apart from the rest, setting the tone of what can be expected from you as a prospective student. 

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