Guidelines for Political Science and International Relations Students
Students frequently ask instructors for letters of recommendation for graduate school or for employment. Professors are willing and able to write these letters so don’t be afraid to ask. However, it is important that you understand a few things about the process.
First, be sure to ask the best person. Don’t just ask the professor who seems most approachable. Ask a professor who knows you well and has a positive impression of you as a student and as a person. Grades matter for graduate or law school, as the schools are looking for people who can speak to your academic potential.
Second, don’t ask for a letter “on the fly.” Visit the professor during his/her office hours (or make an appointment). Discuss the reasons for the letter and ask to use him/her as a reference. Another option is to email the professor with a polite request, the reasons why you are asking for the letter, and the information listed below.
Third, don’t ask for a letter to be written if you aren’t sure you will apply. These letters take time and faculty are asked to write many, many letters.
Fourth, provide all the information necessary to write a detailed letter. It is in your interest to provide the professor with all the information he or she needs to write a detailed and specific letter. This includes:
Fifth, it is not appropriate to offer or give a gift to a faculty member in exchange for or as a thank you for writing a letter of recommendation.
Finally, keep the letter-writer informed. Once the instructor has spent time writing a letter, s/he will be interested to know whether or not you were given the opportunity.
September 19, 2016
PLS 325 Human Rights and Democracy in Russia and the Post-Communist World
September 18, 2016
Political Science professors, Dr. Donald Zinman and Dr. Erika King, discuss the presidential campaign with Rick Albin on "To the Point"
July 18, 2016
As part of her winter 2016 sabbatical project, Professor Polly Diven spent the month of February teaching and researching in Sri Lanka.
June 28, 2016
PLS interns are working in a variety of offices this summer.
June 08, 2016
Professor Darren Walhof was recognized by the American Political Science Association for his excellence in teaching.
Professor Diven will present her sabbatical research on Sri Lanka, including background on the history and culture of this "Pearl of the Indian Ocean." She will summarize her research into...
The Good Lie, starring Reese Witherspoon Story of Sudanese refugees adapting to life in the US. Poignant telling of the aftermath of genocide, immigrant rights, and the sometimes hilarious...
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