International graduate admissions: academic and professional references

Academic and/or professional references required

Depending on the programme, applicants must submit academic and professional references.

Graduate and dual degree programmes require two academic references (professional references are optional and do not replace academic references).

Please note the following specific requirements: 

  • For the dual degree Sciences Po (PSIA)/ Columbia University (SIPA), two academic references and one professional reference are required.
  • For the Joint Master in Journalism and International affairs, two academic references and one professional reference are required.  
  • For the Journalism School: two academic references and one professional reference are required.

Choice of referees

The references supplied in the application form are very important documents for us; you should therefore take the utmost care when choosing your referee. Do not choose someone only because of their title or position. What matters most is that you choose someone who knows you well and who can evaluate your skills and personal qualities.

The referees must have assessed you academically (written work in particular) and must be able to evaluate you in an impartial and precise manner. Please note that referees must be teachers or hierarchical superiors and not personal acquaintances.

If your referees are teachers, choose those who have taught the main disciplines you have studied or disciplines that are taught at Sciences Po. Do not choose language teachers, as indications of your language level are provided elsewhere in your application. If you have been enrolled in several institutions in the last two years, it is recommended to choose referees from each one of them.

Make sure that the person you have chosen is prompt to give a positive reference. Take the time to meet them in order to explain the reasons and motivation behind your choice. Take this time to remind them of the strong elements of your personality, interpersonal skills, leadership qualities and/or of your experience that you would like them to highlight.

Practical information

Add and save your referees personal and contact information one by one. Once the information for the second referee has been saved the page will be considered as complete, but a third referee may be added.

Once your referees' contact information has been saved, an email will be automatically sent out inviting the recepient to complete a recommendation form. We encourage you to verify if your referee has indeed received this email.

Important: If you copy/paste the email address of your referee in the space provided, make sure not to leave an empty space before the address. Failure to register the information correctly will nullify the link which is later sent to the referee. Once validated, registered information will not be modified.

In the event that your referee cannot complete the online referee form, and subject to this stipulation only, she/he must contact us and we will send him/her the form in Word format. He/she must then complete it and send it back to us directly by email (confidentially and from a professional email address).

Please note that all recommendation letters and forms must be signed and must bear an official seal of the institution of which s/he is a part of. It is likewise requested, where applicable, that free-style letters be written on letter head paper and be accompanied by the referees business card. If the referee chooses to send his/her reference by email, please advice him/her to do so from his professional email address.

The referee form can be filled out in French or English for the Master's programmes. The form must be completed in English for the dual degrees programmes if the partner university is not a French speaking institution.


We advise you to start your application by filling in the reference section. This will ensure referees have adequate time to reply.

You may submit your application even if certain referees have not yet replied to the reference request. However, it is your responsibility to ensure that they submit the reference before the deadline of the programme to which you are applying.

Applications that do not include the required references will be considered incomplete and will therefore not be processed.


Candidates are not permitted to view their reference letters. They are strictly confidential and will only be read by those people responsible for assessing your application.