Graduate admissions: academic and professional references

Last Update: 
20 September 2022

required academic and/or professional references

We advise you to start your application by filling out the reference section. This will ensure referees have adequate time to reply and fill out the recommendation form that will be automatically sent to them.

Academic and/or professional references are an essential part of your application. Should the requested references be missing by the deadline of the programme, your application will be deemed incomplete.

Make sure you check the specific requirements of your programme(s), as the number and kind of references required can vary from one programme to another.

You may choose up to five academic referents, although only one or two are compulsory (depending on the programme). 

You can remove or add a referee as long as your file has not been submitted. Once validated by your referee, a reference form cannot be deleted from your file.

Applicants are not allowed to view their references. They are strictly confidential and will only be read by those responsible for assessing your application.


References are online forms (we do not accept letters on separate documents) that your referees must complete before your application can be validated. Once submitted, your application will be considered incomplete if it does not include all the recommendations requested.

As a candidate, you commit to ensuring that the recommendations completed by your referees in your Sciences Po application are sincere and accurate.

Any doubt as to the authenticity of a reference may lead to its invalidation, the deletion of the related referee account and the voiding of your application. 

your referees

The references provided in the application form matter greatly to us; you should therefore take the utmost care when choosing your referees. Our reference policy requires the use of a professional email address. We therefore recommend that you choose a referee who has one.

We recommend that you make arrangements with your referees beforehand and make sure they will manage to fill out the recommendation form sent by Sciences Po in a timely manner. Completing the form should take them 10 to 20 minutes. Bear in mind that they may receive many requests for references.

Make sure your referee knows when the reference is due and in which language the form should be completed. It is important that they provide a detailed assessment (minimum 10 lines). 

  • For Master's programmes, references can be written in French or English (unless otherwise stated).
  • For dual degree programmes, please have your references written in English (except for dual degrees with a French partner university).
  • If you are applying to both a Master's programme and a dual degree programme, please have your references written in English (if the partner university is not French).


  • Choose someone who knows you well and can assess your skills and personal qualities. Do not choose someone only because of their title or position.
  • Make sure you choose referees that are prompt to provide a laudatory assessment. Take time to meet your referees in order to explain the reasons and motivation behind your choice. Remind them of the prominent features of your personality, interpersonal skills, leadership qualities and/or of your experience that you would like them to highlight, for the reference to be as specific as possible.
  • Your academic referees must have assessed your work (written work in particular) and be able to provide an evaluation that is at the same time unbiased and specific. Choose referees from the core subjects of your course, or subjects that are taught at Sciences Po. Do not ask language teachers (except if you are enrolled in a language course of study), as indications of your language level are provided elsewhere in your application. Academic advisors will not be accepted as referees. 
  • If you are applying to a dual degree programme only, or to both a Master’s programme and a dual degree programme, ask your referees to complete the form in English If the partner university is non-French.
  • A professional reference must come from a superior in the context of an internship or a job. If you are self-employed, you can ask your clients or partners.
  • If you have been enrolled in several institutions in the last two years, it is recommended you choose referees from each one of them.
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