Information for Referees

If you are nominated as a referee, you will receive an email outlining the steps you need to take. We have also provided some of the key points below.

Your letter of reference is important to the student as we cannot consider applications without supporting references.

We invite you to submit a single reference via our online referee portal.

If the student is applying for two LSE programmes, please ensure that your single reference applies to both programmes (we will not ask you for a second reference).

You will be asked to complete a short questionnaire and then upload an existing letter of reference from your computer (as a PDF).

Once you have completed your reference and clicked 'Submit', both you and the applicant who nominated you as a referee will receive an automatic email notification to confirm that we have received your reference.

We would be grateful if you could consider the following points when preparing your letter of reference. Further guidance is offered in the portal.

  • If you are an academic referee from an institution which does not supply transcripts or mark sheets until graduation, and if the applicant is a current student, please, if possible, comment in detail on the applicant's progress at university, including all of their marks to date.
  • We would be grateful for a candid reference that speaks with as much specificity as possible to the candidate’s academic suitability for the programme(s) applied to, their intellectual strengths, and any limitations.
  • If the applicant’s degree is in a quantitative subject, it is extremely helpful to our selectors if you are able to give some additional information on the modules included in the transcript, for example by including a synopsis of the course contents or by elaborating on their quantitative skills.
  • Finally, it would be great if you could give an answer to the question, "Would you offer this student a place on a similar programme at your own institution?"

To submit your reference, please copy and paste the URL provided in your reference request email into a web browser.

Technical support

If you are unable to access the online referee portal or complete your reference (for example if you have been automatically logged out of the system), please note the following guidance:

  • Please access the portal by copying and pasting the plain text URL from the email sent to you, into your browser. Problems can occur when you access the portal via hyperlink and attempt to proceed from one section of the process to the next. These problems relate to the way hyperlinks are rendered 'safe links' by some email software at the receiving end.
  • If you thought you had already submitted this reference but you have received a further reference request email from us, please log back into the portal via the URL above to check the status of your reference. After completing the 'Personal info', 'Questionnaire', and 'Document upload' sections, you will need to click 'Submit' on the final 'Preview' page to complete your submission.

If you have followed the above guidance and remain unable to submit your reference, please submit the referee helpdesk form so that we can provide further assistance.

Deadline to submit references

Please submit your reference as soon as possible: applications cannot be considered until we have received a reference from each of the applicant's nominated referees and, as competition is intense and as LSE operates a rolling admissions system, places become limited very quickly. 

Using a webmail account?

If you are using a personal webmail account (e.g. rather than an official academic/company account (e.g. .edu/ to submit your reference, we may in future need to verify that you are the true sender of this reference.

If the applicant is successful, we may therefore ask that you send us a further copy of your reference by email, using an official academic/company account. If you do not have an official academic/company email account, we will provide further guidance about how you can satisfy our verification requirements.

I am unable to provide a reference

If you are unable or unwilling to provide a reference for this applicant, please click the link within your email to decline this request. The applicant will be informed and asked to nominate a new referee.


Contact us

If you have any queries please please email us.