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Letters of Recommendation?

  1. Oct 16, 2011 #1

    If I had to choose between the two, which do you think is better for a letter of recommendation? (it's for applying to a graduate school, coming from an undergraduate in physics)

    1) A PhD student that I interacted with on a daily basis during a two-week undergraduate research period in the summer;
    2) A professor from an upper end undergraduate class where I interacted well during class, but who I haven't talked to outside of class (and my exam was good, but not particularly impressive)
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 16, 2011 #2


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    In general, you want reference letters to come from professors rather than graduate students.
  4. Oct 16, 2011 #3
    Almost certainly the professor. If your research time with the student had been longer or if we were talking post-doc rather than PhD candidate then it would be a more difficult decision.
  5. Oct 16, 2011 #4


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    The professor, without a doubt.
  6. Oct 16, 2011 #5
    thank you all
  7. Oct 16, 2011 #6
    I question whether they would even accept one from a graduate student.
    Some programs require a minimum number of letter that they will only accept from your professors, but also take additional letters into consideration that you can get from anyone who can testify to your abilities/work experience. You might check and see if they will let you submit a letter from the graduate student anyway (though it won't count as one of your actual LOR).
  8. Oct 16, 2011 #7
    In europe, a PhD student is more than a graduate student though (it's a person who has already obtained a masters degree)

    Anyway, "additional letters": is that a good thing to do? Is it always better?
  9. Oct 17, 2011 #8


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    Regardless, a letter from faculty is much, much better. Not least for the fact that a graduate student has likely never written a letter before, so will not know what it should contain. Presumably you were employed for the summer by a professor, can he not write the letter?
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