I am applying to a number of Physics REUs that require 2 letters of recommendation. I am having my Physics Lab professor write one, but am considering having my linear algebra professor write another. Her class was smaller than all others (besides lab), so I think she can provide the best representation of my academic skills and personality. She was also the only professor who graded work other than my exams, so she would be better able to speak of the quality of work I produce and my growth over the semester. Will it hurt my chances that she is not a physics professor? I am only a sophomore, so I don't have many other professors who I feel could write a strong, personal recommendation.

  • 1
    I got into a parallel computing REU with zero CS recommendations. It's probably fine.
    – chipbuster
    Dec 24, 2017 at 3:28

1 Answer 1


Yes, that's fine. I say this as someone who teaches linear algebra to students from many majors (including physics and computer science) and have written them letters of recommendation for successful applications to REUs. For sure having a strong, personal recommendation from someone who taught you material relevant to the REU is better than a lukewarm or generic letter from some random physicist in your department. Likely whatever you do at the REU will involve linear algebra so it's good that they know you can do this subject well and that you're a strong student in general.

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