I applied for some research positions and send the name of my references. I would like to know that: Do the full list of my references will be forwarded to each of professors by institute which I applied for. In other words, Will professors whom I add their names as my references be informed about the name of other references of mine?

2 Answers 2


While anything is possible, I think that would not be normal practice. I think it is unlikely.

However, in some smaller fields in which there are fewer professors and they know one another, it is possible that someone will mention a name to another person. But this would only occur, I think, if there was some question raised by a letter of recommendation.

  • Thank you for your answer. In fact , I mean that the Institute which I have already sent my reference info to that, will send the list of the name of my references to each professor or not?
    – user40491
    Oct 31, 2018 at 11:49
  • I think that would not be a usual practice. More likely that the institute would want that not to happen so that the letters received would be independent of each other. But it is an individual case, so it can't be entirely ruled out.
    – Buffy
    Oct 31, 2018 at 12:02

Normally the process of solliciting and receiving reference letters is confidential: it implicitly discourages the possibility of two referees somehow harmonizing their references to the advantage or disadvantage of a candidate.

Of course people talk and people use their common sense: it’s likely that a member of supervisory committee will have guessed that other members of the committee will also serve as referees. It’s also possible that a candidate might let a prospective referee know who the other referees are so as to provide context.

Most reasonable people will write a reference letter to reflect their personal appreciation of a candidate; while general statements can be shared between colleagues and some specific phraseology can be discussed, I have never shown a final version of a reference letter to a colleague, and no colleague of mine has ever shown a final reference letter to me.

However, it would be very unusual for an institution to solicit a letter of support and announce the list of referees for a candidate.

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