I'm an undergrad applying for graduate programs next year. Is it a bad idea to ask the same professor to do two different letters for two different programs (Philosophy programs, and Law school)? My gut says no, since this would require the professor to kind of "lie" to each grad program about how dedicated I am to each. However, I do know this professor very well as I did research for him and the programs are somewhat related. Thanks!


Not at all. We realize that students typically apply to more than one program. I encourage my undergraduate advisees to apply to five or six graduate programs.

Given that reality, I don't mind writing a letter of recommendation and submitting it (with few changes) to a half dozen graduate programs.

  • 1
    I think you may have misread the question? OP isn't asking about the normal situation of applying to 5-10 places in the same field, he's asking for two different letters to two different kinds of programs. Oct 7 '19 at 1:58
  • @NoahSnyder Yes, I now realize that I should have made that more explicit - just edited the question. The programs are in two different areas, philosophy and law.
    – Chris
    Oct 7 '19 at 2:12
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    It's not uncommon for students to ask me to write letters of recommendation for different kinds of programs, (e.g. they're interested in both applied mathematics and data science graduate programs.) However, Philosophy (an academic discipline) and Law School (a professional degree) are really fundamentally different. I'd still write a letter in such a circumstance, but I'd also encourage the student to think more carefully about what they want to do since those are very different kinds of programs. Oct 7 '19 at 3:12
  • @BrianBorchers Ok, thank you! Good to know. I do think it would better to narrow things down first as you suggested though.
    – Chris
    Oct 7 '19 at 4:26

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