This post is related to my situation Dropping Out And Applying Somewhere Else . After explaining to my undergraduate research advisor that I withdrew from my PhD program (1 month in) and that I decided to apply to Thesis-master's program Which better fit my career goals, he told me he is not writing me a letter. I am not sure if this deems all my research work in undergrad useless. I have the work documented as a credit course on my transcript with a grade of pass and one grade of -A. So I am not sure if I should mention my work with him or just focus on work I have done in my courses.

  • 2
    Do you know why they won't write you a letter?
    – cag51
    Oct 9, 2019 at 15:32
  • He explicitly told me that I had a chance and did not take it so he told me to ask someone else. Unfortunately, even before applying (last year) he was not interested in writing the letter, untill one of his grad students who supervised me had to convince him.
    – Gaham Del
    Oct 9, 2019 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


It is fine to mention your undergraduate work. You did it and you received graded credit for it. Talk about it! (In a statement of purpose or something).

  • What did you do?
  • What did you learn?
  • How did it inspire you?

True, yes, your undergraduate advisor would not write you a letter of recommendation. There is no need to mention that. If you have other people who are willing to write you a strong letter, you should be fine. When I sit on admissions committees, there are a few things we take into account:

  1. We are only seeing a portion of the student's profile. We don't know the whole story (either way).
  2. Sometimes professors are hard to get along with in regards to grades, authorship, LORs, etc.
  3. Students are going to school while life happens around them. This means that sometimes the circumstances of life will affect their decisions and opportunities relative to school.
  4. We do not expect a masters student to come in on day one and have the skill set of a master's student at the end of his or her degree. We are looking for potential.

Overall, I am more interested in learning about what you, not an advisor, did. If you are competent in explaining your research, that is going to bode better for you than having a LOR from someone who grudgingly has been forced into writing you a LOR. I would not spend too much time trying to make this donkey (the undergrad advisor) pull the cart (LOR) he does not want to pull.

  • Should I remove his name completely from my application? or should I just put his contact information on my CV and that is it.
    – Gaham Del
    Oct 12, 2019 at 17:52
  • @GahamDel Keep his name on the CV. He did advise you and it needs to be acknowledged. I think it would look stranger to not list him at all.
    – Vladhagen
    Oct 12, 2019 at 18:15

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