I want to apply for a Research Masters but will have trouble finding two academic referees. I have worked in education, had research published, even won a best paper prize. However, things ended very badly with the HoD in a previous job to the point where I left, and had a breakdown. Attempts to re-connect with close colleagues have met with silence. I don't know what was said but enough to warrant people turning away. Unfortunately, it's a small field. I have a good research proposal ready and am committed to doing it to the best of my ability, and if being truthful, need to regain confidence and move on. I have a solid and provable work/ research record but fear not being able to raise two recent referees to match that work will look odd. A former colleague/teacher overseas of many years ago, and a researcher in another state who has been supportive in the past have offered to be job referees. I have not asked them to be academic referees yet. They are both wonderful people, and the latter knows of the bad job experience. Should I ask them? I don't want the prospective course to worry about anything but the quality of my proposal and what I can offer them. Any advice gratefully received.

  • Do you have any opportunity to visit the last-mentioned people in person?
    – Buffy
    Dec 20, 2019 at 13:27
  • Unfortunately, no. One lives overseas and is in remission from a serious illness; he is interested in reading my proposal. The second lives in another state and has had considerable loss these past two years (job, spouse, parents). He has retreated from the world a bit. I have kept in touch with both via email over the years. Thanks, Buffy.
    – Alexa
    Dec 20, 2019 at 15:31
  • Are you currently working? Can your current employer act as a reference?
    – user97709
    Dec 21, 2019 at 4:40
  • No, I am not currently working. My last job was the one I left. I had performed very well there but it's an absolute no-go. I have done some freelance work since but not enough or of the kind for a casual employer to write a reference attesting to my academic ability. I'm living on my savings and not a financial burden to anyone. The two people I mentioned are prepared to be job referees but I had not asked for anything further at the time – I didn't know a research masters' application and proposal would require referees. Thanks for your interest, Reputable Misnomer.
    – Alexa
    Dec 21, 2019 at 8:37


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .