This might be a weird question. But here we go.

I'm applying for business/data-related master programs.

I'm a stutter with a certified moderate language disorder.

Do I need to tell my professors (who provides recommendation letters) the fact of my disorder?

I'm afraid that the recommendation letter or the questions asked by the master programs require my professors to evaluate my oral English level. If they don't know this fact, they may attribute my stutter to my English (I'm an international student btw).

Added: is it common that the professors are required by master programs to evaluate the students' oral English skills in RL.

  • It's a perfectly fine question, but I don't think you can get a good answer from strangers. If your letter writer is good at writing letters, they will have a discussion with you about how to portray you in a positive way to master's programs. For example, "<your name> has done x, y, and z to overcome difficulties that were beyond their control, which shows they will be successful in overcoming <comon problem> in your program." If they're bad at writing letters, they could say anything. We don't know what sort of person your letter writer is. Jan 7, 2020 at 6:40
  • I think this is individual; - it's really up to the person! I mean; no need to tell anyone; (I say to everyone I stutter; to make it easier for myself) but really it's a choice; no need to :) May 21, 2022 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


No, nobody needs to know. Your letter writers need to attest to your academic abilities, whereas your medical history is not something they need to know nor do they have any business telling anyone else about it.

As a matter of fact, all that ought to matter are your academic abilities. The fact that you're applying for graduate school implies to me that you must have been reasonably good in school/college -- in other words, that your disability has no implications for your academic performance. That's all the admissions committee wants to know: that you'll excel academically, and they will be able to see that from your transcripts and what your letter writers describe in their letters.

  • 1
    Thanks for the reply, but afaik, some programs may also ask the professors the level of students' English (tho it's not the main question). I could be wrong.
    – outsider
    Jan 7, 2020 at 5:52
  • I have to admit that I don't understand the downvote. An applicant's medical history has no business showing up in letters of recommendation. A stutter has or may have implications for someone's ability to communicate, but it has no impact on someone's "oral English level" as stated in the original question. It does not need to be addressed in a letter. The only reason why I would think that it's appropriate to bring up is as an explanation of worse grades in the past -- but it's hard to believe that someone's stutter has this effect in almost all fields. Jan 7, 2020 at 15:30
  • 1
    @WolfgangBangerth I'm pretty sure (although I lack evidence) that me failing to get above the IELTS threshold in speaking for grad school applications was due to my stutter. I fixed the issue by contacting the university and informing them of my stutter - they then waived the relevant requirement. I thus consider "nobody needs to know" without qualification to be bad advice.
    – Arno
    Mar 27, 2022 at 11:15
  • 1
    @arno: But that's different. If you want others to know about it, then that's fine. But they don't need to know, and moreover, it's not the letter writer's job to tell anyone about it. Mar 27, 2022 at 18:41
  • I am not the downvoter for this question, but I think you are making a heroic assumption when you say that "your disability has no implications for your academic performance". OP insinuates that his stutter affects his oral English presentation, which is certainly an aspect of academic performance. OP seems to be saying that his disability does affect at least some aspects of academic performance and he is wondering if it should therefore be disclosed for context.
    – Ben
    Jan 18, 2023 at 4:44

Inform your university’s disability office. They should be able to handle things appropriately.

In most OECD countries, there is a law prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and obligating workplaces and schools to provide reasonable adjustments. As a result, the universities in those countries will have equity offices who should be able to intervene on your behalf once you identify yourself to them as disabled.


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