I have just finished my initial proposal and I currently work on the motivation letter. The Politecnico di Milano deadline for Ph.D. is next Friday, May 29,2020. My referee and former supervisor is so quick, when I ask him to respond the email sent by universities, he responds within a few hours but I want to make sure that if it is possible if a referee send the recommendation letter 4 or 5 days after the deadline.


You should double-check the application instructions and if nothing is there, then call the admissions officer in the school. My guess is that there is not a problem, but it is better to be safe.

Often, this is not an issue. Referees are contacted via email by the university and they submit their applications themselves electronically, either by following a link or by email. The requirement for the application is usually limited to name the referees, not submit the references themselves. These days, it is uncommon for "sealed, stamped and signed" references in paper to be submitted, and including open references in applications is also not usual (although I have done so personally). I know it happens, though, but all in all reference submissions are often not bound by the same deadlines as the applications.

| improve this answer | |
  • Dear Massimo, thank you for your comment. I have made a direct contanct to the university. I copy/paste their response: Dear Candidate Everything must be completed by the deadline 29th May 2020 (2pm, italian time) - application confirmed and payment successfully made. References are not obligatory at the application stage. They cannot be submitted after the deadline. It seems that it does not necessary to send the recomendation letter in time. – Armin May 19 at 9:02

It is totally up to the school/department, so you should contact them.

For example, ETH Zurich does not accept any late submission, just out of principle, but many schools/departments accept late referee submission if they don't start processing the applications right after the deadline and behave more flexible.

| improve this answer | |
  • Beware that many things in Italy are not up to the school or department but by the law. – Massimo Ortolano May 18 at 14:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.