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I'll be applying for PhD positions in the UK in the coming fall and have only a small pool (5-6 professors) whom I can sensibly ask for reference letters from. Some of these professors are in a field quite close to my research interests, so I'm also considering asking to do a PhD with them.

Is it appropriate to ask a professor for both a PhD position as well as reference letters for PhD applications to other professors (in the same or other institutions)?

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Yes, this is very common and unlikely to cause any issues. If the professor does object, working for that professor could be a red flag!

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