I did my masters in Germany and there we rarely work with professors directly. Now I am applying for a PhD and need recommendation letters from professors.

How should proceed here? I already asked a PhD student if he provide me a letter and let it be approved by the professor. But I am not sure if this is the correct procedure.

1 Answer 1


It is fairly common in Germany that a professor will be willing to write a good recommendation letter if you've worked with their PhD students extensively and they can endorse you. I would just ask the professor directly and mention your history of working with their PhD students.

  • In the US, I've also had the experience of a PhD student writing a paragraph about the recommendee, and then the professor incorporating this into the rest of their letter. Would this also be normal in Germany?
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 15:00
  • 1
    Speaking from my personal experience and that of friends and acquaintances, there seems to be no one clear way the process of writing a recommendation letter goes. The professor might meet with the student and then write everything themselves, a PhD student/postdoc from the professor's lab might take part in the writing process, or the student will write a draft themselves, and everything in between Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 15:03

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