I have been working with a professor for almost 2 years of my undergraduate degree and shared a nice bond with them. The work done under this professor is the soul of my Statement of Purpose and how it led to work in this field. However, due personal medical reasons, the professor will not be able to give me the letter of recommendation. The problem is I have mentioned the project under the professor as an ongoing research project (I will be submitting it for publication soon) in my CV. Like not getting letter of recommendation from this professor will hurt my applications for grad school? Should I modify the Statement of Purpose in this case?

  • 3
    I fear that people will wonder why you didn't get a letter from that professor... and "for personal reasons they will not be able to give a letter" will not be a satisfying explanation. At the same time, your project is a big part of your accomplishments... Leads me to attempt a re-frame of your question... isn't it possible to overcome the obstacles and have that professor write you a letter? Oct 9, 2023 at 18:38
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    You need to explain a bit more about the "personal reasons" that "make it impossible" etc. As it is, the answer is "it depends...". Is it a conflict? Is the professor incapacitated? What???
    – Buffy
    Oct 9, 2023 at 19:14
  • @Buffy Due to some medical reasons the professor will not be able to give the LOR?
    – Avii
    Oct 10, 2023 at 6:42
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    If your other letter-writers know that this professor cannot write a letter for you because of a medical condition, ask them to mention this fact in their letters. Oct 14, 2023 at 19:20

1 Answer 1


Get letters from others. You can't change what is. However, you can also give this professor's name somewhere, suggest that they probably support you and give permission to contact them if desired. You might also mention that they have a medical condition. Since their field aligns with your plans you could say in your SoP that you have worked with them extensively.

You could also, perhaps mention the issue to another professor or the department chair. If another professor mentions the medical issue it might help. But giving permission is probably required on your part so that it doesn't seem like you are hiding something and to conform with some rules covering admissions committees.

  • Thanks a lot for your suggestions! One more doubt: should I mention this in my Statement of Purpose? Or should I mention it in my CV as "References" with the Email ID and details of the professor? @Buffy
    – Avii
    Oct 15, 2023 at 6:36
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    You can mention the project(s) in the CV with the supervisor's information, but the permission to contact should be elsewhere.
    – Buffy
    Oct 15, 2023 at 10:36

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