- Final year computer science undergraduate in the UK.
- Spent one year working in a scientific facility developing software for scientists. My colleagues had previous academic experience (PhDs in math or physics).
- Researched for 3 months under professor N within my university.
- My dissertation begins in February, so cannot use my supervisor from that.
I want to pursue a PhD, and am at the stage of applying for programmes. However, each programme requires "two academic references", and am unable to come up with a second one (professor N being the first) that would provide the best application.
Giving many of you read references, and recruit PhD students, which of the following references would you prefer receiving:
- A senior software developer where I previously worked (he has a PhD in physics), but I feel this is not "academic".
- My personal tutor (a professor who helps with any personal or professional problems), whom I have not seen in a few months, but have used for references before (to get the aforementioned job).
- Professor B who has taught me over the past three months, but whom I am not close with (on a personal or professional level).
I know my question is a bit specific, so perhaps to generalise:
Q. Is it acceptable to have industrial references when applying for PhD positions, or should I instead use university professors as reference? Even if they may result in a generic reference letter.
Q. How can I speak with professor B to avoid him writing a generic reference letter about me?