I am applying for PhD in Mathematics. I am wondering if there are any schools or programs that do not require letters of recommendation. Do all graduate programs require these?

  • 11
    You're gonna have to tell us why you don't want to get letters of rec. They are very commonly required.
    – Bill Barth
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 16:52
  • 6
    It seems to me that "Are there any PhD programs in mathematics that require no letters of recommendation?" would be a reasonable enough question. (The answer is no, so far as I'm aware. You might as well ask for PhD programs that don't require you to know calculus...) Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 17:14
  • 1
    @Pete: I agree with you as far as the US (assuming we exclude diploma mills and the like), but I am not so sure about other countries. I have a sense that other places have a very different culture with respect to letters. Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 19:39
  • 13
    I suppose this is a reasonable question as it stands, but it strikes me that the OP's real question is probably something more like "Due to circumstances X, I am unable / reluctant to get letters of recommendation. How can I get into a PhD program?" If so, I suggest asking that question. The best answer to that question will probably not be "look for programs that don't require letters". Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


I've never seen a program not require a letter or recommendation when it comes to the US and I cannot speak for all other countries which can be found out by looked at other countries application process.

If there are legitimate reasons in which you would be unable to obtain a letter of recommendation or would receive one that would not help or even hurt your chances of acceptance I would talk to an adviser who is very familiar with the application processes because sometimes they don't always spell out alternatives to certain areas of the application process when it comes to rare circumstances.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .