I am a Master's student in Computer Science. In a few months, I will graduate and my grades are good. I am involved in a research project and hope to get a publication from that.

The problem is that my advisor is very apprehensive about writing me a good letter of recommendation. She does not say "no" explicitly, but she discourages me or indirectly implies that I should not go for a Ph.D. to another school. This is her way of telling things, not openly, but in the form of closed implications. I am afraid that she wants to keep me for a Ph.D. with her, and will sabotage my Ph.D. application by writing insufficient letters. She talks about extending my Master's research project in Ph.D., also note that I have not received any type of funding or money from my advisor. So, I do not feel like being falsely given her any signs of future commitments.

I am definitely not interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in my current institution. So probably, my academic experience will end after this point.

Is there something that could be done to make advisor support my application to other schools.

  • Get a different referee.
    – JoErNanO
    Aug 1, 2015 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


If your advisor is reluctant to write a letter for you, there's no way to make her write a good letter, and you shouldn't press the issue. Whatever her reasons may be, your cause will not be helped by having a lukewarm or negative letter in your file. Admissions faculty can read between the lines of a letter that is not enthusiastic. Have you done excellent work with other faculty, in a course or lab? Maybe two of them will be willing to write for you.

It's a touchy subject.

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