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I am applying for PhD in engineering and wondering whether should I take recommendation letter from academic advisor during master's program.

He has 'professor' in his title. He was not my thesis advisor and I did not take any courses from him. His role was more like advising students which courses to take, approving their courses for the semester, judging whether a student meet with course requirements, etc.

This recommendation letter would be based on generalization, such as GPA. I know a recommendation letter should be specific, but can a letter from such professor help or harm?

  • Can someone comment why the question is downvoted? So I can edit it. – user640220 Sep 20 '16 at 22:52
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Speaking from social sciences:

If it's easy for both parties to produce the letter, go ahead and have it. It wouldn't hurt, and perhaps you can suggest some general stuff that is absent from more specialized letters.

If it's too much hassle, then simply have an agreement to have the letter produced "later on" if it's wanted.

Your view about such letters is generally on the money: they refer to either class or research performance. But perhaps there are aspects that your advisor's letter can highlight. Bear in mind that many applications, etc., ask for a maximum of letters - so, if you already filled it with specialized letters, then this general one won't be needed.

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Your gpa is in your transcript. Don't waste a letter on just showing the gpa.

You need to approach your professors. See my answer here: Getting into a Bioethics/Philosophy Master's Program

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