The application requires at least three letters of recommendation. Ideally, these should be written by standing Penn faculty members (tenured) who know the applicant’s work well and can speak quite specifically about his/her intellectual curiosity, potential for scholarly work in the field, and motivation. The recommendations are a very important part of the application, and applicants should contact their recommenders in advance so as to give them enough time to write a helpful letter.
Ideally, a student may already have one professor that he/she sees as a mentor. She/ he should help plan a program of courses and research work, give advice on the appropriate graduate group or school if students should choose to sub-matriculate, and write a letter that describes the applicant’s work and his/her promise as a graduate student and a professional in their field. Dr. Joseph will be happy to talk with anyone who wishes to write a letter of support.
Since there may not be three faculty members an applicant knows well, one letter may be from a teaching assistant (TA), from a teacher at another school, or someone who knows the applicant’s work in other ways.
Students should request letters of recommendation via the Letter of Recommendation Request form.