Letters of Recommendation

Each student must submit at least FOUR and no more than SEVEN letters of reference from individuals. These letters should be mostly from academic sources.

  • At least ONE from a natural science PhD-level faculty member is REQUIRED. This includes the physical sciences (e.g., physics, chemistry) and the life sciences (e.g., biology, physiology, anatomy).
  • At least ONE letter from a non-science faculty member is advisable, especially if you are in a science major. If you do secure a non-science faculty letter, it is strongly recommended that it be from PhD faculty.
  • Other letters can be from employers or volunteer supervisors who know you well and can make some judgment about your qualities/qualifications for a professional health school. It is REQUIRED that you secure letters from your clinical exposure to health care (e.g., shadowing, health care volunteering).
  • Letters from family or friends who are physicians are not recommended.
  • Many osteopathic (DO) medical schools highly recommend or require a letter from a DO. Be sure to check your school’s requirements.

In order to accept your application the Prehealth Office must have received at least four letters by the deadline.

Requesting Letters

Letters should be requested from faculty or supervisors whenever you believe the reference writer has enough information about you to write effectively. Avoid waiting a year or two later as memories can fade. Signed letter of recommendation waiver forms must be given to each of your references to be returned along with the letter, and are available on our Forms page.

Recommenders can then send the reference directly to the Exploratory and Pre-Professional Advising Center, 112 Capen Hall where the references will be retained for 5 years or until an application is filed for the Prehealth Committee Letter. They can drop off letters in person (when the office is open), mail them or scan and attach them as a PDF or Word doc to phref@buffalo.edu. Consult the form referenced above for all pertinent details.

Tips for Requesting Letters of Recommendation

  • Give people a reasonable amount of time to write and submit. Three to four weeks would be a minimum. You don’t want your recommenders feeling pressured.
  • Sit down and talk with the individual. Bring them a resume and even a draft of your personal statement. Make it easy for them to write a comprehensive letter.
  • Follow up the request a few days later with a thank you note.
  • If letters have not arrived to our office, please contact the faculty member politely, but promptly alert them to any pending deadlines.