Reference information

The program requires applicants submit three (3) references. 

Graduate administrators and faculty have identified the following characteristics for successful graduate study*.  Prospective students should carefully consider these attributes when determining who to approach as a potential reference.  Those individuals able to provide strong, positive feedback in these areas will be looked upon more favorably.

Knowledge and Creativity

  • Has a broad perspective on the field
  • Is among the brightest persons I know
  • Produces novel ideas
  • Is intensely curious about the field 

Communication Skills

  • Speaks in a clear, organized and logical manner
  • Writes with precision and style
  • Speaks in a way that is interesting
  • Organizes writing well


  • Supports the efforts of others
  • Behaves in an open and friendly manner
  • Works well in group settings
  • Gives criticism/feedback to others in a helpful way


  • Accepts feedback without getting defensive
  • Works well under stress
  • Can overcome challenges and setbacks
  • Works extremely hard

Planning and Organization

  • Sets realistic goals
  • Organizes work and time effectively
  • Meets deadlines
  • Makes plans and sticks to them

Ethics and Integrity

  • Is among the most honest people I know
  • Maintains high ethical standards
  • Is worthy of trust from others
  • Demonstrates sincerity

* Copyright 2016 Educational Testing Service.  The ETS PPI Personal Attributes and Rating Statements are reprinted by permission of ETS, the copyright owner.