Letters of Recommendation for Graduate Nursing Applications

Key components of your application to the University of Virginia School of Nursing are your three letters of recommendation. All of your letters of recommendation will be submitted electronically within the application system. Applicants will provide the contact information for each reference and the system will email instructions directly to each reference.

To ensure full consideration of your application, it is crucial that you select recommenders that can assess your academic, professional, clinical, and personal qualities as outlined below. Please pay careful attention to these guidelines:

If you are applying to the Master's-Entry CNL Program

Three recommendations from persons who can speak directly about your ability to pursue graduate study. One of these should be an academic reference. One of these letters should be from someone in healthcare who can address your desire to become a nurse. The third letter should be a professional reference from one who can address your leadership skills.


If you are applying to a Master's (Nurse Practitioner) or Certificate Specialty Program

Three recommendations from persons who can speak directly about your ability to pursue graduate study. Include one academic reference, one reference addressing your clinical skills, and one professional reference

Please note: One recommendation MUST be from a current Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who can speak directly to your ability to successfully complete master's level coursework and to become a high-functioning NP after completing the program.


If you are applying to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

Three recommendations from persons who can speak directly about your ability to pursue study at the doctoral level. Include one academic reference, one reference addressing your clinical strengths, and one professional reference.

Please note: If you are applying for the BSN-DNP program, one recommendation MUST be from a current Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who can speak directly to your ability to successfully complete master's level coursework and to become a high-functioning NP after completing the program.


Tips for Letters of Recommendation

  • Be certain to carefully review the requirements above.

  • Notify your recommenders with ample time to complete their letters. Remind them they will be getting an email from the application system, and they will complete all materials and will submit them electronically. We do not accept paper recommendation forms.

  • Academic references should be able to speak to your academic capabilities and can ideally convey your suitability and preparedness for graduate-level study.

  • Professional references should be able to convey your professionalism, reliability, dependability, etc., in professional settings.

  • If you are seeking a degree that requires a recommendation from a current APRN, you must have a person in this role provide a recommendation. Choosing not to do so may result in an incomplete application.

  • If you have a degree from the University of Virginia School of Nursing, we recommend that one of your three letters of recommendation be from a U.Va. SON faculty member.

  • Note that recommendations can be submitted after you submit your portion of the application; however, all letters of recommendation are due by the application deadline. We may not be able to allow the late submission of recommendation letters.