Getting Into Graduate School Without Letters of Recommendation

When applying to graduate school without letters of recommendation, it seems like every school and program you want to attend has that requirement. But don’t worry!  You can get into Graduate School without Letters of Recommendation. Below is a list of schools and specific programs that don’t require any recommendations.

Plus, this article will also give you some ideas on how to get letters of recommendation and how to choose the perfect program for you.Graduate School Without Letters of Recommendation

Applying to Graduate School Without Letters of Recommendation

When deciding to go to grad school, the entire process can seem overwhelming, as you try to balance deadlines standardized tests, and completing applications. This can be especially true if you don’t have any letters of recommendation.

While many graduate programs require them, and references should be viewed as a necessity for doctoral degrees, there are plenty of schools that don’t require letters of recommendation for some master’s programs.

So, if you don’t have any, just check out the schools listed below and find the perfect program for you.

Still worried? Check out our Grad School Roadmap to learn what tasks you should be completing and when they should be done. Then, read all of our tips on applying to graduate school.

In the table below are a few ideas from partner universities to get you started.

List of Grad Schools That Don't Require Letters of Recommendation

Graduate SchoolLetters of Recommendation Required?Other Common Admissions Requirements
1. Liberty UniversityNoApplication, application fee, transcripts, 2.5 GPA
2. Grand Canyon UniversityNoUndergraduate degree from accredited college, 2.8 GPA (flexible)
3. Full Sail UniversityNoBachelor's from Accredited University, 2.5 GPA, Degree in similar field
4. Southern New Hampshire UniversityNo2.75 GPA, undergraduate degree from accredited college
5. Purdue University GlobalNoBachelor's from Accredited University, 2.5 GPA, Transcripts
6. Colorado Technical UniversityNoBachelor's, English proficiency, interview
7. Walden UniversityNoBachelor's, resume, goal statement
8. Ohio UniversityNoApplication, Transcripts, Vary from Program to Program
9. Cleveland State UniversityNoOfficial transcripts, application, test scores
10. University of OklahomaNoTranscripts, Resume, Statement of Goals
11. University of MinnesotaNoGRE, Resume, Bachelor's Degree from Accredited Institution
12. Western Connecticut State UniversityNoTranscripts, Resume, 2.8 GPA

More Information on 12 Grad Schools That Don’t Require Letters of Recommendation

Admissions to graduate schools can be very competitive, especially high-demand degrees such as nursing or an MBA. Therefore, keep in mind that the admissions requirements listed below are the minimum requirements and do not necessarily guarantee admission.

Interested in any of the schools and programs listed below? Click on any of the links and sponsored listings for more information about curriculum, concentrations, and how to apply.

#1: Liberty University

With more than 250,000 alumni and 550 programs of study, Liberty University offers a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation. Committed to academic excellence and to Training Champions for Christ, Liberty strives to teach the values, knowledge, and skills you’ll need for success in every aspect of life.

Admissions Requirements include:

  • Completed application
  • Application fee
  • Transcripts
  • Bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 GPA

Some of the master’s degree programs include:

#2: Grand Canyon University

Over the last eight years, Grand Canyon University has invested millions of dollars to improve the quality of academic offerings and every student’s experience. This has helped the school achieve its mission of providing academic excellence and igniting transformation across the community.

Admissions requirements for graduate programs:

  • Undergraduate degree from accredited college
  • 2.8 GPA or higher for undergraduate
  • If you don’t meet the GPA requirement, you may be accepted if you score higher than a 500 on the GMAT or 300 combined on the verbal / quantitative GRE

Some master’s degrees offered at GCU are:

#3: Full Sail University

Full Sail University uses a creative approach to education that provides an immersive, fast-paced, and relevant learning experience that mirrors the rapidly evolving industries and offers degrees designed for the world of entertainment, media, arts, and technology.

The admissions requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited university
  • 2.5 GPA on bachelor’s degree
  • Degree in similar field or scope as one applying to

Students with a lower GPA, or a degree in an unrelated field, may be accepted with a letter of intent, resume, and transcripts.

Some of the programs at Full Sail are:

#4: Southern New Hampshire University

As a private, nonprofit, accredited institution, Southern New Hampshire University has more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 80,000 online students. Since 1932, the school has been focused on reinventing higher education to fit the changing needs of students.

Some of the many graduate programs at SNHU that don’t require letters of recommendation are the master’s degrees in information technology with concentrations such as:

Admissions requirements for these, and many of the other master’s degrees at SNHU, only require that you have earned a 2.75 GPA while earning your undergraduate degree from an accredited university. However, there may be additional requirements for international students.

#5: Purdue University Global

Admissions Requirements include:

  • Completed application
  • Application fee
  • Transcripts
  • Bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 GPA

Some master’s degrees offered at Purdue University Global are:

#6: Colorado Technical University

Admissions Requirements include:

  • Completed application
  • Application fee
  • Transcripts
  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited university

Some master’s degrees offered at CTU are:

#7: Walden University

Admissions Requirements include:

  • Completed application
  • Resume
  • Interview
  • Bachelor’s degree

Some master’s degrees offered at Walden University are:

#8: Ohio University

Founded in 1808, Ohio University holds its central purpose as the intellectual and personal development of its students. Striving to become the best student-centered, transformative learning community in America, Ohio University offers graduate programs designed to achieve the school’s educational and research mission.

The specific admissions requirements for a master’s degree at Ohio University varies from program to program. Therefore, be sure to check with your desired program for specific requirements.

Some of the master’s degrees offered at Ohio University are:

#9: Cleveland State University

At the core of everything they do at Cleveland State University is their philosophy of Engaged Learning. This is the mantra that gives purpose to Cleveland State’s mission of providing an accessible education and creativity across all branches of learning.

Some of the graduate programs at Cleveland State require letters of recommendation, such as social work and doctorate degrees. However, many programs only require:

  • Completed application
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • Official transcripts
  • Official test scores

Some of the programs that don’t require letters of recommendation are:

#10: University of Oklahoma

Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma believes that anything can grow if you have the drive to make it so. The university is also committed to providing an inclusive community where diversity serves as the cornerstone of learning.

All of the graduate degrees and master’s programs at UO have different admissions requirements. Therefore, be sure to check with all of the requirements before applying. However, the common requirements include:

  • Transcripts
  • GMAT score
  • Resume
  • Statement of goals

Some of the programs available at the University of Oklahoma are:

11: University of Minnesota

The staff and faculty of the University of Minnesota is known for being exceptionally dedicated to the school’s mission of preparing students to meet the challenges of the world by developing your strengths with experiences beyond the classroom.

At the University of Minnesota, all of the master’s degree programs have different admissions requirements, so be sure to check with the school to find the perfect program for you before applying.

However, some of the common admissions requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • 3.0 GPA or above
  • GRE

Some of the degrees that don’t require a letter of recommendation include:

#12: Western Connecticut State University

Striving to change the lives of all students by providing a high-quality education that fosters individual growth, Western Connecticut State University has the goal of being widely recognized as a premier public university that prepares students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.

The admissions requirements at WCSU vary from program to program, some of which require letters of recommendation. However, some of the degrees that don’t have reference requirements include:

For these programs, the admission requirements include:

  • Official transcripts
  • GPA of 2.8 or higher on all completed coursework
  • Completed application with fee

There may be additional requirements, such as a teaching certificate for teaching programs or a portfolio review for arts and writing degrees. Before applying to graduate programs at Western Connecticut State, check with the school for specific requirements.

Admissions Requirements for Grad School

Every school and program has different admissions requirements. In fact, some schools have different requirements for different programs, which is why it’s important to research a variety of schools before applying.

However, some of the most common admissions requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school
  • GRE or GMAT
  • Official transcripts
  • Writing samples or personal statement
  • Resume

Did You Know?

In a recent study, more than half of currently employed graduate students expect salary increases of $20,000 or more after graduation.

While many schools require letters of recommendation for graduate studies, check out the list below for options that don’t have that requirement

How to Get Letters of Recommendation

If you’re applying to graduate school without letters of recommendation, there is still time to get some before sending your applications. While this may take a couple weeks and may postpone sending your applications, it may help you get into some of your target schools.

In fact, some of the schools listed above may not require letters of recommendation for all programs, but may require them for others. And, while they may not be required, they can only improve your chances of acceptance.

Therefore, it can’t hurt to look for references while you send out some applications and wait to send out others until you have received your recommendation letters.

Best Sources of Recommendations

While there are many people you can ask for recommendations, some of the best sources are:

  1. Former teachers
  2. Supervisors
  3. Colleagues

Another option that many students overlook is to take a class, either at the graduate level or even the undergraduate level if you’re changing fields. Make sure that you perform well and participate in class as to impress your professor enough for them to write a recommendation for you.

Of course, this may postpone sending your applications and going to graduate school, but it may also help you get into one of your reach schools.

Paying for Graduate School

According to a study by Sallie Mae, on average graduate students pay for 77% of their education with money they have earned, saved, or borrowed, compared to undergraduates who pay for 30% of their degree using the same resources.

How to Get into Grad School?

The best way to get into graduate school is to prepare yourself while you’re still earning your undergraduate degree by:

  • Taking higher level courses
  • Taking classes from a variety of professors
  • Get professional experience through internships
  • Learning advanced skills need in the field
  • Taking a graduate level course as a senior

If you’re interested in applying to graduate school, be sure to consider different aspects or concentrations of your desired field. The best way to do this is to diversify your courses and research while still pursuing your bachelor’s degree.

That means, don’t choose a specific aspect of your field before your junior year to make sure that you take courses from different professors and different subsets of your field. This can give you a wide variety of experience and points of view.

What Master’s Degree Should I Get?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2013, those with a master’s degree earned $12,000 more per year than those with only a bachelor’s degree across all industries and occupations.i Of course, there were some fields that those with a master’s degree earned the same or below the median annual salary for those with a bachelor’s.

However, a possible increase in wages shouldn’t be the only question to consider when choosing a master’s. You should also think about:

  1. Is it worth the time and money?
  2. What are the alternatives?
  3. Can you get financial aid?

When choosing a master’s degree, be sure to consider all of your options and research a variety of programs and schools to make sure that you find the perfect program for you. For instance, are you looking for an MBA or a master of science in business?

Master’s Degree Programs

Some of the most common master’s degree options are:

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