For Students

Office Hours

You can make an appointment for my office hours. Please note that all appointments will be in Eastern Time. Carefully select the appointment type that fits your circumstances.

Letters of Recommendation

I am generally happy to write letters of recommendation for students. Generally speaking, I will write for students who:

  • have earned an A or an A- in two classes with me
  • have participated in some intensive research activity with me (e.g., UREP at UMass)
  • are a senior thesis student of mine
  • have otherwise developed a professional connection with me

These criteria enable me to write a good letter for you. I put time and care into my letters, and I want anyone who reads what I write to be able to trust what I say.

If you fit into one of these categories, or you have otherwise approached me about writing for you (and I’ve said yes!), then you should:

  • Fill in this form
  • Email me ( paul dot musgrave at gmail dot com) to tell me you’ve filled in the form!
    • Please use the subject line “[Your last name] Letter of Recommendation”
    • Include as attachments to this email your CV/resume, personal statement, cover letter, etc–anything you will be sending to the employer/school/whatever plus anything else I should know

It takes me between 15 minutes and an hour to write a letter of recommendation (the first time; subsequent letters are faster). It’s uncompensated work. And, if I have several of them to write, it’s actually a lot of work. So I tend to do them in batches, near the end of the month, when I can set aside some time after a working day to crank through them. This means that in general you should give me at least a month’s notice, especially for your first letter. (Subsequent ones may be much faster, although I may also be traveling or otherwise engaged, so you should still aim to give me at least a week.) I understand that sometimes opportunities arise late, but if I don’t have sufficient time it may be very difficult for me to turn a good letter around.

Finally, remind me of what’s going on. If you haven’t heard from me, and the deadline is growing near, I would rather have a reminder email from you because I may have overlooked the letter (it happens!). So please remind me, remind me, remind me … starting about a week in advance.