Feb 16, 2010
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Hi.

Harvard website says, "At least one (1) letter should be written by a professor who is not in the sciences."

What is the definition of professor in this context? Does the person have to have a Ph.D?

I took an English course, but he only had his masters degree. I don't think he's a Ph.D candidate either... which is very weird?

Can I use this person for my letter?
 

mipp0

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Sep 10, 2008
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Depends on the school actually. Some professors actually teach with only a Masters in some colleges, so it's not unheard of. I would think it's OK, but your LOR would definitely not WOW people.

Doctorates for the win.
 

BlueElmo

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Professor as in someone who has PhD and has taught you.
 

GatorPhD

Moon River!!!
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Why don't you email Harvard and ask them?

They might be using "professor" in the colloquial sense as in "a teacher", not the tenure-track, rigorous academic ranking sense.

In my opinion, it's better to have a letter from someone who knows you well and can really comment on your performance in the classroom and about you as a person. I would take one of these over just some random Ph.D. who doesn't know you at all, but because they have a doctorate, they'll do.

You're fooling yourself if you think adcoms can't see through these boiler plate, generic letters written by people who don't really know you. What's going to wow them is a well-written LOR by someone who really knows a lot about you.

For full disclosure, one of my science LORs was written by a guy with a M.S. It didn't seem to hurt any as I was accepted to Harvard...

Write them and ask them.

IMHO,
Gator