Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Medicine

Referee Guidelines

Use this page to determine how many referees are required for a new faculty appointment and obtain resources for soliciting letters of recommendation.

DOM Academic Affairs no longer solicits reference letters for new faculty appointments.

Use the chart below to determine whether the solicitation of reference letters is the responsibility of the Division or the Dean's office. In cases where the Division is responsible for obtaining reference letters, the referee list should be reviewed by DOM Academic Affairs before the referees are contacted.

Required Referees by Appointment Rank (for New Faculty Appointments)


# of Required Referees

Who Contacts

Lecturer (FT/PT, NTE)None required-----
Adjunct (NTE)None required-----
Instructor (FT/PT, NTE)None required-----

Assistant Professor

FT/PT, NTE4-6Division
FT, Tenure-Eligible4-6Division

Associate Professor

FT/PT, NTE6-8Division
FT, Tenure-Eligible6-8Division
FT, Tenured6-8FSM


FT/PT, NTE6-8Division
FT, Tenured6-8FSM

Please note:

Soliciting Reference Letters

When the responsibility for soliciting offer letters rests with the Division, please follow these steps:

  1. Ask the candidate to complete the referee table to supply a list of referees who can be contacted for letters of recommendation. We recommend that the candidate supply more than the minimum number of referee names, as referees do not always respond in a timely manner.

  2. Submit the list of referee names to DOM Academic Affairs for review to ensure that the referees are appropriate for the proposed appointment.

  3. After DOM Academic Affairs approves the referee list, contact the referees via email to request letters of recommendation. Past experience suggests that three weeks is a realistic timeframe within which to obtain the letters, and this is best accomplished by first giving the referees a two week deadline. Then on the date of the deadline, contact any referees who have not responded and extend the deadline another week. You may wish to use the following resources to solicit reference letters:

    Sample Letter of Solicitation:

    Solicit reference letters via email using this template.

    Appointment Criteria:

    Attach the appropriate appointment criteria for the proposed rank to your email.