Letters of Reference

External and internal referees provide substantial weight in favour of a candidate’s promotion.  Hospital promotion administrators will request names from candidates, DDDs and PICs.  A minimum of six names of potential referees for each category (external and internal) who meet all below criteria will be submitted to the University of Toronto (U of T) Department of Medicine (DoM) administrator to be solicited on a candidate’s behalf, using the following forms. If more than six names are submitted, referees will be solicited in the order they are listed.  Please submit a minimum of eight and maximum of twelve names of potential student referees.

Important note:  As the Department of Medicine administrator will solicit all referees, under no circumstances should candidates contact any of their potential referees at any time during the promotions process regarding using them as a referee. You do not need to ask them for their permission to use them, nor should you notify them you have put them on your list. Doing so will automatically void them from your list of referees.

External Referee List 

Internal Referee List 

Student Testimonial List

Please note that referees are meant to offer their professional opinion on scholarly achievement, not a personal perspective. Friends, mentors, present or former teachers and supervisors will be considered in conflict. Candidates are welcome to submit letters of support from these individuals, which will be classified as colleague letters but do not count towards the required letters of reference.

There should be no financial relationship between the candidate and referee. Sharing patients or sitting on the same committee or exam board does not necessarily disqualify a referee. Both candidates and referees should keep in mind any possibility of a conflict of interest and exercise judgement as to the closeness of the relationship.

External Referees          

External referees establish the candidate’s reputation nationally or internationally, help to frame the value-add of his/her work, and place the candidate in context of their peers and the expectations for promotion at other universities.

In order to write on a candidate’s behalf, external referees must be:

  • at arm's length - no collaboration (e.g. publications or research grants) in the past five years
  • senior experts in the academic field
  • at or above the aspired rank

Need help finding eligible referees?

  • conduct PubMed search
  • ask international colleagues for names

Internal Referees

Internal Referees are now only required for those candidates waiving External Review.

For candidates going forward on Research or CPA, Internal Referees are not required. As an alternative, you may solicit Colleague Letters.

Internal referees must be:

  • Faculty in DoM or other U of T departments, e.g., surgery
  • Outside of the candidate’s University division
  • Minimum three out of six names listed must be outside the candidate's primary hospital. All referees requested within the primary hospital must be from a different University department.
  • NOT close colleagues (including clinical colleagues) or personal associates
  • At arm’s length: no collaboration (e.g. publications or research grants) within the past five years
  • at or above the aspired rank

The following people are not eligible to act as internal referees:

Members of the Decanal Promotion Committee 

Members of the DoM Promotion Committee or Teaching Effectiveness Committee

U of T Clinical Faculty Advocate

Additionally, please avoid requesting internal letters from:

Hospital Physicians-In-Chief 

Chairs of other Faculty of Medicine Departments

U of T DoM Division Directors


Please see the Manual for Academic Promotion for more information on letters of reference (pg 28, 4.3.1).

Student Testimonials

The candidate must provide a minimum of eight and no more than twelve names of potential student referees.   

These students should be:

  • current or former trainees, taught/trained/supervised and/or mentored by the candidate since last promotion.
  • representative of multiple levels of training, e.g. undergraduate to postgraduate to graduate depending on the scope of the candidate’s teaching activities
  • able to attest to the candidate’s attributes as an effective teacher, educational scholar and mentor

Template Student Testimonial Letter

University Reporting Letters

The DoM promotions administrator will solicit additional support letters from:

  • The Hospital PIC
  • The University division director
  • The Chair of any cross-appointed departments or research institutes
  • The DoM Chair 

Template Letter for PICs, DDDs, and Cross-Appointed Chairs