Letters of Evaluation

Letters of Evaluation allow people who know you and have worked with you to support your application.

A strong letter provides information about characteristics that will enhance your success in graduate professional school, and as a practitioner. They speak to qualities such as your resourcefulness, integrity, motivation, drive, altruism, interpersonal skills, intellectual drive and curiosity.

Before selecting evaluators, please consider that no one is required to participate in the Letter of Evaluation (LOE) process. Anyone writing a letter of evaluation for a health professional school bears an obligation of candor to you, the institutions to whom it is addressed, and to the institution the writer represents. It is the writer’s responsibility to determine how to respond to your request for a letter. If a prospective evaluator feels that they are not able to write a letter following the guidelines of honesty and reliability provided by the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program, then it is their responsibility to decline.

Evaluators typically put tremendous time and effort into letters that they write. It is expected that all LOEs that are received in support of your career goal will be sent on to health professional schools. Students are not allowed to “letter shop,” asking for extra letters and then choosing the best ones to submit.

Types of Letters

The Committee Letter is a composite letter that includes full content of all required evaluator letters plus an evaluation from the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program. The PreMed and PreHealth evaluation is a competency-based summary of a student’s clinical, community engagement, and research experiences as well as academic performance, professionalism, and additional interpersonal competencies.

Committee letters are strongly preferred by the programs for which we advise (exception: optometric medicine, veterinary medicine, physician assistant). If you are applying for admission to schools of allopathic medicine (MD), osteopathic medicine (DO), dental medicine, or podiatric medicine, and you are applying within three years of NU graduation, a Committee Letter of Evaluation will contribute to a competitive application.

More information on Committee Letter processes can be found within the applicable health professions page on the left side menu or directly via the following links:

The Letter Packet includes the same required letters as a Committee Letter, but has a cover page instead of an evaluation from the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program. Please review important information in the Medical Applicant Portal (MAP) and on the Letter Packet Requirements page for letter requirements and deadlines to qualify for a Letter Packet.

Students who miss a deadline and therefore become ineligible for a Committee Letter may still request a Letter Packet.

If you choose to send individual Letters of Evaluation, please do not request them through MAP. Instead, follow the instructions in the common application for your profession, or the directions of the specific schools if they have a different application process.

If you are applying for admissions to schools of optometric medicine or veterinary medicine, or are an Alumni who graduated three or more years ago, it is recommended that you apply with individual letters of evaluation. Physician Assistant Programs require individual letters of evaluation. For current students and recent alums, please know that most allopathic (MD), osteopathic (DO), dental, and podiatric schools do expect a Committee Letter be submitted as part of your application.

The PreMed/PreHealth Program does offer an individual Advisor Letter process for veterinary and optometry applicants in the year of their application. More information on Advisor Letter process can be found within the applicable health professions page on the left side menu or directly via the following links:

How to Request Letters of Evaluation

Under most circumstances you will want to wait until your application year to request letters of evaluation.

For internal letters from NU faculty this will allow you the opportunity to take your smaller, upper level classes before you request a letter of evaluation. In addition, if you have a professor who you particularly like, you may enroll in another class or complete a directed study with them. After a second class the professor will be able to write a better evaluation. Remember to keep in touch with faculty after class ends; stop by for advice about a co-op or research position, tutor their class, or assist with their research. Make an effort to check in with a couple of former science professors once a semester to let them know what you are doing, and to maintain your relationship.

For external letters you may request letters within a few months of your experience. However, it may be more effective to maintain a relationship with your evaluator and ask for a letter closer to your application time. This allows a mentor to see how you grow over time. It also helps to establish that you are able to maintain long-term professional relationships. We do require that at least one clinical letter from a practitioner in the specific field to which you are applying.

External letters that are dated more than three years before your application year will not assist you to be competitive. Therefore, we require all letters to be dated within the three years preceding your application.

Whenever possible we recommend that you make an appointment to meet with your potential evaluator to request a letter of evaluation. In your email request for an appointment let the evaluator know that you would like to meet with them to discuss your application to medical or dental school.  This sets the stage for your meeting and, in the unlikely event that the evaluator doesn’t feel that they can recommend you, allows them to decline. When you go to your appointment bring a current resume, a draft of your personal statement, and a copy of your degree audit or unofficial transcript to leave behind with the evaluator. Be prepared to talk about your passion for medicine/dentistry and future aspirations.

Once an evaluator has agreed to write a recommendation for you, you will send an official request to them via the Medical Applicant Portal (MAP).  Log into your account and go to the “Letters of Evaluation” section and enter the contact information for your evaluator.  MAP will send instructions for submission directly to the email address that you enter.  Under no circumstances should you send a letter request to your own email address.

Explain to each evaluator who consents to write a letter on your behalf that:

  1. They will receive an e-mail from the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program confirming that s/he has agreed to write a letter on your behalf. The confidentiality status of the letter will be confirmed as well as your matriculation year.
  2. They will be asked to submit a candid letter of evaluation electronically. NU faculty will submit a word document, all other evaluators will be asked to submit a PDF copy of a letter that is signed, dated, and on professional/institutional letterhead.  All NU faculty are required to submit electronically.  For external evaluators, we prefer an electronically submitted PDF but we will accept a hard-copy original by US mail (not by fax).
  3. Make sure to tell the evaluator the deadline for submitting their letter. It is also included in the letter request email.
  4. You may also want to give your evaluator a copy of the AAMC’s Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation for a Medical School Applicant. This brochure was developed for allopathic medicine programs, but generalizes well to other types of health professions.

The PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program will retain letters of evaluation (LOEs) submitted to MAP for inclusion in a Committee Letter or Letter Packet. LOEs will be available for future use if you decide to defer your application, or if you are not successful the first time you apply.

For those applying with individual letters of recommendation, applicants should stay in contact with evaluators to obtain new or updated letters of recommendation in accordance with their application year. Applicants may also choose to utilize a letter service, such as Interfolio, to store letters of evaluation.

Please note: The PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program cannot forward letters to any program other than what was designated on the original request.  We are unable to send letters to medical master’s, Post-Bacc, Physician’s Assistant, Nursing (etc.) programs. Please contact your evaluators directly to request that letters be tailored to the program to which you are applying.

Internal Science Letters

Centralized application services for health professional programs typically calculate one or more science GPA’s that may include courses in Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics (BCMP). To calculate your science vs. non-science GPA review the instructions in the GPA Calculations section under Supporting Information on the Academic Preparation page.

For some students, the courses you use in your science GPA calculations may come from other departments that teach classes that are concentrated in the abovementioned subjects. Below are courses that the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program will also accept (for the Committee Letter or Letter Packet) as science (BCMP) letters of evaluation, based on faculty recommendation. All statistics courses offered at Northeastern University will be accepted as science (BCMP) letters of evaluation.

  • PSYC 3200 Clinical Neuroanatomy
  • PSYC3452  Sensation and Perception
  • PSYC3458  Biological Psychology
  • PSYC3506  Neuropsychology of Fear
  • PSYC3508  Behavioral Endocrinology
  • PSYC3510  Brain, Behavior and Immunity
  • PSYC4510  Psychopharmacology
  • PSYC4512  Neuropsychology
  • PSYC4514  Clinical Neuroscience
  • PSYC4520  Language and the Brain
  • PSYC4570  Behavioral Genetics
  • PSYC4606  Lab in Biological Psychology
  • PSYC4622  Lab in Sensation and Perception
  • PSYC4656  Seminar in Biological Psychology
  • PSYC4668  Seminar in Sensation and Perception
  • PSYC4674  Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PT5410/4511  Functional Human Neuroanatomy with lab
  • BIOE2355  Quantitative Physiology for Bioengineers
  • BIOE3380  Biomolecular Dynamics and Control
  • BIOE5410  Molecular Bioengineering
  • BIOE5420  Cellular Engineering
  • BIOE5430  Principles and Applications of Tissue Engineering
  • BIOE5440 The Cell as a Machine
  • BIOE5450 Stem Cell Engineering
  • BIOE5630  Physiological Fluid Mechanics
  • CHEME2310 Transport Processes 1
  • CHEME2320 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 1
  • CHEME 3312 Transport Processes 2 and Separations
  • CHEME 3322 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics 2
  • CHEME4510 Chemical Engineering Kinetics