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Prospective Students  |  Reference Letter Requests

Prospective Students

(Updated in Fall 2023) If you are a prospective PhD student interested in working at the intersection of critical Korean studies, interdisciplinary gender and sexuality studies, and cultural geography (especially of activism and religion), please and get in touch with me at my UCLA address. Tell me a little about yourself and what you’re interested in researching. I do not have any say in the admissions process unless I happen to serve on the admissions committee that year, but it would be important for me to know who is applying to the program to work with me so I can look out for your file and advocate for you if it comes to that.

Reference Letter Requests

I’d be glad to provide reference/recommendation letters for graduate school, employment, and other opportunities for undergraduate students who have worked with me as research assistants or taken courses with me. Please email me with a formal request with the following information.

  1. I will gladly provide reference letters for students who have earned at least an A- (above 90%) in my courses and research assistants who have impressed me with their initiative, reliability, intellectual capacity, and organizational skills. I generally do not provide references for students who have not completed at least one course with me.
  2. When you email me, please use an informative subject line, i.e. not something vague like “hello” or “reference letter question.” Something like “Letter request due 18 Jan 2023” would be perfect.
  3. Please remind me a little about who you are and how we know each other. Tell me why you want a letter from me.
  4. Writing a reference letter for the first time takes a hundred times more than revising an existing letter for a different scholarship or program. Put differently, it is a hundred times easier to write a letter for you if I have already done it once before. So please don’t be sheepish about asking me if I have already written a letter for you, but if you’re asking for the first time, definitely #5 applies.
  5. I ask that all reference requests be made at least 3 weeks before the deadline. Once I agree, I also ask that you send me an email reminder 1 week before the deadline.

Once I say yes to writing a reference letter for you:

  1. I am assuming that most letters would be submitted via an online form. If that’s not the case, let me know right away.
  2. For graduate school, let me know the mailing address and URL for the department/program you’re applying to. If you’re applying to multiple programs, please email me a list of with school/program names, mailing addresses, URLs, and deadlines.
  3. Please send me your statement of purpose even if it’s still a draft. The more I know about what you’re applying to and why, the more I can customize the letter for you.
  4. For reference letters for employment, send me the job description blurb or URL if possible. The more I know about how you’re qualified for the position, the more I can customize the letter for you.
  5. Attach an up-to-date resume/CV that includes information about your background such as major fields of study, honors and awards, volunteer experience, and employment history. I welcome information about extracurricular activities, activist involvement, and community service in your email to me. The more I know about you, the stronger the letter will be. Word or PDF files, please.
  6. Attach an unofficial transcript (a screenshot would suffice, if a PDF is not possible).
  7. If you took a class with me, remind me which class, and a brief description of what grade you learned. Tell me a little about your work in that class and in what ways you stood out.
  8. Please send me something you wrote—discussion posts, research papers, creative writing, anything—preferably from a class you took with me. For file attachments, please use an informative and unique file name such as “Han CV 2015-12.pdf” — not “my resume.pdf.”
  9. Keep the email thread together so our communication could easily be traced. This means you should always reply to my email quoting my earlier email to you. You should never start a new email with a new subject line unless you’re starting an entirely new topic of conversation or the email thread has grown so long that it has become unwieldy. See this email etiquette.
  10. Please remember that I consider a reference request to be a formal and professional correspondence. Don’t send a request from your smartphone (I can see the “sent from iPhone” signature, you know) and proofread before sending. Correctly spelling my name is always a good place to start. 🙂

In short: send me an email with 1) your statement draft, 2) CV, 3) unofficial transcript, and 4) writing sample(s).

Good luck!