FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: Can I write a letter of recommendation on department letterhead?
A: The University's Policy and Procedure manual states that individual departments are not allowed to design their own letterhead; instead, departments are allowed to use University letterhead for University business. So the Geology department does not have a department letterhead; we use University letterhead for all official business.

Q: Can grad students write a letter of recommendation on University/Department letterhead?
A: On occasion, Geology graduate students may be asked to write a letter of recommendation on behalf of a student. Current policy (Approved: 12/1/11, Supersedes: 10/10/06) states implies that as long as the graduate student is still affiliated with the department, they can use departmental letterhead for official University business, including writing a letter of recommendation.

Here’s the policy statement in PPM 310-55:

II. Policy
A. The appearance and use of letterhead stationery and business cards is governed by the following concepts:
  1. The University must be represented in a manner that reflects its configuration as a unified system of enterprises in research, teaching, and public service.
  2. Individuals or groups within the University community are not permitted to present opinions in ways that imply endorsement by the University.
  3. The University does not take a position on political or religious issues.
B. California law, the Bylaws of The Regents of the University of California, Presidential policy, and campus administrative policy restrict use of the University’s name and seal to purposes that are in keeping with the mission of the University.

Q: Can grad students use University/Department letterhead for letters of application to other institutions or for scholarship applications?
A: In regards to applications, graduate students are not conducting official University business and may not use University letterhead.