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Ever heard of doctoral program contacting your previous masters program for admissions?


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I applied for a doctorate degree during a time I was completing a masters degree at another university. In my application to the doctorate program, I did not list any of my masters professors as references.  However, I did list as a reference the supervisor to which I did my required internship during the masters program (not a professor; a supervisor at a company to which I had an excellent reference).


I do not have a good relationship with the head of my masters program because of a personal issue which is completely unrelated to my academics. (The problem comes from her side- she does not like me and has tried on multiple occasions to bully me out of the program). Because of her bullying, I have had to go to the ombudsman as she refused to answer any emails or calls from me with pertinent academic issues during my studies.  Sounds extremely unprofessional, but that's what I'm dealing with. 


It turns out that the doctorate program I applied to called the head of my masters program to assess my candidacy for the doctorate study. I was really surprised when I learned about this phone call, as these schools are on different coasts and the head of my program was not listed as a reference. Needless to say, I was rejected from the doctorate program I so dearly hoped to be part of. 


My first question is: Have you ever heard of a doctorate program contacting your previous masters program inquiring about your performance (btw, I had a perfect 4.0) when they were not listed as a reference? 


My second question is: What to do about this professor? I attended a very prestigious university where the head of the program is very well-connected and known in this academic community. Any colleague could approach her in the future for a job or docotral program I am interested in and she could give me a horrible reference, thereby ruining and sabotaging my career. When I email her to set up an appointment, I receive no response. Calls are left unreturned. Because of this, I set up a meeting with the vice president of the school to ask her to ask the department head to accept my request to give no response if someone reaches out to her. The vice president said she would try, but cannot guarantee anything. 


Next question: what to do now with my career in light of this? I want a bright future in this field, and feel that the professor will go to all lengths to sabotage me. I feel I have taken the correct steps in trying to contact her (with no response), which is why I went to the ombudsman throughout my time at my masters, and now the vice president of the entire school. I cannot afford to have her ruin my career through blackballing me for jobs or other degree programs. Would the best action at this point (as I am graduating now) be to write her a nice letter asking her to respect my privacy? Another action would be hiring a lawyer to write her a letter asking her not to say negative things. However, I feel the latter action may inflame things even more. 


She is now going on sabbatical and will be away from the school. There will now be a new head of the program who I have never met. I have had great experiences with most professors in my department, but the head of the program in which I have spoken of has created a bad reputation for me in the department in which a couple of the professors have been tainted. My fear is that, in this head of programs absence on sabbatical, that one of those professors will also step in and give their 2 cents that the head of the program started. Should I write them a letter too asking them to give no reference? Again, I will not be listing any of these people as references. 


Thanks so much for reading my post. I am planning on applying for more doctorate programs (deadline Jan 15) and cant afford for this to happen again so would like to act fast. Thanks! 

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