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Diploma Supplement - core element Bologna-Process

What is a Diploma Supplement?

A Diploma Supplement is an addition to the leaving certificate in the academic area of education that was introduced in the course of the Bologna-Process. It is awarded by academies along with the original certificate. The Diploma Supplement describes the courses' properties, contents and type of degree and should be devoid of value judgements, recommendations or approval of any kind. It does not replace the original certificate.

Which are the aspects mentioned in a Diploma-Supplement?

According to a guideline of the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the UNESCO/CEPES the following aspects should be part of the Diploma Supplement:

  • Information about the holder of the certificate (name, date of birth, matriculation number
  • Information about the qualification (denotation, major subject, etc.) 
  • Information about the grade of qualification (level, duration, entrance requirements)
  • Information about the contents an the reached results
  • Information about the status of qualification (access to continuative courses)
  • Additional information (information about the academy)
  • Certification of the Diploma Supplement (relation to the testamur)
  • Information about the national higher education sector

A description of the national higher education sector is provided by the network of "National Academic Recognition Information Centres" (NARICs) and can be found at

In case to one of the above mentioned aspects there is not issued a statement, there should be given reasons for.

When will the Diploma Supplement be introduced? Why?

The due day for the introduction of the Diploma Supplement in Germany was January 1st 2005. To that point, however, only 13 % of the academies had finished the realisation of this certificate accessory - corresponding to the result of a survey that was carried out by the association of universities and other higher education institutions in Germany. But at that time 80 % of all academies had already started an initiative for the introduction. As the reforms of the Bologna-Process will be realised by the year 2010, it is to be expected that - by that time at the latest - for all courses a Diploma Supplement will be awarded. Restructuring the system of education in the course of the Bologna Process the education shall be made more transparent and the students' mobility promoted.

What are the benefits for all parties involved?

Benefits for students: With an objective description of the particular performances and skills the individual academic career gains transparency. The professional qualification sharpens up and the international aspect of the career comes to the fore. The same applies to the continuation of studies abroad. Consequently a Diploma Supplement enhances the students' mobility.

Benefits for academies: The international setting enables a distinct presentation of the academy's own profile. The quality of its offers becomes transparent, the international aspect of education gains significance. In the long run the administrative effort decreases by means of the uniformed scope: Leaving certificates of foreign students can be valued easily by the examination offices.

Benefits for businesses: For businesses the Diploma Supplement means the chance to find appropriate applicants considerably quicker. This standardisation permits the comparison of the applicants' competences at one glance. Not only the type of degree but also the acquired contents are apparent for the potential employer and therefore easier to trace.

Why is the Diploma Supplement a basic element of the Bologna Process?

The world of business and labour needs contemporarily skilled potentials. The mobility of students increases through the introduction of pan-european standards and the numerous options of specialisation provide precise insight into the candidates' individual profiles per view on the differentiated schedules and possibilities of advanced education. The Bologna-Process represents the education-political answer to the demands of the 21st century's work environment. The Diploma Supplement renders possible a fair, informative and internationally orientated evaluation of the gained academic and professional qualification (certificates, degrees etc.).

This following guideline has been developed by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the UNESCO/CEPES:

, Editor in Chief