A diploma (from Greek δίπλωµα diploma, meaning "folded paper") is a certificate or deed issued by an educational institution, such as a university, that testifies that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study, or confers an academic degree. In countries such as the United Kingdom. and Australia, the word diploma refers to a level of academic award.
In some countries, such as the UK and Australia, such a document is called a testimonium or testamur, Latin for "we testify" or "certify" (testari), and so called from the word with which the certificate begins.
In Ireland it is generally called a parchment.
It should not be confused with the Diplom (note spelling difference) awarded in Germany / Austria as well as a number of other European countries which denotes an advanced academic degree.
Past diploma styles
Diplomas were originally made of sheepskin
, as paper was not very durable and was difficult to create. The sheepskin was made paper thin and information was handwritten. Soon, parchment
was used for the diploma and at the turn of the 20th century, the diploma became bound in leather
Diplomas used to be quite large, but it has become common to print diplomas on standard letter or A4 size paper.
As an academic award
- In the U.S., the word diploma usually refers to the actual document received at the end of higher education. It also can refer to a specific academic award. An example would be in the field of Nursing where the Diploma in Nursing was offered by hospital based schools. In other parts of the world, diploma often refers to the actual education or is some indication of the amount of time spent in study.
- In some countries, such as Australia, Pakistan and India a diploma is a specific academic award of lower rank than a bachelor degree (and in some areas an Advanced Diploma falls in between as well).
- In India a diploma is a specific academic award usually awarded in professional/vocational courses e.g. Engineering, Pharmacy, Designing, etc. In such cases Diploma is lower in rank than a specific bachelor degree of that discipline but equivalent to general degree in that discipline e.g. Diploma in Engineering of Electronics Engineering is lower than Bachelor of Technology in Electronics Engineering but is equivalent to Bachelor of Science in Electronics. Also Diploma are little bit specific in nature e.g. Diploma in Engineering of Electronics Engineering may be in Advanced Communication Systems (ACS) or Integrated Circuits (IC) or Industrial Electronics (IE) ...
- In Pakistan a Diploma is a specific academic award usually awarded in professional/vocational courses e.g. Engineering, Nursing, Fashion, etc. In such cases Diploma is lower in rank than a specific bachelor degree of that discipline. As diploma studies started on vocational route of study after school for 3 years, B.Tech Bachelor of Technology is the logical degree for diploma graduates if they want to complete the Bachelor. Also Diploma are little bit specific in nature e.g. Diploma in Engineering of Electronics Engineering or Industrial Electronics, Civil Engineering. graduates of Diplomas work as associates to Engineers and often called as Associate Engineers. Few Postgraduate Diploma or PGD are ranked higher than the Bachelor degree as they are completed after graduation. These are normally a year courses after a university degree.
- In Ireland a National Diploma is below the standard of the honours Bachelor's degree, whilst the Higher Diploma is taken after the bachelor degree.
- In Germany, Ukraine, Serbia and other countries that adopted the German academic education system, diploma (in German Diplom) is the standard academic degree, comparable with the Bachelor's and Master's degree in one.
- diploma in Japan you can obtain Diploma of Higher Education