If you are awarded an academic degree after completing a course at a higher education institution, you will also receive a Diploma Supplement. This is an additional document standardised at European level and issued in German and English, which describes in simple terms the course and qualification, their content and their level.
How a Diploma Supplement works
A Diploma Supplement will
- Promote transparency in higher education.
- Help explain and promote understanding about the constant changes in qualification requirements and education systems.
- Promote mobility and therefore also access to education, training and lifelong learning.
- Make academic and professional recognition easier and therefore be useful for individuals, employers and educational institutions.
- Help people make informed assessments of qualifications.
- Make it more attractive for students to acquire qualifications.
A Diploma Supplement won’t
- Act as a CV.
- Replace the original proof of qualification or transcript.
- Guarantee automatic recognition of a degree.
The birth of the Diploma Supplement
At European level
- The Diploma Supplement was developed between 1996 and 1998 on the basis of preliminary work by UNESCO and the Council of Europe in a joint working group with the European Commission. This comprised over 70 different institutions (including higher education institutions, ENIC/NARIC and social partners). Graz University of Technology participated in the working group on behalf of Austria.
- The working group made the following recommendations which universities can still use for guidance:
- It would be beneficial if Supplements were issued automatically.
- Supplements should be produced in a unified format throughout Europe, according to the basic structure we have established.
- Supplements may be used for any qualification and any subject, and by any type of establishment of any size.
- ECTS credits should be listed in Supplements.
- Supplements may be issued in more than one language.
- An international template for the Diploma Supplement was developed.
- The Diploma Supplement has now been introduced in most countries in the European Higher Education Area, and some countries issue them universally.
- The Diploma Supplement is now known as the Europass Diploma Supplement (Europass Diplomzusatz). This is an important part of Europass, the transparency initiative for documents valid throughout Europe.
Implementation in Austria
- In the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (Lisbon Recognition Convention), participating countries undertake to promote the use of the Diploma Supplement (Article IX.3). Austria has ratified this Convention.
- The Universities Act 2002 (Section 69 UG para. 2), the Federal Act on University of Applied Sciences Studies Act (Section 3b FHStG para. 5) and the Teacher Education Act 2005 (Section 60 HSG para. 2) each contain an authorisation for the competent member of the government to set out by decree the form in which the Diploma Supplement is to be issued. The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) is currently responsible for this.
- A basic outline was drawn up in Austria with the agreement of all the institutions involved, which adapts the European template to the particular features of Austria’s higher education institutions. On this basis, the Diploma Supplement (Anhang zum Diplom) was adopted into the relevant university legislation:
- Public universities Section 6 para. 1 and Annex 2 to the University Study Record Decree 2004
- Degree programmes at universities of applied sciences: Regulation on issuing a Diploma Supplement for graduates from degree courses at universities of applied sciences
- University colleges of teacher education: Regulation on the format of certificates and Diploma Supplements at university colleges of teacher education
5. Notes on completion
- Universities (in German only) (PDF, 105 KB)
- Universities of applied sciences (in German only) (PDF, 105 KB)
- University colleges of teacher education (in German only) (PDF, 104 KB)
6. Overview of the Austrian higher education system according to the rules for the Diploma Supplement (PDF, 123 KB)
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