Credential evaluators should make use of the DS, if available, when evaluating an application. The DS should always accompany the qualification and should include the transcript of records listing the courses and other elements of the programme completed.

DS sections of particular interest to credential evaluators

Credential evaluators should consider in particular the following sections and sub-sections of the DS:

  1. Information identifying the qualification, and in particular the paragraphs:
    1. Name of qualification and (if applicable) title conferred (in original language)
    2. Name and status of the awarding institution. For more information on this, please go to topic 3: “Accreditation and Quality Assurance (status of the institution)”
    3. Name and status of institution (if different from 2.3) administering studies
      This is important when the institution awarding the qualification is not the same as the institution(s) administering the studies: for instance in the case of a joint programme or cross-border or transnational education. For more information on this, please go to topic 15: “Qualifications awarded by joint programmes”
  2. Information on the level of qualification, and reference to national and international qualification frameworks.
  3. Information on the contents and results gained, with a focus on learning outcomes.
    When learning outcomes are clearly documented, assessments should take these into consideration and recognition should be based on a comparison of learning outcomes and competences. For more information on this, please turn to topic 9: “Learning Outcomes” (link to chapter 9).
  4. Information on the function of the qualification.
  5. Additional information.
    This section should be consulted on a case by case basis.
  6. Information on the national higher education system.
    This section gives information on the higher educational system: its general access requirements; the national qualifications framework (where applicable), types of institution and the quality assurance or accreditation system. For countries which are members of the European Union, the national framework should also be compatible with the European Qualifications Framework. For more information on this, please turn to topic 7: “Qualifications Frameworks” (link to chapter 7) and topic 3: “Accreditation and Quality Assurance (status of the institution)”.


The need to double-check some of the information contained in the DS

The DS should be considered as one of the most important sources of information on the qualification and its system in which it was awarded, but it should not be used as the only source of information. The existence of a Diploma Supplement does not guarantee the status of an institution, its awards, or whether it is recognised as part of a national higher education system. Even if the DS includes this kind of information, credential evaluators should always carefully check, via other sources, the status of the institution, whether the qualification is recognised in the awarding country or not. It is also a good habit to check whether the name of the person who obtained the qualification is the same on the DS. In some educational systems, qualifications carry a number which is also mentioned in the DS; it might be worth verifying this number correspondence.

Reduced need for translations of other documents

DS are usually issued in the language of the awarding country and another widely spoken language (usually English). Therefore, the use of the Diploma Supplement (where available) should reduce the need for translation of other key documents required for recognition.

The necessity of referring to the DS

The DS should be used as a tool to enable the credential evaluator to place the foreign qualification in its national educational context and then compare it to a qualification in the host country. It is a first essential step in the understanding of the qualification in its own educational system, with an overview of the system itself.

Geographically limited use of the DS

The DS is issued in countries involved in the Bologna process. Therefore, it should not be requested of applicants whose qualification was awarded outside the EHEA or before the Bologna process was implemented.

In these countries, documents similar to the DS, such as transcripts of records or records of passed examinations for each subject studied at university (e.g. credit book, index of exams, etc.) are issued to students. During the assessment of the foreign qualification, the information contained in these documents will be treated in the same way as the information of the same kind included in the DS.