The diploma supplement

What is a diploma supplement ?

The diploma supplement (DS) is a gratuitous document automatically attached to a higher education qualification that aims to provide additional transparency regarding the qualification and so facilitate recognition of the student’s attainments (diplomas, certificates, university qualifications etc.).

It accompanies a higher education qualification and provides a standardized description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies completed by its holder, but gives absolutely no value judgements, declaration of equivalency or suggestions regarding its acceptance. It is a flexible tool, non- normative and is designed to save time, money and additional work. It can be adapted to specific needs.

National higher education institutions produce the supplement according to a template jointly developed, tested and validated by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO.

The diploma supplement is made up of eight parts:

  • information identifying the holder of the qualification,
  • information identifying the qualification,
  • information on the level of the qualification
  • information on the contents and results gained,
  • information on the function of the qualification,
  • additional information,
  • certification of the supplement,
  • information regarding the national higher education system.

All the required information must be provided in each of the eight parts. When information is missing, then the reasons for this must be explained. Educational institutions can use the same methods to authenticate a diploma supplement as they do for the diploma itself.

For improved visibility, this is joined to a description of the higher education system in France.

Its advantages for the student

  • A diploma that is more readable and easily comparable abroad,
  • A precise description of their academic career and the competencies acquired during the study period,
  • An objective description of their achievements and competencies,
  • Easier access to opportunities to work or study abroad,
  • Improved employability as employers are increasingly interested by the profile the SD gives to students.


  1. It is not a C.V.,
  2. It cannot replace the original qualification or exam results,
  3. It does not guarantee recognition.

It is necessary because :

New qualifications proliferate worldwide and qualification systems and educational structures are constantly being changed in response to rapid economic, political and technological mutations. An increasing number of mobile citizens are seeking fair recognition of their qualifications as poor recognition and the subsequent undervaluing of qualifications is now a global problem. Since the information on the original credentials provides grossly insufficient information, it is very difficult to assess the level and function of a qualification without detailed explanations.

The diploma supplement is a response to these challenges because :

  • It promotes transparency in higher education,
  • It adapts easily to rapid changes in qualifications,
  • It Promotes mobility and access to lifelong learning opportunity,
  • It promotes fair informed judgements about qualifications.