Practical Guidelines for Joint Programmes on the Diploma Supplement

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This article brings together the practical guidelines, suggestions and recommendations from several publications. The main goal of this article is to raise awareness about awarding diploma supplements. All practical guidelines are to be considered as general guidance for joint programmes.


Source: Aerden, A., Reczulska, H. (2013). Guidelines for Good Practice for Awarding Joint Degrees. ECA Occasional Paper. The Hague.

The following guidelines for good practice are to be read in addition to the original instructions included in the Diploma Supplement template. The guidelines for good practice do not change the original Diploma Supplement template but demonstrate good practices when producing a Diploma Supplement for a joint degree. The Diploma Supplement should enable individuals with no prior knowledge of the joint programme to fully comprehend the awarded joint degree. A Diploma Supplement awarded together with a joint degree should therefore include all the necessary references as included in the guidelines above. A joint degree consequently includes a joint Diploma Supplement. Joint programme consortia have to bear in mind that those reading their documents need to be able to authenticate that information. However, take care not to overburden the recipient of your Diploma Supplements (credential evaluators, employers, etc.) and rather present your information as clear and concise as possible. Some joint programmes regularly change their coordinator and/or coordinating institution. This should not pose a problem as long as the information regarding the joint programme (archive) is kept available.

  1. The student identification number (section 1.4), should include reference to the relevant system (institution, country, …);
  2. The name(s) of the qualification (section 2.1) includes the qualification’s original full name(s) (as included on the joint degree, and where relevant, with Latin transcriptions) with reference to all relevant (sub)national legal frameworks;
  3. Where applicable, the awarded title(s) (section 2.1) is/are included in its original language(s) according to all relevant (sub)national legal frameworks;
  4. If a graduate receives other national degrees alongside the joint degree (i.e. the joint degree is part of a multiple degree arrangement), this should be indicated and included (section 2.1);
  5. The status of the institutions awarding the joint degree (thus not limited to those institutions where the graduate actually studied) is explicitly included next to the full original names of the awarding institutions. (section 2.3);
  6. If the joint degree only included translations of the full original names of the awarding institutions, these translations are included alongside the full original name of the awarding institution (section 2.3);
  7. For joint programmes, the name and status of institutions administering studies (section 2.4) refers to the institutions where the graduate has actually studied;
  8. Joint programmes that make use of more than one language (not only in teaching but also for student work) explicitly include how these languages are used (e.g. balance in credits, master’s thesis in national language) (section 2.5);
  9. The level of the programme (section 3.1) refers to the level and context of the qualification in all the higher education systems of the awarding institutions (where applicable, in all the relevant national qualifications frameworks);
  10. Any reference to credits should include an explanation about the credit system(s) used by the joint programme consortium (section 3.2);
  11. The access requirements (section 3.3) refer to the overall access requirements and preferably include which level and subject-specific requirements give access to the programme (e.g. reference to relevant qualifications frameworks);
  12. The programme requirements (section 4.2) include the overall learning outcomes of the joint programme and do so in a way readable and understandable by non-professionals;
  13. The programme details (section 4.3) include information about the individual study pathway of the graduate, which includes the programme components (with full name, credits and grade) and the institution that offered that part of the curriculum;
  14. The grading scheme (section 4.4) includes information about all the grading systems referred to under the programme details (section 4.3), i.e. the individual study pathway of the graduate;
  15. Access to further academic and/or professional study, especially leading to any specific qualifications, or levels of study is included for each of the awarding institutions higher education systems (section 5.1);
  16. The professional status (section 5.2) includes, where applicable, references to the regulated profession in the countries of the awarding institutions to which the graduate has access (and/or the European Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications);
  17. If there are other members in the joint programme consortium which are not involved in awarding the joint degree, their full name, status and role in the joint programme is included (section 6.1);
  18. The further information sources (section 6.2) should include information about the coordinating institution or contact point where the recipient of the Diploma Supplement (such as credential evaluators, employers, etc.) can contact the joint programme with additional questions;
  19. The further information sources (section 6.2) should include (a permalink to) the website of the joint programme;
  20. The further information sources (section 6.2) should at least include information about the relevant ENIC-NARIC of the coordinating institution (or other information centre, if there is no ENIC-NARIC);
  21. If the joint programme was quality assured and/or accredited as such, reference to the responsible quality assurance and accreditation agencies should be included (section 6.2);
  22. Where available, reference to each of the national registers with recognised higher education institutions and/or programmes should be included (section 6.2);
  23. If the signatures on the Diploma Supplement (section 7) are different from the signatures on the joint degree certificate, the Diploma Supplement should explain why this is the case;
  24. The presented information on the higher education system (section 8) should at least include the systems from which the graduate has obtained its degree.

In the Netherlands the following "Instructions for diploma supplements for joint degrees and double/multiple degrees” have been developed:


See also