Science - April 15, 2004

MSc students cast doubt on the value of WU degrees

International students have doubts about the value of the diploma they get when they graduate. The problem is the word ‘diploma’ written at in top of the document instead of ‘degree’.

According to Yun Tang, president of the International Student Panel (ISP), this decreases the value of the piece of paper in many countries in Asia, Africa and South America. The ISP also wonders why there is no seal on the diploma, which can cause trouble when it comes to verification. The foreign student representatives asked for a clear explanation of the diploma during their meeting with the Executive Board at the beginning of April.

According to Dr Stella Efdé, director of the student service, the University of Oxford provides the same type of degrees. “In the Netherlands you cannot get a diploma without doing your thesis, so the diploma is known to be a certificate. It is always stated on the diploma that the graduate has obtained a Master’s degree.” According to Efdé, the diploma also contains an embossed seal.

From next year, all graduates will receive a supplement with their diploma, explaining the Dutch educational system and the grading. However, It is not possible to put the word ‘degree’ at the top of the diploma, because that’s not legal under Dutch law. But graduates can always get an additional official document stating that they are a graduate of Wageningen University.

Guido van Hofwegen

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