Diploma Supplements (DS) are additional documents that describe qualifications obtained by students in the study program they have chosen, and the Higher Education System within which such qualifications were obtained.
It is a tool that is meant to provide greater transparency and facilitate understanding and procedures to recognize qualifications and degrees obtained by students.
They are often issued automatically, or upon request of the interested party, in the countries that are part of the Bologna Process (European area); however, we must point out that it has not been implemented yet in all countries involved in the Process. It is valid only if it is attached to the original certificate at the end of a study cycle. It is issued by the institution where the original degree was obtained.
Diploma Supplement for connected Academic Institutions
In order to ensure due consistency between the different Faculties’ practices - regarding their incorporated, aggregated, affiliated, or connected Institutions - and facilitate the international recognition of related degrees and diplomas, the Congregation for Catholic Education has laid down the following guidelines for Diploma Supplements’ correct use, regarding studies carried out in such institutions:
• First of all, we must underline that academic Degrees (and related titles and diplomas) are always issued by the “mother Faculty” and must correspond to the profile and degrees of the same Faculty.
• This principle implies that the responsibility for the correctness and quality of degrees, titles, and diplomas still belongs to the “mother Faculty”, which must develop and maintain appropriate tools in order to ensure the fulfilment of such criteria and conditions, which also apply to studies carried out in the Faculty itself.
• Since individual courses and exams are handled by affiliated institutions, and that most of the data that are required by Diploma Supplements are usually stored in these institutions’ records, if only for practical reasons, they will have to prepare and issue Diploma Supplements, upon requests made by individual students.
• Diploma Supplements’ forms and precise preparation criteria must strictly match the ones that apply to similar studies that are carried out in the Faculty itself which, in this respect, is still the documents’ owner.
• In these cases, Diploma Supplements must carry both the Faculty’s and affiliated Institution’s names.
• The Document (under Art. 2.4. according to common UNESCO models) must indicate, in the original language, the official name, city, and country of the Institution that has organized the studies.
• The “more information” item (that is usually reported under Art. 6 of the Document) must include a general description of the kind of connection (incorporation, aggregation, affiliation, or link) existing with the mother Faculty, referring to related regulations and the main criteria applying to said connection (as a general rule, this text must be approved by the Congregation for Catholic Education).
The second paragraph of the same article must indicate the date and file number of the document approving the establishment of the connection by the Congregation, and its expiration date.
Furthermore, once again in Art. 6, a very general/short description of quality assurance procedures must be provided, both regarding the mother Faculty, the affiliated Institution, and the agency or authority that carried out the external auditing and the latter’s date.
• In order to ensure the consistency of data reported in Diploma Supplements with the outcome of studies carried out in affiliated institutions, Faculties must thoroughly and regularly check and examine the documents of this kind that have actually been issued.