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I am hoping to apply to a master's program in the USA. They ask for a "Diploma/Degree Certificate", but I don't really know what that means. When I looked for the definition I found only "Degree", as the level and/or paper you get after finishing your studies. "Diploma" is vague, too.

When we finish a Bachelor's in my country (Mexico) you get various papers:

  1. A paper that testifies that you finished all the courses, but you are not still a "Bachelor". It's called a "Study Certificate" (Certificado de Estudios).
  2. A symbolic paper that means you finished all the semesters, even if you failed some courses as long as they are not enough to fail the whole semester. This is called "Diploma" (just like in English).
  3. When you present a thesis (and you get it approved) you get a "University Title" (Título Universitario) and then you can say you have a Bachelor's Degree. Some people have such a high GPA that they give them this paper without presenting a thesis.

So, as I couldn't find a specific and detailed definition of "Diploma/Degree Certificate", I am asking for your help please.

If this is off-topic, I apologize, please delete.

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    Your degree certificate is the certificate that you have earned a university degree, such as a Bachelor’s. I would assume the certificate they want is your Título Universitario. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jun 9 '14 at 19:34
  • @Janus Thank you! That's what I thought too, I just wanted to make sure. – lumiso Jun 9 '14 at 19:59
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Could you please post your comment as an answer in order to accept it? – lumiso Jun 9 '14 at 22:41
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The document required for admission to universities in the US is the official transcript. Most US universities require that equivalent documents be submitted first to a third-party translation and evaluation service such as World Education Services (WES). http://www.wes.org/required/index.asp

The most likely equivalent to an official transcript is the certificado de estudios, but it may need to be accompanied by the titulo universitario.

tran·script noun \ˈtran(t)-ˌskript\

: a written, printed, or typed copy of words that have been spoken

: an official record of a student's grades http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/transcript

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The phrase Diploma/Degree Certificate is a shorthand technique to give a reviewer a basis for comparison to other andidates or participants. Some courses of study have easy equivalents across cultures and disciplines, but many do not.

In brief, the goal is to get the title of the course of study that you took. The simplest approach is to list the title your progam uses for your level of achievement. If you think it is likely to be misunderstood, you can add a footnote, such as

Certificado de Estudios (satisfactory completion of undergraduate courses)

Título Universitario (completion of undergraduate coursework and thesis)

If you know the equivalent degree in the country or area to which you are applying, you can explain that.

Título Universitario (completion of undergraduate coursework and thesis - US Bachelor equivalent)

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I consider Janus Bahs Jacquet's comment as the most correct, and since he hasn't posted it as an answer, I will do so to solve this question:

Your degree certificate is the certificate that you have earned a university degree, such as a Bachelor’s. I would assume the certificate they want is your Título Universitario

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