Recognition of academic diplomas
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No automatic recognition
There is no automatic EU-wide recognition of academic diplomas. You may therefore need to go through a national procedure to get your academic degree or diploma recognised in another EU country, if you seek admission to a further course of study there. If you already know that you will eventually want to pursue further studies in a different country, check before you start whether your diploma will be recognised there.
Individual governments of EU countries (In this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) remain responsible for their education systems and are free to apply their own rules, including whether or not to recognise academic qualifications obtained elsewhere.
Find out whether a country will recognise your foreign diploma
Kathrin completed a university degree in Germany. She then moved to France to pursue a postgraduate degree, but found that the French authorities did not recognise her diploma, requesting that she obtain a document certifying her qualifications from a French university. After discussion with a French university, she was able to get her degree recognised as equivalent to a "licence" in the French system – a type of diploma obtained there after only 3 years of study, and which she felt covered much less ground than the studies she had already completed in Germany. Nonetheless, she had to pursue 2 further years of undergraduate study in the French system before she could apply for the postgraduate course she wanted there.
Get your degree "compared"
In most cases, you can obtain a "statement of comparability" of your university degree, stating how it compares to the diplomas delivered in the EU country you are moving to. To do so, contact the ENIC/NARIC centre in the country where you would like your diplomas assessed for "comparability". This could be your home country if you return home after your studies, or another EU country if you move there for work or further study.
Depending on the country where your diplomas are assessed and the purpose of the assessment, the ENIC/NARIC centre will either evaluate them itself, or transfer them to the competent authority.
Before the assessment, make sure you check:
- how much the service will cost (if there is a fee)
- how long the assessment will take – it could be several weeks to several months depending on the country, the purpose, and the complexity of your file
- what type of document you will get as a result – it could be a full equivalency, or a comparative report
- what you can do if you disagree with the assessment (how to appeal)
If you provide documents in the Europass format (such as the Diploma Supplement), your degree can be more easily compared and recognised.
This section concerns the recognition of academic qualifications. A different set of EU rules govern the recognition of professional qualifications in other EU countries – that is, degrees giving access to a profession, such as nursing or the law.