Finland (University of Jyväskylä) The University of Jyväskylä prepares to transfer to electronic degree certificates

Following the example of several other higher education institutions, the University of Jyväskylä aims to move to electronic degree certificates in spring 2023.

After the renewal, degree certificates will be provided mainly electronically. The renewal increases the reliability of the degree certificate, speeds up the receiving of the certificate, and makes it easier to store. Receiving a degree certificate in an electronic format supports search for work as it is an official document that can easily be attached to job applications. The authenticity of the certificate can be verified easily, for example, using the identification services of the Digital and Population Data Services Agency. An electronic degree certificate is also more ecological.

In addition to the actual degree certificate, the electronic certificate includes an English translation, transcripts of records in Finnish and English, a Diploma Supplement in English, and a possible certificate of teacher qualifications. The electronic degree certificate is an official original certificate with an electronic signature of the dean or vice dean. The layout of the certificate remains as it is. Graduating students can request a printed copy of the degree from the University or print copies themselves.

The electronic degree certificate is a document that is approved at the EU level and its signature fulfils the highest requirements in compliance with the standards of the European Commission (QES level). It is much more difficult to forge an electronic degree certificate than a printed certificate. When a certificate is required outside the EU, it is possible to submit both an electronic certificate and a certified paper copy.

Deans, the study administration, legal services and students’ representatives (the Student Union of the University of Jyväskylä) were heard in the degree certificate renewal, and they all supported the change unanimously. We have also monitored and got familiar with the introduction of electronic certificates in other universities and paid attention to related issues.

We have started to prepare the transfer to electronic degree certificates and will provide more information as the project proceeds.