Difference Wiki

Transcript vs. Degree Certificate: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 26, 2024
A transcript is a detailed record of a student's academic performance, while a degree certificate is a formal document confirming the completion of a degree program.

Key Differences

A transcript is an official document provided by educational institutions that details a student's academic performance, including courses taken, grades received, and credits earned. A degree certificate, also known as a diploma, is a formal document issued by a college or university that certifies the holder has successfully completed a specific degree program. While a transcript provides a comprehensive academic history, a degree certificate serves as a formal recognition of educational achievement.
Transcripts are often used for applications to further education or employment to assess a candidate's academic qualifications and strengths. In contrast, a degree certificate is used to prove that an individual has attained a particular educational level, which can be a prerequisite for certain jobs or further studies. Transcripts offer detailed insight into a student's academic journey, whereas degree certificates signify the culmination of that journey.
The information on a transcript includes course names, grades, semester-wise performance, and sometimes instructors' names. A degree certificate generally includes the degree holder's name, the degree awarded, the date of award, and the issuing institution's name and seal. Transcripts provide a granular view of a student's academic record, while degree certificates are more about the overall educational accomplishment.
Transcripts are frequently requested and used throughout a person’s academic and professional life. Degree certificates, however, are typically presented once and often used for ceremonial or formal purposes, such as display in a home or office. Transcripts are dynamic documents, changing with each semester, whereas degree certificates are static, unchanging once issued.
Updating a transcript occurs regularly as students complete courses, whereas a degree certificate is issued only once upon the completion of a degree program. In case of any errors, transcripts can be amended and reissued, but correcting a degree certificate involves a more formal process, given its status as an official testament to an academic achievement. Transcripts reflect ongoing academic progress, while degree certificates represent a final, official certification.

Comparison Chart


Record of academic performance, courses, and grades
Formal document certifying degree completion


Course names, grades, credits, academic standing
Holder’s name, degree title, date of issue, institution seal


Used for academic/professional assessment
Serves as proof of degree attainment


Detailed, list format
Formal, decorative

Frequency of Issuance

Updated and reissued as needed
Issued once upon degree completion

Transcript and Degree Certificate Definitions


A transcript is often required for further education or job applications.
I submitted my transcript along with my job application.

Degree Certificate

Degree certificates are issued by educational institutions as proof of academic achievement.
The degree certificate bears the official seal of the university.


A transcript is a detailed record of a student's academic coursework and grades.
The university sent my transcript to the graduate school I applied to.

Degree Certificate

Degree certificates are often displayed or used for official verification.
I framed my degree certificate to hang in my office.


A transcript provides a comprehensive view of a student’s academic history.
The admissions committee reviewed my transcript for prerequisite courses.

Degree Certificate

The certificate signifies the successful completion of all degree requirements.
The degree certificate I received recognizes my four years of study.


Transcripts include semester-wise academic performance and credit hours.
My transcript shows all the courses I completed in my undergrad.

Degree Certificate

A degree certificate includes the recipient’s name, degree awarded, and date of conferment.
My degree certificate shows the date I officially graduated.


Transcripts can be official or unofficial, depending on the purpose.
I downloaded an unofficial copy of my transcript from the university's portal.

Degree Certificate

A degree certificate is a formal document certifying the completion of a specific academic degree.
I received my degree certificate at the graduation ceremony.


Something transcribed, especially a written, typewritten, or printed copy
The transcript of court testimony.


A record of a student's academic performance issued by an institution of learning.


What does a degree certificate contain?

It contains the holder's name, degree title, date of issue, and institution's seal.

What is a degree certificate?

A degree certificate is a formal document confirming the completion of a degree program.

Who issues transcripts?

Educational institutions issue transcripts.

What is a transcript?

A transcript is a record of a student's academic performance, including courses and grades.

Who issues degree certificates?

Degree certificates are issued by colleges or universities.

Can degree certificates be reissued?

Reissuing a degree certificate involves a formal process due to its official status.

Do degree certificates show grades?

No, degree certificates do not include grades.

What details are included in a transcript?

Transcripts include course names, grades, credits, and academic standing.

Can transcripts be reissued?

Yes, transcripts can be updated and reissued as needed.

Are transcripts needed for job applications?

Transcripts are often required for job applications to assess academic qualifications.

Is there a fee for degree certificates?

Typically, the cost is included in graduation fees, but there may be additional fees for duplicates.

Can I access my transcript online?

Many institutions provide online access to unofficial transcripts.

Are electronic transcripts valid?

Electronic transcripts are valid but must be official and from a recognized institution.

Is a degree certificate required for employment?

Some employers may require a degree certificate as proof of academic achievement.

Do transcripts show failed courses?

Yes, transcripts typically show all courses, including any failures.

How long does it take to get a transcript?

The time varies, but institutions usually process transcript requests within a few weeks.

How long does it take to receive a degree certificate?

Degree certificates are generally issued at graduation or shortly after.

Is a degree certificate the same as a diploma?

Yes, a degree certificate is often referred to as a diploma.

Is there a fee for transcripts?

Some institutions charge a fee for official transcripts.

Do I need to notarize my degree certificate?

Notarization is not usually required, but some international uses may require it.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons