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- A certificate testifying that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course of study,
- A deed conferring an academic degree.
As an academic award
In some countries, such as Australia, a diploma is a specific academic award of lower rank than an academic degree. In Ireland a National Diploma is below the standard of the honours bachelor degree, whilst the Higher Diploma is taken after the bachelor degree. In Germany and Austria the diploma (in German Diplom) is the standard academic degree, comparable with the Master's degree. In Hong Kong, higher diploma and associate degree are below the standard of the honours bachelor degree. Certificate (not to be confused with postgraduate certificate ) and diploma are below the standard of higher diploma and associate degree. Postgraduate Certificates and Postgraduate Diplomas are taken after the bachelor degree, and are more vocational oriented than master's degree.
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