Education and diplomas United States

View the Dutch comparison of diplomas from the United States. Or download a pdf with more detailed information about American education.

Download the pdf with detailed information about the American education system:
Education system United States‌ (289.9 kB)

Common diplomas of the United States

View the Dutch comparison of the most common diplomas from the United States, the duration of schooling, the type of education and the purpose of these diplomas.

General Educational Development diploma

  • Dutch comparison: VMBO-T diploma (NLQF* 2/EQF** 2).

High School diploma

  • Dutch comparison: in most cases a HAVO diploma (NLQF 4/EQF 4), but can vary from a VMBO-T diploma (NLQF 2/EQF 2) to a VWO diploma (NLQF 4+/EQF 4).
  • Duration of schooling: 6 years.
  • Type of education: general secondary education.
  • Purpose of diploma: admission to higher education, if the applicant’s results comply with the chosen university’s standard requirements (if applicable).

Associate’s degree (terminal/vocational program)

  • Dutch comparison: usually MBO diploma qualification level 4 (NLQF 4/EQF 4).
  • Duration of schooling: 2 years.
  • Type of education: usually secondary vocational education.

Associate’s degree (transfer program)

  • Dutch comparison: Associate Degree (NLQF 5/EQF 5) or in some cases a VWO diploma (NLQF 4+/EQF 4).
  • Duration of schooling: 2 years.
  • Type of education: professional or research oriented.
  • Purpose of diploma: admission to the third year of a university bachelor, if the applicant’s results comply with the chosen university’s and/or study programme’s standard requirements.

Bachelor’s degree

  • Dutch comparison: in most cases WO or HBO bachelor (NLQF 6/EQF 6). Due to the breadth of most American bachelor’s programmes, their content is in most cases only partially comparable to bachelor programs in many other countries.
  • Duration of schooling: 4 years.
  • Type of education: professional or research oriented.
  • Purpose of diploma: admission to university masters, if the applicant’s results comply with the chosen university’s and/or study programme’s standard requirements.

Master’s degree

  • Dutch comparison: in most cases WO or HBO master (NLQF 7/EQF 7).
  • Duration of schooling: 1 to 3 years.
  • Type of education: professional or research oriented.
  • Purpose of diploma: admission to doctorate programmes.

* NLQF = Dutch Qualifications Framework
** EQF = European Qualifications Framework

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