The university announced the introduction of a digital degree certificate on 26 April 2022 (previous news release). The change to a digital certificate has received a lot of feedback, based on which the paper degree certificate is still considered an important sign of graduation. For this reason, the decision will be updated and specified in such a way that paper certificates will continue to be issued upon request.
The visual appearance of the digital degree certificate corresponds to the current paper certificate. As of 01 August 2022, the digital degree certificate is the official version which can be obtained in paper form as well. A paper certificate is a copy of the official degree certificate. The university does not charge a fee for the paper degree certificate.
The university is also planning new, collective ways to celebrate students’ graduation each academic year. We respect academic traditions and wish to introduce new ways to celebrate graduation. The practices will be announced later.
Please find answers below to the questions and concerns raised in Yammer last week.
Will the digital degree certificate be useful for years to come?
The university has received a reply from the system provider: the digital degree certificate is signed using the PAdES-LTA standard, which means in practice that the certificate can be verified for a long time even if the system of recognition of signatures changes. The LTA aims at the longest possible storage period for electronic signatures.
How is the security ensured in sending a digital degree certificate?
The digital degree certificate is not sent to the graduate by e-mail, instead, the graduate receives an e-mail notification of when the certificate can be retrieved from Peppi. Upon request, the paper degree certificate will be posted as before.
Is there a chance that the data will be lost in the digital degree certificate?
Graduation data is stored both in the university and national registers. The digital degree certificate is permanently retained in accordance with the university’s records management plan in the university diary. Should a student lose a certificate, s/he has the opportunity to ask the university for a new degree certificate. The digital storage format is in line with the national standard governing records management and archiving. The student has the chance to store the digital certificate in multiple places.
Is the digital degree certificate known around the world and can it be received everywhere?
There are different types of degree certificates and diplomas internationally, and this applies to both paper and digital certificates. The PDF file format is commonly known and used internationally. It is possible to send a paper copy in the future as well.
Can the English-language degree certificate include the words “official translation”?
The language used for instruction and degrees at the University of Eastern Finland is Finnish (Section 11 of the Universities Act 558/2009). The degree certificate is issued in the language specified in the Universities Act. The English-language degree certificate is a translation of the original Finnish-language certificate. The English translation is not a translation by an authorised translator (Act on Authorised Translators 1231/2007). For this reason, the concept ‘official translation’ is not used in this context.
Why and how has the decision been prepared?
The aim of the introduction of the digital degree certificate has been to improve and speed up the process, and to verify information from the student’s point of view. The digital transcripts of records and study certificates have been in use for years already and have received good feedback from our students. E-services have streamlined students’ everyday life, and e-services are widely accepted in official encounters also internationally. The digital degree certificate is a natural continuation of this development.
The preparation of the digital degree certificate has been a long-term process having been prepared at UEF University Services. The digital degree certificate was presented to the UEF Leadership Group on 16 March 2022, and the final decision to introduce a digital degree certificate was made by the UEF Leadership Group. The Student Union has been consulted as a representative of our students during the process. Based on the feedback, the consultation of students and academic staff should have been more extensive.