Diploma Sizes and Guidelines

Diploma Sizes

After spending a couple of years at college and partying ten days for every hour of serious studying you do, you’ll eventually have a graduation day and receive your diploma. So, what are the dimensions of a diploma that you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on obtaining? 

Many universities print 8.5 × 11-inch bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral diplomas. Special degrees, such as Doctor of Medicine, Juris Doctor, Doctor of Pharmacy, and Doctor of Dental Surgery diplomas are 11 × 14 inches. Minor certificates will typically measure 6 × 8 inches.

Knowing the size of your diploma is important if you plan on framing it. In this guide, I’ll cover the various diploma sizes, how to measure your diploma, and how to find the right frame size for the document.

What Are Standard Diploma Sizes?

Standard Diploma sizes

 The standard size of a diploma typically varies depending on what type of diploma you have received. Most diplomas will measure 8.5 × 11 inches—the same dimensions as letter paper—but other diplomas will use a non-standard size (11 × 14 inches) for medicine and law diplomas.

Depending on which university you graduate from, your diploma might have one of the following measurements:

  • 11 × 14 inches
  • 8.5 × 11 inches
  • 7.5 × 9.5 inches
  • 12 × 15 inches
  • 11.75 × 16 inches
  • 14 × 11 inches

If you pursue a minor degree, you will not receive a separate diploma for your efforts. Your main diploma might include a line that acknowledges your efforts, but some universities might hand out a certificate, that measures 6 × 8 inches.

This might also be true for your high school diploma, though some high schools use letter paper (8.5 × 11 inches). To be absolutely sure of how large your diploma is, you should measure it.

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How to Measure a Diploma?

Measuring your diploma is a pretty straightforward business. All you need is a ruler or a tape measure, and then begin measuring the outside border of the diploma.

You will need to know the exact measurements of the diploma in order to find an appropriate frame. After all, you’ve spent all that time and money on earning the degree, so you might as well preserve it behind a fancy border with a wooden frame and a thick glass panel.

Do I Need to Frame My Diploma?

Do I Need to Frame My Diploma? Framing your diploma will protect it from becoming folded, creased, and even developing cracked edges over time. In addition, the parchment paper may begin to yellow with time, and you can decelerate the discoloration by keeping it in an airtight frame and away from sunlight and moisture.

However, if you have just received your bachelor’s degree and plan on continuing your studies, you should refrain from having a diploma frame until you have notarized several copies of the document. 

You might need to send notarized physical copies of your diploma when enrolling at different universities, and keeping the file behind a glass frame can make retrieving it a challenge.

What Kind of Paper Is a Diploma Printed on?

What Kind of Paper Is a Diploma Printed on? If you take a look at your diploma, you might find that it comes in an off-white or beige-like color. This is because diplomas aren’t printed on regular sheets of printing paper, which would fold and tear easily. Instead, diplomas are printed on a type of parchment paper, not unlike cardstock.

It is thicker than regular printing paper, which makes it more resistant to tearing and folding, and it might have a glossy finish to repel moisture to a certain degree.

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You might also find fancy additions to the border of the diploma parchment, including gold or silver foil, ridges, fiber lines, and the embossed logo of your university. If you want to print on specialized parchment paper with your university’s logo stamped into it, you will have to place a custom order with the supplier.

FAQ About Diplomas

Do I need a diploma?

It’s not an absolute must to earn a diploma in order to succeed in this world. In fact, Sir Richard Branson, the billionaire owner of Virgin Group, never graduated from high school.

Bill Gates, who started the whole “billionaires who never completed their bachelor’s studies” trend, also didn’t earn a four-year degree. However, if we look at the statistics, 84% of all billionaires have earned their bachelor’s degree and have a diploma to prove it.

So, unless you possess the technical know-how, marketing mastery, and business acumen to turn an idea into a multimillion-dollar idea, you should consider earning a diploma in your field of choice. That way, you’ll have something to fall back on if your brilliant idea doesn’t pan out.

What was the first diploma made of?

Back in the day, diplomas weren’t printed on fancy sheets of parchment paper. Instead, sheepskin manufacturers were the go-to suppliers for coming up with the material needed to print these highly prestigious certificates.

Sheepskin was used during the Middle Ages due to its durability. Travelers could roll it countless times without it tearing or becoming permanently damaged, and this tradition carried on until the 20th century, when the quality of sheepskin began to go down and the prices skyrocketed.

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Can I replace a lost diploma?

Yes, you can, but the procedure to replace a diploma will vary from institution to institution. Some places require that you send in a formal written request to replace a missing or destroyed diploma, as well as pay for all the fees associated with replacing the document.

 In other countries, such as India and Dubai, you will need to file an official lost certificate report to the police before your university will even begin the paperwork to replace your lost diploma.

So, while you can replace a lost diploma, it’s a good idea to keep it somewhere safe—preferably in a fireproof and waterproof safe. Frames are a great way to keep the diploma looking crisp over the decades, but in the event of a fire, flood, or robbery, they won’t do very much to ensure that it doesn’t go missing.


Baron Cooke has been writing and editing for 7 years. He grew up with an aptitude for geometry, statistics, and dimensions. He has a BA in construction management and also has studied civil infrastructure, engineering, and measurements. He is the head writer of measuringknowhow.com

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