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Abitur, Doctorat, Suoshi - Which foreign qualification corresponds to which UK qualification?

Posted: 2014-08-15
Graduate wearing Cap and GownIt is a well-known fact that employers who hire multilingual talent have an edge over those who don't. However, hiring resources who are trained and fluent in different languages is not an easy job and comes with their own set of challenges. For example, you can face problems when it comes to gauging how good a fit they will be in your organisation. Particularly, many are wondering if the qualifications on how CVs from candidates abroad correspond to UK degrees.
Here are 3 of the most common variations of the same degrees to make your life a little simpler:

1.  A-levels

For example, 'Abitur' is a Latin term which refers to the examinations that students take to finish their secondary schooling. The documentation received  after these upper secondary examinations allow the pupil to seek admission at a university if they wish to pursue higher education.
If one wants to pursue an internship or a traineeship rather than pursuing studies, this is the document that most organisations look for. An equivalent of the Abitur, as it is known in Germany, Finland, Lithuania, Bulgaria, etc) in continental Europe, including Poland and Austria, is the 'Matura'. In the UK itself, it is known by several names. Abitur corresponds to the same level of qualification as A-levels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland it is called the 'Higher Grade' and in the Republic of Ireland, it is known as the 'Leaving Certificate'. Similarly in India, every state has a different board that it follows. For example, in West Bengal, it is known as West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE).

2.      Master's degree

What we know as a 'Master's degree' in the English-speaking world can also lead to a lot of confusion in certain parts of Europe. What we understand is that anyone who has a Master's degree in any field is well-versed with their subject and has undergone a few years of training to gain a level of expert training in the same. In India, a 'Master's of Arts' degree (known as MA) is awarded on finishing 2 years of postgraduate studies in humanities after finishing 3 years of undergraduate studies. In the UK, the duration of the same Master's degree can be 1 or 2 years after an undergraduate course which usually takes about 3 years.
In China, it is known as 'Suoshi' and can take between 2 to 3 years. In certain American colleges, including the University of Chicago, it is known as 'AM' (Atrium Magister). Danish universities offer a 'Candidatus' but like the Indian system, it is also awarded after 2 years of study following a Bachelor's (or BA or undergraduate) degree.
In France, there are two Master's degrees, known as the 'M1' and 'M2', which together constitute what we know as the Masters degree. Overall, the higher education system is known as the LMD (L for License, M for Master and D for Doctorat) system or a 3/5/8 system. The latter denotes the time period; the first part takes 3 years, the second part takes 2 and the third part takes 3 more years.  In Italy, the Master's degree is known as 'Laurea Magistrate', Laurea being the 3-year undergraduate or Bachelor's degree).

3.      Doctorate


 A 'Doctorate' is an academic degree that allows the holder to conduct academic research or teach. The equivalent of a research doctorate in Russia is known as 'Kandidat Nauk'. In Egypt, on the other hand, the doctorate degree which is the equivalent of the PhD is known as 'MD'. The duration is between 3 to 5 years. In Italy, the same requires an internship and is called 'Dottorato di ricerca'. In Portugal and India on other other hand, doctorates are only conferred by established universities (and not colleges). In Portugal, it is known as 'Doutor' while in India, it is simply known as a 'Doctorate' degree, out of which the PhD is the most common one.