I dropped out when I finished grade 11, and started my career as a software developer. I've had a very good experience and working now as a senior software developer. So, I saw a program in one of the recognized universities in the UK that offers a possibility of admissions to Computer Science bachelor's degrees without high school diploma if there's relevant work experience. So I'm thinking about applying because I actually would like to study more and more and possibly work in a university as a teacher at some point!

So my question, if I got accepted and got my bachelor's degree, will I will be able to apply for a master's degree and then Ph.D., etc? or at some point universities will ask for the high school diploma certificate if I apply to a master's degree or a Ph.D.?

Also, what about getting a job as a teacher in a university after Ph.D.? will that high school thing be a blocker and I'll need to get a high school diploma certificate at some point?

  • 5
    If you get a bachelor's degree I don't think anyone would ever know (unless it comes up socially) let alone care. When I applied to PhD programs I don't remember ever listing my highschool. Then if you get a PhD absolutely no one will care about your highschool education.
    – RAND
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 4:11

4 Answers 4


The general philosophy of university and graduate admissions is that your most recent experience counts most heavily. Your secondary school experience is important to getting in to a Bachelors degree program, but, as you note, there are exceptions.

But if you successfully complete a BA/BS or equivalent you will be considered for graduate school along with any other candidate with the same degree. It would be very unlikely anyone would ask for earlier work. But even if they did, it would be inconsequential compared to your work on the Bachelors.

There should be absolutely no worries about this issue, provided you do well in the Bachelors work. Your performance there matters, of course.


In Germany, the official requirement for starting a Master's program is having a Bachelor's degree, see uni-assist (which is the official channel through which foreign, non-EU applicants to most German universities must apply). This means that the high-school diploma is in general not required to apply for Master programs. When I did my Master's program at a German university, they never asked for it.

Individual universities may add extra requirements, and there are some universities that do ask for the high-school diploma. You would have to check this for each university.

The situation for doctoral programs is similar: a Master's degree is required to start doctoral studies, and they usually do not look at high school or Bachelor diplomas. This is again confirmed by my own experience.


I got my education through master's degree in England, so I have no high school graduation diploma. I did complete secondary school, but would have been a special case in the US if anyone cared about high school graduation.

I don't think anyone has even asked about my GCE grades since I got my bachelor's degree. It was certainly not an issue when applying for a US PhD program. Only my bachelor's and master's degrees mattered. Even in a context in which high school graduation would normally be an issue, applying to take a community college class, my PhD transcript was sufficient.


If you have a bachelors degree, especially if it is a very challenging one from a reputed university and/or you did well enough in it that would qualify you for graduate school, then nobody cares where you went to high school, how you did well, or maybe if you even finished high school at that point.

As long as you have good grades, GRE, research experience, and all that, that is what is the most important for graduate school (both getting in and succeeding). I have a high school diploma, and just graduated my undergraduate studies, and I'm 100% sure that what I did in high school (having left more than 4.5 years ago) would be the last thing that these graduate admissions committee would care about.

I may be wrong, but the same should apply for getting a tenure-track professor position at a university, because your high school qualifications again matter very little (I've yet to see a professor who mentions their high school qualifications/achievements on their CV). Even then, getting a tenure-track position in academia will still be difficult for many, if not everyone.

Best of luck in your future endeavors.

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