I have completed my BS and MS from India and am applying for a Ph.D. in the US. I just want to know, are international students required to submit certificates along with their transcripts even if the certificate requirement is not mentioned on the program website?

I am confused about whether I should submit the certificate with my transcripts or not during the application. Because if I submit my transcript and if the university does not require it, this might indicate that I cannot follow the instructions. Again, if I do not submit the certificate and they require it, then this can delay application consideration.

And about the application consideration delay, I have another question, if I submit my application (before the deadline, with all the documents and fee) and if application consideration is delayed for some reason (after the deadline), will this mean that my application will not be given full consideration even if the problem is solved? Will be considered a late submission or something?

Almost all the universities have quite similar instructions for uploading the transcripts but they do not have any information regarding the certificates for application review process.

So, what should I do? Suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks...

  • 1
    What kind of certificate are you asking about?
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 11:44
  • Such as BSc and MSc certificates. On the university website, it has been noted that unofficial transcripts are required for the application review process. Scanned copies of the transcripts should be uploaded. So, should I submit the scanned copies of my certificates along with the transcripts? What do you think?
    – Donald H.
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 12:39
  • 1
    In the US these are normally called diplomas, and no, you don't need to upload them. It is superfluous since the transcript should show the awarding of the degree.
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 12:41

2 Answers 2


Just follow the instructions carefully. I suggest you do not submit more than what they ask for, this can lead to a negative impression. Carefully go through different sources to see if you have the complete list of documents they need.

In case of doubt you can always send an email and confirm if the list of documents that you are submitting is complete.

For reasons of fairness, mostly, all documents need to be submitted before the deadline. You can still do it only if you have a written confirmation that you have an extension to submit the remaining documents later. Otherwise it is a late submission. But again, check with the university.

  • Thank you. I have also decided to do the same thing, as the university does not mention anything about certificates, so I have decided not to submit it now. I guess if anything is further needed, then I will be contacted, am I right ??
    – Donald H.
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 8:41
  • I have submitted two applications so far. And the universities have received all of my documents and my application is completed, I have checked the application status. But let's say that after the deadline (December 01), during the application evaluation process, they ask me to submit the certificate. So, in that case, If I submit the certificate if requested, then will it be considered as a late submission? Please let me know your thoughts.
    – Donald H.
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 8:44
  • 1
    If they ask you for something "after the deadline" then your compliance can't be considered a late submission. But this is unlikely to happen in any case.
    – Buffy
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 12:43
  • 1
    @DonaldH. - In general, US bureaucracy is much less by-the-rules and more flexible than you would expect. Note this doesn't always work in your favor. Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 14:58

Diploma certificates don't normally need to be uploaded and will be specifically asked for when needed. The transcript should be sufficient in all cases as it should show the awarding of the degree and any honors attached.

In the rare case that the transcript doesn't show the degree awarded you might be asked for more, but if you are asked late in the process the normal deadlines won't apply as long as you are prompt.

Relax, and just submit what is asked for. The US system may be different in many ways from the one you are most familiar with.

For the benefit of future readers, other certificates, such as those given for some online courses, aren't required either and probably wouldn't be considered even if sent.

  • wow, thank you for the explanation sir...
    – Donald H.
    Commented Oct 23, 2021 at 18:43

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