I recently ordered some degree verification PDFs through the National Student Clearinghouse for employment purposes and had a quick question. I saw my undergrad Psychology degree had the College of Arts and Sciences listed as the school division (as expected). I was a bit surprised to see my Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology was under the Graduate School division as opposed to the College of Arts and Sciences. Is this normal/standard practice?

Edit: Both universities are in the US.

  • 1
    Buffy provided a good answer, but I think my MS and PhD were from the "Graduate school/college" rather than the academic school/college. Oct 23, 2023 at 13:02
  • I guess I'd have to finally look at my diploma, although I'd have to find it first. Generally the undergraduate and graduate parts have very different responsibilities and drivers, so it is not surprising that schools might divide up the administrative overhead in different ways.
    – Jon Custer
    Oct 23, 2023 at 13:24
  • 1
    Professional degrees, eg, MD, DDS, JD, etc are typically awarded by their respective colleges. Earned degrees (typically, not always, with a thesis) are typically awarded by a graduate college. All degrees are awarded by the university, where the ultimate authority rests. I have seen varied exceptions to this common custom. (Not quite a rule.) For example, all degrees at state universities in Oklahoma are awarded by the State Regents for Higher Education "through" the particular University. There may be some rules that are shared, eg, the Big Ten Universities share some agreed practices. Oct 23, 2023 at 16:14
  • @DavidSmith I earned my professional degree, and I'd bet my doctor, dentist, and lawyer would say they earned theirs, too. Perhaps there is another way to phrase your comment.
    – shoover
    Oct 23, 2023 at 17:48
  • Two follow-ups on @DavidSmith's comment. First, "earned degree" means "earned advanced degree" as opposed to "honorary advanced degree", where North American professional first degrees are vestigially categorized as undergraduate degrees for historical reasons (cf. the UK, where the corresponding degrees are still bachelor's degrees taken literally as first degrees). Second, typically, it's the legal governing body (e.g., the Board of Governors or whatever) that awards degrees on the recommendation of the relevant College or School, which vouches for the completion of all requirements. Oct 23, 2023 at 20:45

1 Answer 1


If this is for the US, note that there is no real "normal/standard" practice. Each university (or state system of universities) can have its own policy on such things. I'd guess that pretty much any combination is represented somewhere and, since there are many colleges and not so many options, most of those combinations are repeated.

I'm also not sure why it should matter. It is a valid record if it comes from the university.

  • 1
    I'm probably thinking it doesn't matter either but thought I'd ask anyway. I'm in the US as well.
    – zzmondo1
    Oct 22, 2023 at 20:48
  • mine is even both if you look closely . . . says the college on the paper but the formalities to graduate were actually through the graduate school as they award
    – Mike M
    Oct 23, 2023 at 9:52
  • I'm guessing here, but I think most of the spectrum is explained by size of the institution and accredidation costs.
    – gns100
    Oct 23, 2023 at 20:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .