In the USA, a high school diploma is often considered a different kind of qualification than a degree. This kind of idea is also expressed in the Academia.SE question Is it possible for a high school student with no academic qualifications to publish a research paper?, which seems to imply that a high school graduate currently enrolled in undergraduate studies at a university does not hold any academic credentials.

Is there any precedent for considering high school diplomas, similar non-US equivalents, or high school equivalency exams (e.g. the GED) as academic degrees? For example, if John Smith, a GED holder with no further education, needed to be referred to or addressed based on his academic credentials, would he be referred to as John Smith, GED or simply John Smith? Similarly, would (or could) it be proper to refer to credential holders such as "Ann Jones, Leaving Cert (Ireland)", "Hans Schmidt, Abitur", or William Robinson, NTCE, or would they simply be considered as persons lacking any academic credentials?

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    They would be credited as 'John Smith' - degree status is not listed on papers. – Jon Custer Jul 24 '17 at 17:03
  • @JonCuster I updated the question to fix that. Thanks. The real question is whether a high school diploma is an academic degree, and that is independent of citation rules. – Robert Columbia Jul 24 '17 at 17:05
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    The exception seems to be medical papers, where they are sure to list "MD" after the names of the authors, as I recall. I agree with Jon though: in the US there would usually be no reason ever to list academic qualifications at all. – GEdgar Jul 24 '17 at 17:10
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    Is a high school diploma an academic degree for what purpose? – JeffE Jul 24 '17 at 20:15
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    Is someone whose highest qualification is a high school diploma generally considered worthy of being accepted socially as a degree holder? — That depends entirely on your social circles. Obviously. – JeffE Jul 27 '17 at 17:05

The Wikipedia article Academic degree says,

An academic degree is a qualification awarded to students upon successful completion of a course of study in higher education, normally at a college or university.

and the linked article on Higher education says,

Higher education, post-secondary education, or third level education is an optional final stage of formal learning that occurs after completion of secondary education.

According to these definitions, a high school diploma is not an academic degree.

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