I'm having to translate my CV into German for a funding application, and I need help figuring out how to call my American high school diploma. We just say "high school diploma", but I think diploma has different implications in Germany (i.e. it is considered a third-level qualification, not secondary). My partner (a German) has indicated that Abitur is not the same thing and should not be used because it doesn't really imply the same qualification.

How would you put your completion of an American high school diploma on a German CV?

  • 6
    Call it high school diploma. Maybe this helps?
    – Olafant
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 11:56
  • 8
    as a quick attempt: High-School-Abschluss. But I have no idea if there is in all US only one kind of high school diploma or if you have different types of it. Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 13:55
  • 2
    Thanks! I decided to go with Schulabschluss. To answer Shegit Brahm: In the US, there are only two kinds of degrees you can get: a high school diploma or a "General Educational Development" (GED) test that confers a Certificate of High School Equivalency, which is supposed to be considered the same as a high school diploma but is earned through non-standard high school classes. So unlike Germany there are not really different kinds of schools or degrees at secondary level.
    – N Glynn
    Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 12:27

1 Answer 1


It depends on your personal quality and level. if you have a high SAT, it COULD be recognized as "Abitur", otherwise it is recognized as "Mittlere Reife".

You may visit the german conference of education ministers: https://www.kmk.org/zab/central-office-for-foreign-education/general-information-about-recognition/academic-recognition.html

You might need an assessment of your papers: https://www.kmk.org/zab/central-office-for-foreign-education/expert-assessment.html

  • Where "Mittlere Reife" is not used everywhere. Another term for that would be Mittlerer Schulabschluss, or MSA.
    – npst
    Commented Jul 23, 2020 at 14:14

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