I was just working on a translation of a college transcript, and learned two interesting things that I thought I would share with the universe.
Not all diplomas are created equal
I have found that there are three different types of certificate issued by Chinese universities.
1) Diploma - 毕业证书 (bi4 ye4 zheng4 shu1) - GOOD. This is for students who have completed and passed all of their classes. The best type of certificate to have, it is accompanied by an academic degree certificate, BS, BA, MA, etc.
2) Certificate of Completion of Studies - 结业证书 (jie2 ye4 zheng4 shu1) MEH. This means that the student has completed all of their classes, but has not passed all of the classes, or at least they didn't pass their graduation test. I am not completely sure, but it means the student did not pass something and therefore does not qualify for graduation, but they did complete everything. Not a good thing to have, altho probably better than nothing.
3) Certificate of Study - 肄业证书 (yi4 ye4 zheng4 shu1) - BAD. This is apparently the worst type of certificate to have. I've only ever seen one out of the hundreds of academic documents I have translated. According to the Internet, it is worse than not having anything at all. Basically this says that yes, this person did study at this school, but they did not finish school. Here is what happens when you present this piece of crap at a job interview:
"But, Mr. Interviewer for a Good Job, I didn't finish because I ---"
"Zup! Zip! I don't want to hear it. Thanks for coming in today. Bye."
"But I -"
"Zup." [pinches lips shut as a subtle message]
Progress in the classroom!
OK, that is a very subjective statement, but I am basing it on a transcript from 2008, which had some classes I have not really seen before. Oh, there was the usual 马克思主义基本原理 (ma3 ke4 si1 zhu3 yi4 ji1 ben3 yuan2 li3), Basic Principles of Marxism, but then right under that was
儒道佛文化及其精神 (ru2 dao4 fo2 wen2 hua4 ji2 qi2 jing1 shen2), which is Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist Culture and Spirit. In the transcripts I usually translate, which are usually from the 1990s or before, I have never seen that class listed. The fact that it is taught now is kind of cool. I mean you still have all of the Communist BS, but at least they are branching out. And then I was really surprised to see this class: 动物福利 (dong4 wu4 fu2 li4), Animal Welfare! I have absolutely never heard of that being taught in China. So that, too was encouraging. Well done, Chinese educational system.