Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Post-nominals for Qualifications

Having spent a year learning about education, I thought I had done the hard part. But almost as difficult it seems is the process of obtaining my results. I had assumed that on completion of all the requirements for an educational program, there would be a week or two for the administrative processes and I would be sent my certificate. However, I have found that this process takes 6 to 8 weeks for a vocational institution and about four months for a university. In the case of the vocational institution the process is automatic, but for the university it is necessary to apply for an award.

Also there is the process of the awards ceremony. It may be fun to dress up in an academic gown, but this delays the awarding of certificates as the ceremonies are only held a few times a year. This seems an unnecessary encumbrance in the Internet age: why not issue the certificate (preferably electronically) immediately and have the (optional) ceremony later? It seems bizarre to spend effort making sure that students can get through a course quickly and then hold up awarding of the qualification for months.

Then there is the matter of working out what post-nominals you can have (letter after your name) and in what order they appear. The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) has a policy on qualification titles, including abbreviations for in postnominals. Institutions issue their own guidance but this can be cryptic. The ECU Authorized Post Nominals is a more comprehensive list. In other cases you may have to look for examples in publications, such as the ANU College OF Business Report.

Then the is the question of the order in which post nominals are listed.  According to the Oxford University Calendar Notes on Style: "The overall order is civil honours; military honours; QC; degrees; diplomas; certificates; membership of academic or professional bodies.".

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