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What is a Fake Masters Diploma?

Master’s degrees are some of the most desirable qualifications for North American employers. They consist, usually, of one to three years of study full-time, divided into taught courses and a final research project, or thesis. The thesis can be up to 100 pages long; in the UK, for example, master’s theses are usually 15,000 words long, or around forty pages plus bibliography and appendices. Students can enroll in master’s degree programs after the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree. In rare occasions, master’s degrees will take years of professional experience into consideration and in substitution of a lack of a degree in a specific area, but this is more common in the UK than in North America. Desirable master’s degrees, such as the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Science (MSc), have many applicants and are very competitive and difficult to get into. Furthermore, master’s degrees are usually quite expensive: although it is possible and common to obtain some sort of funding for an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree and for a doctorate, master’s degree are often paid in full by the student.

This means that a master’s degree will often require students to incur in student loan debt. The cost of one of these degrees is anywhere between $30,000 and $120,000 USD. Although there are legitimate online options to do a master’s degree, they can be expensive as well: oftentimes, an online master’s degree is more expensive than a degree given at a traditional brick-and-mortar university. However, doing a master’s degree can help students gain more money in their future careers, up to 20% more in wages than bachelor’s degree holders.

What is a fake master’s diploma, then? It is a diploma obtained from a novelty diploma shop, customized to the buyer’s specifications, and used for decorative or entertainment purposes. They are usually mounted and displayed for enjoyment. The buyer might want to pretend for fun that they have an MBA, a very popular and sought–after master’s degree. They might want to pretend to have studied at an Ivy League school or a Russell Group university, which makes the fake master’s diploma look prestigious!

Yet there is a distinction between buying a fake master’s diploma for fun and paying for a fake master’s degree from a diploma mill, or unaccredited institution claiming to be a university. In the case of fake master’s degrees, students are often fooled into paying thousands of dollars to obtain a degree that comes from an unaccredited program and an unaccredited institution, meaning that the degree has no legal validity. Students with fake master’s degrees could be demoted from their jobs and suffer financial losses because the degree is fake. If you would like to learn more about diploma mills, please check our “diploma mill” article.