Recognition of U.S. bachelor's degree in Europe


My son has been conditionally accepted to a master's program at a central European university. His U.S. bachelor's degree must be recognized by the Ministry of Education before he can be finally accepted. We are awaiting the Ministry's decision. Some people have told us the Ministry may not  recognize the U.S. degree, or may require "compensatory measures," because there was no thesis requirement. I've never heard of any U.S. university that requires a thesis for a bachelor's degree.

Has anyone had a U.S. bachelor's degree recognized in Europe without a thesis? Anyone heard of anyone whose degree was not recognized for lack of a thesis?

Thanks for any info or advice,


@Bdzdz Hello and welcome on board !

In which country will he attend university please ?



Slovakia. But experiences from other countries on the thesis issue would also be appreciated.

Such questions about how something is “done in Europe”, are most of the time rather nonsensical. Laws and rules vary country to country, even in the EU. Even for things that have supposedly strict EU guidelines, things vary. So one has to at least narrow things down to a specific country to get an accurate answer.

I don't know about Slovakia but can give an insight how it is done in Germany – and likely it is somewhat similar. Germany has a system called ANABIN that rates universities and programs world-wide to say if they are considered as equal to a German standard – or not. There is yes, no and in-between where one might have to do some additional courses to bring it up to par. A thesis is usually standard in Germany. In the US it is not. I know I didn't have to do one for my US taught bachelor.

I know people who have done their bachelor in the US and still gone on to do a master in Germany without having their degree seen as substandard. But for some it can be that since they were doing a master in a related but different field they had to take some additional courses as a prerequisite anyway.

I suspect that a thesis is not required per se but if the overall level is deemed to be too low then it is one of the things they can refer to. By itself it is not likely a criterion for rejection. And even this ANABIN system with its database is not the final word. An individual university might tweak its requirements for a specify program – say making one take a course(s) that other universities with similar programs wouldn't. One has to deal with the admissions officials for a program. They will not really care about if one thinks their requirements are fair, or the same as elsewhere. It is what it is. If one is rejected and has no reasonable pathway to make up a deficit in qualifications then they don't have much choice but to try elsewhere.

Maybe someone on the Slovakia forum can give more insights but I think the basics of what I wrote likely apply. The difficulty is that one cannot so easily make up for a lack of a thesis, as compared to taking an additional set course. But it's unlikely going to be the first time this subject has come up at a university, so they should have established some rules about it.

That a ministry would overrule a university acceptance sounds unlikely. And that a university would consider one acceptable but such a ministry not, brings into question what standards the university has.

In Germany, there are 2 groups involved; the university and then the immigration officials deciding about the study visa, if one is needed. They don't question a recognized university's decision on academic acceptance; they control that the potential student has no criminal history, involvement in criminal, undemocratic or terrorist organizations. In addition, they control that the required money to cover living expenses is put into a German blocked bank account and one gets German health care coverage (special rates exist for students). If they reject someone it is not because of something like having a thesis or not.

Thus I question what the purpose of such a ministry should be? Are they really there to second guess or control universities' admission decisions? Or is this final decision actually considering immigration requirements like in Germany.

Hello everyone,

Please note that this thread is now on the Slovakia forum.

Indeed as explained above it is very important. to be specific about the destination as different countries have different standards/rules.

All the best


Thanks for the replies.