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Why Buy A Novelty Diploma?

Why Buy A Novelty Diploma?

As you will probably read quite a few times on this website you will hear us say “all of the items we produce and sell are STRICTLY intended for novelty use only” or something to that effect. In other words, we don’t intend for any of the novelty diplomas we sell to be used to try and get a job, a raise, on college applications or anything that might be considered deceitful, dishonest or nefarious.

So why would someone legitimately buy a novelty diploma?

Before I started Cheaper-than-Tuition over a decade ago I was a young 20-something just getting started on a professional web and graphic design career. Given so, before too long, I had access to some pretty cool graphic design software and professional printing equipment that I was eager to learn and play around with… and what do you do with all of this great software and printing equipment? “HA. Let’s make a diploma.” I thought.

1. They are just cool to have hanging on your wall and a great conversation piece apparently.

The first “fake diploma” I ever made was actually for myself… and the finished product actually turned out pretty nice. So nice in fact that I decided to frame it and hang it on the wall in my home office.

Flash forward about a month later. I ended up having some friends over one night and it wasn’t long at all before I find one of my friends staring at my wall slightly confused and asks “Uhhh… When did you get your Ph.D. in Astrophysics??”. I immediately began laughing and confessed that it was just something I made screwing around with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and some new printing equipment one night.

The reaction I got was surprising though. Not only did all my friends think it was hilarious, it wasn’t a minute later before they were asking me “Hey… so can you make me one that says I graduated with a Master’s degree from [fill in the blank] University? I’ll even pay you if you like.

That set off a lightbulb in my head. I just couldn’t stop thinking about over the coming weeks.

“I wonder how many other people would want something like this and actually be willing to pay for it also?”

Come to find out, there were actually a handful of other websites online (although much fewer than there are these days) that were selling “fake diplomas”. Even transcripts too.

About a month later I found myself wanting to experiment with some new web design techniques and scripting languages so I thought “ehhh… why not play around and design my own fake diploma website?” (still not knowing if I’d ACTUALLY put it online).

After a few months of working on it off-and-on in my free time I DID finish the site, put it online and wow… Before I had bothered even marketing or advertising the site – and before I thought anyone would even be able to find it online if I’m honest – I was already getting requests.

There are A LOT of people that just think it would be cool to have a diploma hanging on their bedroom wall to mess with their friends or roommates apparently.

2. It’s also a good way to impress your in-laws or Internet dates supposedly?

Michael Scott's fake diploma

HA. I think there is a also a different but similar group of people that like the idea of having a diploma (or multiple diplomas) hanging on the wall right in the center of their living room (probably in a big, thick, shiny diploma frame) just to impress their in-laws or Internet dates or just make people in general think they are smarter than they really are.

These are the people that wouldn’t risk putting it on a job application but at the same time would never actually admit the diploma on their wall is a replica/novelty diploma they bought on the Internet. You know the type… like the guy you’ve seen driving a $5,000 Nissan but is somehow wearing a $25,000 Rolex. 😉

3. They definitely make unique gag gifts

A really big portion of our customers actually buy novelty diplomas as gag gifts for friends, family, co-workers, etc.

A lot of them, of course, are just completely goofy (and some even downright mean or vulgar if we’re honest) and want the diploma to have their friend or co-worker’s name on it and the major to be something like “Master of Arts in Laziness” or something like that.

Some can be a bit touching too though. I one time got an email from someone who said…

“My dad was in college when he met my mom and they ended up starting a family and he was so busy taking care of us kids that he never got a chance to go back and finish his degree. He is retired now but my brother, sister and I just thought it might be cool if we could give him the diploma he always wanted for Father’s Day. Can you do that?”

As long as he doesn’t decide to un-retire and try and go use it on a job application, sure. That sounds sweet and we’d be delighted to help.

4. Use on theatrical stages and film sets

Surprisingly, a lot of our orders are shipped to the New York, Hollywood and Studio City areas and are addressed to production companies like Viacom, Warner Bros., etc.

I suppose it’s not TOO big of a surprise if you actually stop and think about the hundreds, if not thousands, of different TV shows and movies that air every single day. You probably don’t even realize it but you probably see diplomas hanging on the walls in the backgrounds of various scenes on TV multiple times a day… and there is a good chance those diplomas might have very well been made by Cheaper-than-Tuition.

5. April Fool’s Day

I mean c’mon… can you imagine all the fun you could have with your new, extremely realistic looking novelty diploma on April Fool’s Day? Haha. I think this one is self-explanatory.

In Conclusion…

There are a lot of reasons why people buy novelty diplomas or “fake diplomas” online. Much more than I am sure I can think of at the moment but I’ll leave it there for now. If you think it might be cool to have a novelty diploma of your own though, be sure to check out or contact us at Info [at] As always, we’re here to help and answer any questions you may have!

Thanks for reading.