There can be some confusion between the various qualifications available, and which ones are best suited to an individual’s career aspirations, particularly when it comes to graduate studies.

I recently had a job seeker ask the following question:

“I am a Graduate from the Electrical background, and want to do a masters in mining .. is it better to do Pg. Diploma or Graduate Diploma ?”

I was not really sure how to answer this question, so thought I should do some research on the topic and see if I could help this individual. I came across an article on DifferenceBetween.com that explained the difference as follows.

“The terms graduate diploma and postgraduate diploma are very confusing for students who have completed their graduate studies and wish to add qualifications against their name instead of going in for regular master’s level degree courses. There are enough similarities in between graduate diploma and postgraduate diploma which makes it hard for students to differentiate between them. Let us take a closer look.

A diploma in general refers to certifications issued by colleges, institutions and universities to testify that a student has successfully completed the course. A diploma is of a shorter duration than a degree course and carries less weight and significance in the minds of the employers as well. In general it is taken as an opportunity to add a feather in one’s cap to be ahead of those who have only completed their undergraduate courses. There are careers like nursing, pharmacy, and beautician etc. in which diplomas carry significant value and help in a student getting preference in employment opportunities.

A graduate diploma is a certification that one can obtain only after completing his undergraduate level degree course. This is an opportunity for a student to get additional qualification that also allows him to enter into a master’s program with the credits earned through diploma. Diploma courses are not only of shorter duration than a full time degree course, they also cost much less than a degree course. One is able to add a specialization against his name that is helpful in furthering one’s career when he completes a graduate diploma. There are cases when the company in which a person is working to pay for the cost of his master’s level degree course which has the benefit of getting a sponsor for higher studies and also saving time in the process.

PG diploma or postgraduate diploma is a qualification that is awarded in some countries such as England, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Russia, and many others. This is a qualification that is awarded after bachelor’s degree course. In Australia and New Zealand, PG Dip refers to master’s level qualification. For example, students in their first year of study in courses such as MS and MBA are called as postgraduate diploma students. It is when they complete the full duration of the course that they can qualify to be labelled as MS or MBA”

Another way from what I can see to put it, is that a graduate diploma acts as a continuation of undergraduate study; it therefore assists the graduate in furthering his or her knowledge in a particular area of study. The postgraduate diploma on the other hand, goes beyond the BSc level and can be considered instead of a fulltime MSc; some students will pursue a postgraduate diploma prior to doing their masters, so it can be used as a building block towards the masters.

So from what I can see should the job seeker above be wanting to pursue a masters in mining it would probably be better to go for a post graduate diploma…. If anybody else has any suggestions or advise we would be very happy to hear it….

20 Responses to “The difference between a Graduate Diploma and a Postgraduate Diploma”

  1. Trevor Dube

    To me the difference is:
    A a postgraduate diploma is a continuation of studies in the same field as the undergraduate course, e.g. a mining engineer can do a postgraduate diploma in some specialist mining course. However, a mining graduate who decides to expand their knowledge of mineral processing would enrol for a graduate diploma in mineral processing or extractive metallurgy.

  2. Kris

    I have a Bachelor in psychological science, major in psychology. I want to do secondary teaching. To do a masters of teaching (secondary) I need to have a major in one teaching subject and a minor in another teaching subject. I will have a major in a teaching subject achieved through doing my bachelor (psychology). However, I don’t have a minor in a teaching subject. I want to teach english as my minor but i am not sure which course (postgrad cert or postgrad dip) or (grad cert or grad dip) i have to do in order to get a minor in english. A minor makes up 4 standard units of study. Does anybody know which course is best to take so that I can get a minor in english and meet the requirements of masters of teaching (secondary)? I am speaking to so many course advisers at uni but none are being clear as to which pathway i should take. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you :)

  3. Mark

    Just wanted to clarify… A post graduate diploma can be seen as being half way between a bachelors degree and a masters degree.

    I have a bachelors degree in Government and a post graduate diploma in business administration.

    The post graduate degree took 8 courses to complete without a thesis. A masters degree would be an additional 8 courses with a thesis.

    Hope this helps.

    • Jessica C

      Many thanks to you, Mark. I find your comment very helpful as I am confused with post graduate diploma and master in business administration. Now I am clear ;) Btw, may I know the reason why didnt you pursue master instead of postgraduate diploma?

    • Dim

      The Postgraduate diploma (at least in the UK) requires 120 credits of study compared to a Masters that requires 180 (usually all the taught modules minus the dissertation). So that is actually 2/3 and not half way. In other countries this may differ, of course.

  4. Zelma Rohlfing

    Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  5. Lewis Jackman

    An absolute brilliant article with some fantastic insights for graduates. Diploma’s offer fantastic opportunities! Keep the brilliant articles coming . . . . .

  6. Nidan Narkhade

    Good article Susan. To do post graduate diploma courses or graduate diploma is a very common problem that students face and you have definitely given more clarity. I am currently doing pg diploma from ITM institute. I am happy to read pg diploma has better advantage in other countries. Thanks.

  7. Abhishek

    Hi Susan,
    It was indeed very helpful. I am thinking of Post Graduate Diploma in Business Analytics from Canada. I have completed my Bachelors in Electronics and Telecommunications from the University of Mumbai, India and working with Tata Communications Limited since two years. I would like to have your suggestion on whether I should consider Masters or PG Diploma. Please help.

    Thank you!

    • Susan Kihn

      Hi Abhishek. Thank you for the feedback on my article. So far as to whether you should persue a Masters of PG Diploma goes, post graduation diploma courses are typically a shorter duration and would be used as a stepping stone to do your Masters. The higher qualified you are the better your chances of breaking into the industry. That said, a PG Diploma is also very good to have. If you have the time and the money to do your masters, I would suggest that you persue it. Regards. Susan.

  8. Akash Thomas

    Hai susan
    I have a bachelors certificate in geology from an indian university.. I wish do my masters in Canada.. But with a 3 year bachelor degree doesnt satisfies the course requirement for a masters.. So i would like to a Pgdm in some geology related feilds.. Could you suggest some

  9. Linda

    I am currently enrolled in the Southern Cross University, Australia, and am doing a Masters degree but with 2 subjects left, have decided to pull out. I now qualify for the Graduate Diploma degree instead. i can always go back and finish my MBA if i want to in a few years time..

  10. Institutes in Chandigarh

    Graduate diploma makes you reach to a very good salary and livelihood. Post graduate diploma opens the limitless opportunity to grow in every aspect of job. You can get higher positions in a company and you will be able to earn handsomely.

  11. Nehemia Toma Jobo

    I hold a graduate diploma in legal studies, so I wish to pursue my LLM in Human Rights. I thank you.


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