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Postgraduate Diploma Vs Masters Degree

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Choosing the right programme for your postgraduate study can be a tough decision. You have to consider which option best aligns with your career plans and available resources to pursue the study programme.

When researching options of study at the postgraduate level, many students only consider Masters and PhD as the available options for postgraduate study. However, there is also the option of Postgraduate Diploma (PG Diploma), which very many students are not familiar with.

In this article, we will be discussing the differences between a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters degree to help you decide which option is a better fit for your postgraduate study.

postgraduate diploma

What is a Postgraduate Diploma?

Postgraduate Diploma is a short term academic programme at the graduate level of study that can be considered right after undergraduate studies. Most Postgraduate Diploma programmes are vocational and they focus on acquiring practical knowledge and specific skillset in a chosen field.

Though a Masters degree and a Postgraduate Diploma are significant in enhancing career prospects, Postgraduate Diploma is a perfect option for you if you wish to obtain a postgraduate qualification without committing to the research and length of a masters programme.

Differences between Postgraduate Diploma and Masters Degree

The major differences between a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters Degree are:

  • Cost

In terms of finances, a Postgraduate Diploma is generally more affordable than Masters Degree because of its shorter duration. Because a PG Diploma allows a more flexible schedule than a Masters programme, PG Diploma students can combine their study programme with their current jobs to be able to fund the programme.

For most students, the cost of study is a major factor in deciding what postgraduate programme to study. If you don’t have enough funds for a Masters degree, you can consider a PG Diploma, then save up for a Masters degree if you wish.

postgraduate diploma

  • Duration of study

While a Postgraduate Diploma typically takes a year to complete for a full-time study programme, a Masters degree requires 18-24 months to complete a full-time study. A Masters programme being an extended qualification of a PG Diploma covers more course modules and as a result, requires a longer time to complete.

PG Diploma is an ideal option for people who do not want to commit to something that is time-intensive and wish to merge their current jobs with PG study plans. This Postgraduate Diploma option is advisable if you wish to attain specialist knowledge and skills and launch into a successful career quickly.

postgraduate diploma

  • Programme Structure and Scope

A major difference between a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters degree is the programme structure. PG diplomas are mostly vocational courses. They are an excellent option for students seeking professional training to upgrade skills for a particular career path. Unlike a Masters degree, a Postgraduate Diploma does not include research. This is why they require a shorter time to complete. PG Diplomas require less coursework and no research because they focus on practical skills needed to prepare for a career in a particular field.

A Masters degree, on the other hand, is generally research-based. These degrees provide a broader view of a particular subject area. They include more advanced training and coursework. Because Masters degrees are designed to suit academic or professional specialization, they have a more comprehensive approach to learning. A Masters degree typically requires a bachelors degree or its equivalent in the same or similar field. A PG Diploma, however, may grant admission to students who have relevant work experience in the field.

  • Career Prospects

If your reason for studying at the postgraduate level is to land a job quicker or gain skills to advance in your career, then a PG Diploma may be a better choice for you. PG Diplomas are a great option for you if you want to study further but don’t want to commit to the time and research required for a Masters degree.

However, if your career plans include an academic career or getting a PhD, then a Masters degree will be the best option for you. In addition to its value in academia, a Masters degree positions you for career success as it gives you a broader view of a subject area and access to more jobs. A Masters degree encourages students to engage with a field of study more comprehensively to acquire in-depth knowledge and skills.

postgraduate diploma

  • Work Permit

Most international students wish to further higher education in foreign countries with the intention of gaining employment after their study programme. As an international student, the conditions of your work permit are dependent on the duration of your study programme and course type.

If you have plans to work after studying, you should consider these conditions when choosing a PG programme. Because a Masters degree lasts longer than a PG Diploma, it is a practical choice if you are seeking a work permit that will last you longer.


Though a Postgraduate Diploma and a Masters degree may serve different career plans and needs, both programmes help students develop practical skills and expand their knowledge to improve career prospects.




If you have any questions or need assistance regarding postgraduate study, please click here to chat with our counsellors who are always willing to guide you.



Explore related article: Masters Degree Admissions Requirements || What You Should Know


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