One of the toughest decisions one has to make after his undergraduate studies is choosing a post graduate course to study. It is mostly advisable to choose a course that aligns with your career path coupled with available resources to aid pursue the study program.
Masters and PHD are mostly the niche that people choose when they want to their post graduate studies. However, many students are not familiar with Postgraduate Diploma (PG Diploma), which is also an option.
This piece of article will exhaust 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 is basically 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. Diploma, HND and Undergraduate degree holders are all eligible to study Post graduate diploma/Degree courses
Kindly note that, 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.
What differentiates Postgraduate Diploma and Masters Degree
Taking the costing into consideration, a Postgraduate Diploma is generally more affordable than Masters Degree because of its shorter duration and the course content. 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. PG Diploma allows for on-field and classroom combinations.
The cost of study is a major factor in deciding what postgraduate programme to study for most students. It is advisable if you don’t have enough funds for a Masters degree, to consider PG Diploma so you save for your Master’s Degree if you wish
- Length of Study
Mostly, a Postgraduate Diploma 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 Master’s programme is an extended qualification of a PG Diploma which covers more course modules and as a result, requires a longer time to complete.
Ideally, PG Diploma is an 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.
- 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.
- Work Permit
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.
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