Difference Between Diploma and Degree

Difference Between Diploma and Degree

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Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content
Updated on Feb 9, 2024 11:55 IST

After you complete your high school, the most important question that comes to mind is, which subject to choose? Another important consideration is choosing between a full-time degree and a diploma. The choice can be difficult, and sometimes students also confuse between diploma and degree. Understanding the difference between degree and diploma is crucial for making informed decisions about your education and future career. Read on to gain insight into the benefits and limitations of each.

Tabular Comparison – Degree vs Diploma

The main difference between degree and diploma is that degrees are typically more advanced and take longer to complete, while diplomas are usually shorter and focus on practical training.

  Degree  Diploma
Length  Takes longer to complete. Usually shorter to complete.
Requirements Completing several courses, exams, and a final project or thesis. Completion of a specific program or course of study.
Offered by UGC and AICTE-approved universities offer bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees. Vocational schools, community colleges, or autonomous training centres.
Fee High Comparatively low
Flexibility No Yes
Minimum qualification Higher Secondary High School
Focus  Completing a course of study in a particular field. Practical skills and vocational training in a specific field

What is a Diploma Course?

A diploma course is an academic program or training that provides students with focused and specialized knowledge and skills in a particular study area. Diploma courses are typically shorter in duration than degree programs and are designed to prepare students to start their careers in a specific industry or role.

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There are two main types of diploma courses – 

Graduate Diploma Courses 

Graduate diploma courses are conducted at an undergraduate level. The basic eligibility criteria for such courses is 10th or 12th. Examples of graduate diploma courses are –

  • Diploma in Engineering 
  • Diploma in Graphic Design 
  • Diploma in Hotel Management 
  • Diploma in Fashion Designing 
  • Diploma in Animation and Multimedia 
  • Diploma in Nursing 
  • Diploma in Event Management

Post Graduate Diploma Courses 

PG Diploma courses are diploma programs at a postgraduate level. The basic eligibility criteria for such courses is a bachelor’s degree. Some popular PG Diploma courses are – 

  • PG Diploma in Management
  • PG Diploma in Law
  • PG Diploma in Medical Sciences
  • PG Diploma in Journalism and Medical Sciences
  • PG Diploma in Business Analytics
  • PG Diploma in Computer Applications
  • PG Diploma in Hotel Management

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Advantages of a Diploma Course

The following are the benefits of diploma courses:

  • You can complete a specialized diploma course in less time than degree programs. 
  • Enrolling on a diploma course is easy, given that the prerequisites and eligibility criteria are not as stringent as a degree course.
  • Most diplomas have a flexible curriculum. Online diploma programs are also available that allow you to access the course content at your own time and pace.
  • These courses are usually vocational and prepare you for employment. For example, a diploma in computer programming will make you skilled in languages such as Java and Python.

Disadvantages of a Diploma Course

Challenges that a diploma holder may face include – 

  • After completing a diploma course, you will have a skillset on that subject. To learn more, you must go for a full-time graduation course.
  • Moreover, graduates or master’s degree holders will be given preference over diploma holders regarding jobs. Diploma holders are likely to receive a lower salary.
  • Climbing the corporate ladder can be difficult if you do not up-skill yourself in the long run.

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What are Degree Programs?

Degree programs are academic programs offered by colleges and universities. These programs typically involve a structured series of courses in a particular field of study and require students to meet the requirements to graduate. 

Degree programs can vary in length, intensity, and specialization depending on the degree level and the specific discipline.

The different types of degrees are as follows:

Bachelor’s Degree (3 – 4 years)

  • Bachelor in Arts
  • B.Tech in Computer, Electronics, Telecommunication, Civil, Biomedical, Mechanical, and Chemical Engineering.
  • B.Arch
  • Bachelor in Commerce
  • Bachelor in Science
  • BBA – Bachelor in Business Administration
  • BCA – Bachelor in Computer Applications

Master’s Degree (2 years)

  • MA
  • M.Tech
  • MBA
  • MSc
  • M.Com
  • MCA

Doctoral Degree

  • Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)
  • Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)
  • M.D. (Doctor of Medicine)
  • D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine)
  • S.J.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science)
  • DBA (Doctor of Business Administration)

Advantages of a Degree

  • A degree holder has better job prospects than a diploma holder since your degree authenticates your skills. Having a degree can give you a competitive edge in the job market.
  • A degree prepares you for a specialized career.
  • A degree will keep you in demand as a huge demand for skilled, college-educated workers continues to rise. 
  • Many degree programs require coursework emphasizing critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving. Employers highly value these skills in a variety of fields.

Disadvantages of a Degree

  • You must be ready to commit to the program and devote considerable time. Most graduate-level degrees take at least 3 -4 years to complete and a good number of study hours every day.
  • You may need an education loan to pursue higher education or professional/management/technical programs.
  • A degree does not guarantee a job. 

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One of the benefits of the diploma is that it provides more immediate training in the chosen field of interest and allows you to enter the workplace much sooner than with a career. Talking about career prospects, a degree is often regarded as a more valuable qualification than a diploma, particularly in fields that require a high level of expertise or specialization. However, diplomas can also be valuable for individuals who want to gain practical skills and knowledge in a specific trade or industry.

I hope this blog was helpful.


What is the difference between a diploma and a degree?

A diploma is a certificate an educational institution awards to a student for completing a specific course and passing the examination, while a degree is a credential a college or university grants upon successful completion of a course.

How long does it take to earn a diploma or degree?

Diploma programs typically take 1-2 years, while degree programs can take 3-4 years.

What is the cost of earning a diploma or degree?

The cost of earning a diploma or degree varies depending on the program. Diploma programs are generally less expensive than degree programs.

What are the job prospects for someone with a diploma or degree?

The job prospects for someone with a diploma or degree vary depending on the program and the field of study. People with degrees tend to have better job prospects than those with diplomas.

What are the different levels of degrees?

There are four main levels of degrees: Associate degree: This is a two-year degree that a community college or technical school typically awards. Bachelor's degree: A university typically awards a four-year degree. Master's degree: A university typically awards a two-year or three-year degree. Doctorate: A university typically awards a four-year or more degree.

About the Author
Rashmi Karan
Manager - Content

Rashmi is a postgraduate in Biotechnology with a flair for research-oriented work and has an experience of over 13 years in content creation and social media handling. She has a diversified writing portfolio and aim... Read Full Bio