Education

Graduate Diploma vs. Bachelor Degree: Which is Better to Get?

There is a lot of debate surrounding graduate diplomas vs. bachelor’s degrees – which one is better to get? Both have advantages and disadvantages, and deciding which route to take can be difficult.

In this article, we will explore the differences between graduate diplomas like a graduate diploma in psychology, and bachelor’s degrees, so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for your situation.

What is a graduate diploma?

In countries like Australia and New Zealand, graduate diplomas are usually one-year, full-time programs that you can do after completing an undergraduate degree. They are not Master’s programs, like an MBA (is an MBA hard). 

They’re designed to give you advanced skills and knowledge in a particular field without committing to a longer master’s degree program. Graduate diploma programs are taken after you’ve completed a three-year bachelor’s or four-year honors degree.

Some popular career options that you can pursue with a graduate diploma include:

  • Accounting
  • Psychology
  • Marketing
  • Human resources

Is a graduate diploma a degree?

Many graduate diploma programs are graduate certificate programs. In other words, they’re not considered to be a full degree.

However, some graduate diploma programs are at the same level as a bachelor’s degree. These graduate diplomas usually take two years to complete, and often have a heavier course load than your average graduate certificate program.

What is a bachelor’s degree?

On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree is an undergraduate program that you do before completing a graduate diploma or master’s degree.

A bachelor’s degree will give you a more in-depth and well-rounded education in your chosen field. In some cases, having a bachelor’s degree can be essential for certain careers (e.g., teaching).

In Australia, you can study for a bachelor’s degree as either an undergraduate or graduate student. If you’re an undergraduate student, you’ll usually study full-time for three years (or four years if you’re doing an honors program).

If you’re confused, think of it this way – a graduate diploma is like a ‘taster’ of what you would study in a master’s degree program. In contrast, a bachelor’s degree is the foundation for further postgraduate study.

Popular undergraduate bachelor’s majors include:

  • Business
  • Communications
  • Creative arts
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Information Technology

How long is a bachelor’s degree?

A bachelor’s degree is a three or four-year undergraduate program. The length of your program will depend on the country you’re studying in and your chosen field of study.

For example, if you’re studying engineering in Australia, you’ll need to complete four years of full-time study. However, if you’re studying arts or commerce, you’ll only need to study for three years.

A bachelor’s degree is typically four years of full-time study in the United States. However, some programs (such as nursing) can be completed in three years.

Graduate Diploma vs. Bachelor Degree: What are the differences?

graduate diploma vs. bachelor

There are a few key ways in which bachelor’s degrees and graduate diplomas differ. Here are the most important things to keep in mind:

Length of study

The biggest difference between graduate diplomas and bachelor’s degrees is the time it takes to complete each program. As we’ve mentioned, graduate diplomas are usually one-year programs, whereas bachelor’s degrees usually take three or four years to complete.

For example, a graduate diploma in Psychology can be completed in as little as 12 months. In contrast, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology would take three to four years to complete.

Cost

In terms of cost, graduate diplomas are usually cheaper than bachelor’s degrees. This is because they’re shorter programs, and you don’t need to pay for as many years of study.

However, this isn’t always the case – it depends on your chosen program and university.

Scope of study

Another difference between graduate diplomas and bachelor’s degrees is the scope of the study. Bachelor’s degrees are much more comprehensive and will give you a well-rounded education in your chosen field.

A graduate diploma, on the other hand, is narrower in focus and will provide you with advanced skills and knowledge in a specific area. In Australia, graduate diplomas are usually taken after you’ve already completed a three-year bachelor’s degree.

This means that if you’re considering doing a graduate diploma, you probably have a good idea of what area you want to specialize in.

Job prospects

The job prospects you have after completing a graduate diploma or bachelor’s degree will depend on the specific field that you’re studying.

In general, having a bachelor’s degree will give you more job options than having a graduate diploma. This is because employers often look for candidates with a well-rounded education and broad knowledge base.

However, graduate diplomas are often considered equivalent to bachelor’s degrees in fields like Psychology and Accounting.

Depth of knowledge

As we’ve mentioned, graduate diplomas are narrower in focus than bachelor’s degrees. This means that you’ll develop more detailed and specialized knowledge in your chosen field.

If you want advanced skills and knowledge in a specific area, a graduate diploma might be the right choice.

Graduate Diploma vs. Bachelor Degree: Which is easier to get?

Graduate diplomas are generally easier to get into than bachelor’s degrees. This is because they’re shorter programs and usually don’t require an undergraduate degree for entry.

However, this isn’t always the case – it depends on the specific graduate diploma program that you’re applying for. Some graduate diploma programs might have very competitive entry requirements.

Is a graduate diploma equivalent to a bachelor’s degree?

In Australia, graduate diplomas are usually seen as equivalent to bachelor’s degrees. This means that if you’re considering doing a graduate diploma, you probably have a good idea of what area you want to specialize in.

However, the job prospects you have after completing a graduate diploma or bachelor’s degree will depend on the specific field that you’re studying. Think carefully about your career goals before deciding which type of program is right for you.

Graduate Diploma vs. Bachelor’s Degree: Cost

Let’s consider the cost of a graduate diploma vs. a bachelor’s degree. In terms of cost, graduate diplomas are usually cheaper than bachelor’s degrees. In Australia, a graduate diploma will cost about $15,000, while a bachelor’s degree will cost you $20,000 to $30,000.

Of course, this is only a rough estimate – the actual cost will depend on the specific program and university you choose.

Graduate Diploma vs. Bachelor Degree: Which is better to take?

In countries where graduate diplomas are seen as equivalent to bachelor’s degrees, like Australia, it usually doesn’t matter which type of program you take.

For example, a graduate diploma in psychology online can be completed in as little as 12 months. In contrast, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology would take three to four years to complete.

However, you’d have to have already graduated with any undergraduate degree to qualify for the graduate diploma in Psychology.

Therefore, if you want to specialize in a certain area and already have an undergraduate degree, you could proceed with a graduate diploma.

Before making a decision, think carefully about your career goals and what type of program will help you achieve them.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to deciding whether a graduate diploma or bachelor’s degree is better for you and your circumstances, it depends on your particular field and career goals.

If you need to gain advanced skills and knowledge in a specific area to progress in your field, then a graduate diploma might be the reasonable next step.

However, if you’re looking for a more well-rounded education, and don’t have any plans to specialize, then a bachelor’s degree might suit you just fine.

 

Sandy Villamor

Call me Sandy, a writer, and blogger of LifeStyleConvo & UrbanHouses, who worked as a full-time content creator. A writer by day and reader by night.

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