Nowadays, "Diploma Vs Degree" is a heavily debated topic. It's a key decision for the students who just passed the Boards to choose between a diploma or degree. This article is for helping you to understand the fundamental differences between a diploma and a degree. 


Let's start with what a degree is! A degree is an academic rank conferred by a university after completing intense studying in a course and giving an examination or conferred as an honour on an individual.

The different types of degrees are

1. Undergraduate degrees: These are offered by universities after completing +2 level or Higher Secondary. Undergraduate degrees are of 2 kinds -

  • Associate degrees: With a duration of 2 years, this program gives candidates the basic knowledge and vocational training for the subject they are opting for. This is the best degree for the subject's entry-level positions in any subject. Some examples of Associate degrees are Associate of Applied Sciences, Associate of Technology etc.
  • Bachelor's degrees: Provided by the universities and with a duration of 3-4years, a Bachelor's degree is the most recognised globally. After completing a bachelor's degree, you can apply for jobs in the stream of your graduation. Some examples of Bachelor's degrees are Bachelor's of Science, Bachelor's of Arts, Bachelor's of Technology etc. Bachelor's degree leads to a Master's degree.

2. Master's degree: As the name implies, it makes you master's in the specialised fields chosen by you. It is 1-2 years and is a significant part of higher studies. It is of two types - academic (for, e.g., Master of Science or Master of Arts etc.) and professional (for, e.g.- Master of Business Administration or Master of Education). Admission to the Master's degree requires a certain minimum GPA based on the requirements of the universities.

3. Doctoral degrees: The highest level of degree provided by any university is the Doctoral degree. The most common is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). It's the most advanced level degree you can enrol for after completing your Bachelor's or Master's degree. This course has 4-7 years and is mainly research-oriented, where you need to work on real-life problems.

Advantages of Having a Degree

  •  Increases opportunities for jobs. It has been found that college graduates get 57% more job opportunities than non-graduates.
  •  A college degree also prepares the students for a specialised career with in-depth knowledge in their graduation stream.
  •  Degree courses make candidates more marketable in the job market with skills like exceptional communication, leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving or analytical skills.
  •  A degree also increases the earning potential of candidates. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, it is clear that the higher one's level of education, the higher salary one can expect.
  • A degree makes you flexible in terms of career opportunities.


A diploma is a more in-depth course than a certificate; it is awarded by colleges or universities, which provide technical knowledge in the chosen field. It usually takes a little longer to earn after completing a diploma but still takes less than a year. It has a duration of about 1-2 years.

The two most common types of diplomas are -

1. Graduate Diploma is undertaken at the bachelor's level. It provides knowledge at per with the final year of graduation or a bridge between the last year of graduation and the first year of Masters or Doctoral.

2. Postgraduate diploma: Postgraduate diploma is undertaken after the bachelor's level. The studies are more advanced than graduation and are equivalent to the level of a master's degree, though diplomas take shorter periods than college degrees and require no dissertation.

Advantages Of Diploma

  • The diploma courses are industry-focused; the courses focus on the exact skills you need for earning.
  • Diploma courses design their curriculum so that you get practical exposure to real-life skills and enable you to earn a decent salary after completing the course.
  • It is less time consuming as the diploma programs are shorter than college degrees.
  • Diplomas allow you to take up more than one course simultaneously and explore various career options.
  • Admission criteria like age, grades etc., are less rigid in diploma courses.
  • Diploma courses are less costly than college degree courses.
  • Classes are more flexible, allowing professionals to take part-time courses.

Differences Between Diploma and Degree





An academic rank is conferred after completing intense studying and examination in a course or conferred as an honour on an individual.

A more in-depth course than a certificate that provides technical knowledge in the chosen field.


Awarded by universities.

Awarded by colleges, universities or private institutions.


The duration of a degree course is much longer than that of the diploma programs. For example, 3-4years are needed to complete the bachelor's degree.

The duration of the diploma programs is shorter than college degree courses, and diplomas mostly take 1-2 Years.


After completing your degree courses, you can readily get a job in your stream. And you will have a flexible career.

It will take you a little longer to earn after completing your diploma, less than a year, though. But your stream of work will be specific.


Higher the education level, the higher the salary. 

The salary provided is less.


A minimum Higher Secondary degree is needed for applying for college degrees.

You need to pass your high school to apply for diploma programs.


Admission criteria for degree courses are rigid. Universities have their ages or grades fixed for the degree courses they provide.

Admission criteria are more flexible.


Degree courses are more expensive.

Diplomas are less expensive than degree courses.

Degree vs Popular Diploma Courses



B.A in English, History, Sociology etc.

Diploma in literature (English/Chinese etc.)

B Com/M.Com

Diploma in Marketing, Sales etc.

Bachelors/Masters in Fine Arts

Diploma in Singing/Acting/Drawing etc.


Diploma in Automotive, Polytechnic, Automobile Designing etc.

B.Sc/B.E/B.Tech/M.Sc/M.E/M.Tech in Biotechnology

Diploma in Horticulture, Agricultural Sciences, Biotech 

Abroad Universities for Degree Courses

Some top universities for doing degree courses abroad are Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, University of Cambridge, Princeton University, University of Oxford, Yale University etc.

Abroad Universities for Diploma Courses

Some top universities for doing diploma courses abroad are Algonquin College, Ecole Lenotre - Culinary Arts School, North Island College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, St. Clair College of Applied Arts & Technology, Charles Darwin University, Saskatchewan Polytechnic Monash University, Kwantlen Polytechnic University etc.

Eligibility Criteria for Degree

In India: 10+2 years of schooling, you have to pass your Higher Secondary examination before applying for Bachelor's degree. You have to have a Bachelor's degree before applying for a Master's degree.

Abroad: Besides Passing Higher Secondary examinations, sometimes some universities abroad require tests like GRE/SAT/TOEFL to be cleared.

Eligibility Criteria for Diploma

In India: 10th pass or 12th pass

Abroad: 12th pass

Admission Procedure for Degree

In India: Admission is usually based on marks obtained in the last board examination, but some universities take admission tests also. In such universities, your admission will be based on your performance in those entrance tests or both on your last board examination result and performance in the entrance test conducted by the chosen university.

Abroad: Admission is based on the marks obtained in the previous board examination, and sometimes some universities abroad require examinations like GRE/SAT/TOEFL to be cleared.

Admission Procedure for Diploma

In India: Admission is based on marks obtained in the last board examination.

Abroad: Admission is based on marks obtained in the final board examination.

Degree vs Diploma: Jobs and Salary Abroad



International Journalist ($75,000-$120,000 per year)

Factory Labourer ($20 an hour)

Foreign Affairs (Diplomat) ($30,000-100,000 per year)

Greenhouse Worker ($17 an hour)

Geopolitical Analyst ($51,000-$92,000 per year)

General Help ($25.28 an hour)

Archaeologist ($58,000-$78,000 per year)

CPC Technologist ($52.63 an hour)

Management Consultant ($78,000-$130,000 per year)

Community Service Worker ($29.48-31.18 an hour)

International Buyer ($60,000-$80,000 per year)

Student Employment Program ($563-$1274 a week)

Oil Rig Worker ($60,000-$150,000per year)

Program Assistant ($27.61-$29.19 an hour)

Technology Evangelist ($56,000-$120,000 per year)

Economic Development and Research Officer ($39.38-$46.06 an hour)

Career Prospects Abroad

In the end, if you look into the career prospects abroad after completing a degree or diploma, there is no doubt that you will have a better career with a degree. In India and abroad, people with more education are preferred for any post. The higher your education, the higher your salary you can expect. Moreover, with a degree, you are more flexible. You can expand your horizons and try many career opportunities. In contrast, a diploma will make you more specialised, and you will not be able to get a job outside your stream.

 FAQs about Diploma VS Degree

Is a Diploma higher than a Degree?

 A Diploma is lower than a Degree in the educational hierarchy.

What types of careers can you pursue with a Degree?

Innumerable careers await you if you have a Degree in any field. You can be employed as an Accountant, Investment Banker etc.

What do you learn in Diploma programs?

You will learn more about small topics and subjects and learn better and more deeply.

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