Who Wins the Diploma vs Degree Battle?

9 minute read
Diploma vs Degree

As heavily debated as the egg or the hen, one can spend entire weekends and sometimes even months over the Diploma vs Degree or diploma or B.Sc, which is the best discussion. For any student who has passed the Boards, making the key decision around a diploma vs a bachelor’s can be slightly unnerving. In this blog, we aim to help students out by providing all the important information about both these degrees, so that they can make the right choice!

Overview: Diploma vs Degree

To make things easy, let us start from the beginning, that is by defining and breaking down what each of this confusion on diploma vs bachelor means. 

Offered by an autonomous institution, college, or university, a Degree course is generally completed within 3 to 4 years. Whereas in the case of a Diploma, these programs are usually provided by colleges and take a maximum of 2 years to complete. 

If we were to lay down the specifics of differences between the Diploma Vs Degree while trying to determine diploma or B.Sc which is the best, they would be as follows:

Core AreaDegreeDiploma
MeaningA degree is a credential granted by a college or university upon satisfactory completion of study at a specific level in a chosen stream.A diploma is a certificate awarded by an educational institution to a student for completing a specific course and passing the examination.
EligibilityHigher SecondaryHigh School
Time3-4 Years1-2 Years
AdmissionAnnuallyHalf Yearly
Learning CurveDeep and IntenseHolistic
Awarded by UniversitiesUniversities, Colleges, and Private institutions
Flexibility Yes No 
Knowledge More Less
Conducted ByUniversities Universities, Educational Institutes and Private Companies 

What is a Degree?

Intense studying of a stream of choice can lead to any of the four major types of degrees, popularly known as:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: A Bachelor’s degree is four three years, generally a full-time undergraduate course which can lead you to your Master’s degree.
  • Associate Degree: An Associate degree program is available as a vocational degree that trains the students comprehensively in theory and practical. It spans two years.
  • Master’s Degree: A Master’s degree is a specialized, concentrated post-graduate degree that is pursued after the Bachelor’s degree. This higher study program is of two years duration.
  • Doctorate Degree: A Doctorate is the highest level of academic degree which can be studied after the master’s degree. Do not be misled by the term ‘doctorate’ for it implies a doctorate of philosophy, which means it encourages independent research under the guidance of an assigned supervisor. It takes anywhere from four to seven years to complete a PhD program. Once you are awarded the degree, a job is soon on the list!

The primary benefit of pursuing a degree course is that the students can apply for and get jobs shortly. The curriculum focuses on the specialization as per the student’s strengths. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Degree

One advantage of a degree is that many employers often require one, even if your major doesn’t necessarily apply to the job. Embarking on the journey for a degree and seeing it through to completion also can show commitment and dedication, which can be advantageous in the job market.

Other benefits of earning a degree include:

  • Better potential for earning higher salaries.
  • More marketable and desirable for jobs beyond entry level.
  • Learning additional skills like critical thinking and analysis.
  • Networking opportunities for future career options.
  • Better job benefits like insurance, retirement, and possibly even travel.

A couple of disadvantages when looking at a degree program are the cost and the time it takes to complete. Even though most institutions offer financial aid of some kind, degrees can still be the most expensive form of higher education. They also usually take the longest to complete and so require a significant time investment.

What is a Diploma?

A Diploma is more in-depth than a certificate and can take a little longer to earn, but still usually less than a year. Diploma programs are also often more technical. The classes taken in conjunction with earning a Diploma allow you to gain a thorough understanding of your field of study, though you won’t earn a degree upon completion of the program. The two most popularly known Diplomas are:

  • Graduate Diploma: A certified qualification that is undertaken at the undergraduate degree level.
  • Post-graduate Diploma: A certified qualification that is undertaken after the bachelor’s degree course.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Diploma

A Diploma can be advantageous if you’re looking to make a career change in a relatively short amount of time and the field you’re entering doesn’t require a degree. Since Diplomas are often more technical or trade-based, they are helpful when wanting to pursue a career such as an electrician or a dental assistant.

Some other advantages of a Diploma include:

  • They can be completed in a relatively short amount of time.
  • They are cost-effective; they cost less than a full-fledged degree.
  • You don’t have to worry about prerequisites or other complicated enrollment procedures you may find with a degree program.
  • Class schedules are often flexible as most attendees are working professionals.
  • Classes are focused on the exact skills you will need in the field.
  • Diploma programs usually offer some kind of internship or externship, so you can gain practical experience and also network for future job opportunities.

One of the differences between a Diploma and an associate’s degree is the general education courses; you’ll be required to take those to receive an associate’s degree, but not when you work toward a Diploma.

Between Diploma Vs Degree, here are the branch-wise course names you have probably heard of while contemplating which to choose. We have listed out the terms by which the degree and the diploma course are known:

Bachelors or Masters in Arts (English, Hindi, Sanskrit, French or any other language)Diploma in Literature (English / Chinese etc.)
B.Com / M.Com Diploma in Marketing, Sales, etc.
Bachelor/ Masters in Fine ArtsDiploma in Drawing/ Singing/ Acting etc
B.E/ B. Tech/ M.E./ M.Tech Diploma in Automotive Engineering, Automobile Designing
B.Sc/ B.E./ B.Tech / M.Sc/ M.E./ M.Tech in BiotechnologyDiploma in Biotech, Horticulture, Agricultural Sciences
Bachelors or Masters in Mass Comm & JournalismDiploma in Photography/ Film Making / Acting/ Cinematography
BBA/ MBADiploma in Business Studies/ Administration

Students willing to enter the Management domain are always confused between 2 courses – PGDM and MBA. If you are also stuck in such a dilemma, read our blog on PGDM vs MBA to make the right career choice!

Key Difference Between Diploma And Degree

The following points highlight the significant distinctions between a degree and a diploma:

  • As stated above as well, the degree is a credential awarded by the university to a student for completing his studies up to a certain stage in a field of study of his choice. The diploma is a certificate presented to a student by an educational institution for successfully studying and completing a specific course.
  • Admission to a degree programme is done every year. Admission to a diploma course, on the other hand, is done on a yearly or half-yearly basis, depending on the policies of the university or institution.
  • Degree programmes are typically more expensive than diploma programmes. Furthermore, degree courses require more time than diploma courses to complete.
  • Some degree programmes are flexible, allowing students to change their major after only a few months of enrollment. A diploma, on the other hand, does not have such a choice.
  • The minimum qualification for entrance to a degree programme is 10+2, however for a diploma, it is 10th.
  • Degree holders are typically paid more than diploma holders.
  • There are four categories of degrees: bachelor’s, master’s, associate’s, and doctoral. The type of available diplomas is graduate and postgraduate.

When to Use a Certificate

A certificate is helpful if you wish to work directly in a specific subject. For those seeking employment as electricians, plumbers, HVAC professionals, etc., a certificate might be useful.

These certificate programmes will mostly rely on apprenticeship and practical training to get students ready for the position.

When to Use a Diploma

A diploma, unlike a certificate, gives students greater in-depth preparation for entering a highly specialised sector. At a university or technical college, you can obtain a diploma. The average length of these programmes is two years.

When to Use a Degree

Undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are just two of the various types of degrees available. They serve several purposes.

Diploma vs Degree: What Do Employers Want?

No employer specifically states that they exclusively desire degree, diploma, or certificate holders. While certain vocations need a degree, others can be pursued with a diploma or certificate programme. A degree or diploma opens up a variety of chances in several industries at entry-level, middle-level, or higher-level employment. It is crucial to assess your objectives before deciding whether a certificate or degree is more advantageous to get. Mechanical engineering, security/support staff, sales representative, event manager, makeup artist, and other professions are some of the popular job roles that you can find with a diploma.

Diploma vs Degree: Final Verdict

In case you are wondering “degree vs diploma which is better?”, truth be told, it is completely upon personal preference. The top benefit of a Diploma Certificate course lies in its duration and affordability. It emphasizes more on a practical and hands-on approach to learning. However, there is a wider gap existing in the Diploma Vs Degree area, which demarcates with the choice of subject. Hence it is advisable to go through in detail the offerings of each and understand the finer nuances underlying within. 

While options await us in plenty after our class 12 boards, we should peruse and decide upon our commitment towards a higher diploma vs a degree or between a degree or diploma program. We should keep in mind that such a choice could well be the career-defining moment of our lives. In the race between a diploma or a degree –  which is better, we have listed out the options for you. It is time for you to focus on your strength, a specific skill that you would love to learn and continue doing once you are employed. 


What are the Pros and Cons of Earning a Degree?

-Be prepared for a career (some careers will require degrees)
-Earn more money than non-graduates
-Learn independence
-Expand your mind and network
-Become an expert in a field
-Requires time
-Can contribute to debt (unless you get financial aid or attend an online and tuition-free university like the University of the People)
-Not guaranteed a job

What is an Associate’s Degree and When is it useful?

An associate’s degree can be the first step to deciding whether you want to earn your Bachelor’s degree. It also can land you an entry-level position in your field of choice. An associate’s degree is useful if you’ve already completed some college units. It can also be a good choice to test a career change before committing to something bigger and more costly like a bachelor’s degree.

What types of careers can you pursue with a Degree?

When you continue your academic career and graduate with a degree, you continue to expand your horizons. The higher the degree you receive, the more options you’ll have for higher-paying jobs. The only consideration is what degree you will need for your desired position.

What do you learn in Diploma Programs?

Diplomas are hands-on and provide tailored coursework for the specific diploma you’re earning. They are practical.

What are the Pros and Cons of a Diploma?

-Doesn’t take long to earn
-Flexible and made to support working professionals
-Practical knowledge
-Missing general education classes so you won’t earn a degree, but instead solely a diploma

What are some career options for a Diploma?

Some career options that require a diploma include:
-Personal Trainer
-Electrical Technician
-Dental Assistant
-Vocational Nurse
-Mail Superintendent
-Subway Operator
-Transportation Inspector
-Business Operations Specialist
-Gaming Manager

What type of program is right for me?

This is genuinely subjective and depends on your career goals and outstanding circumstances. You’ll want to consider the following before selecting your route:
-How much time do you have?
-How much money or financial aid do you need?
-What field do you want to enter?
-What are your skills?

To conclude, in the tussle between Diploma Vs Degree or a higher diploma vs a degree, later on, not everyone could choose a long-term educational program like a degree. This is where short-term diploma courses are a befitting alternative. While there will always be a difference in acquiring knowledge, one can always believe in oneself and learn on the job.

A Diploma offers you the chance to network earlier in life, while a Degree lets you know your subject in depth. Leverage Edu’s expert team can help you with choosing the right option for your career. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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  1. I am Benjamin Appiah from Ghana to be honest I’m well praise with your information.l want say big thanks to you and also hoping for you to continue with your excellent guild lines.Thank you once again.Bye