A postgraduate diploma is probably the academic credential people know the least of. But it is also an educational path that brings a world of benefits for students with various backgrounds.
A busy job market and fierce competition have decreased the value of the first degree and imposed a need to change careers more rapidly. It has been a slow and steady process that took its time to change the way we perceive education.
Today, you have to be ready to upgrade your skills at a fast pace.
You have to pursue postgraduate studies to move up the corporate ladder.
And most importantly, you must offer relevant, hands-on knowledge that brings results.
In other words, the pressure is rising. Fortunately, so too are the number of educational programmes needed to keep your head above the water. Here’s how PGDip fits in the whole picture.
Postgraduate Diploma (PgD, PgDip, PGDip, PG Dip., PGD, Dipl. PG, PDE) is a type of academic credential that you can pursue upon completing undergraduate studies. As the term implies, PGDip is a postgraduate course, meaning it’s categorised as the level 7 studies in higher education, along with masters and PhD programmes.
However, it’s worth noting that PgDip is not equivalent to these research degrees. As a rule, a postgraduate diploma will not require you to perform extensive research or write a thesis, for that matter. Although you’ll be expected to achieve expertise on an advanced level, PGDip programmes are constituted around lectures, seminars and practical assignments. In other words, their essence lies in equipping you with practical knowledge that holds a timely relevance on the market.
Consequently, PgDip studies are shorter in length and worth fewer credits. While complete masters will get you 180 CATS / 90-120 ECTS credits, a postgraduate diploma is worth 120 CATS / 60 ECTS credits. If you opt for a full-time study, expect to complete the programme within two terms of study, which is approximately 30 weeks.
So, if we consider the duration, credits earned, and even potential costs – PGDip roughly equates to two-thirds of masters.
But the comparison is not entirely fair to the PGDip studies, as it fails to note some of the advantages that make this credential a perfect choice for specific categories of learners.
So, why study for a postgraduate diploma when you can invest the “extra third” to get a research degree, highly valued at the job market? Well, there are reasons to do so, particularly in situations that demand a more pragmatic approach to choosing your line of education.
Here’s the breakdown.
When you’re looking to effectively advance your knowledge in a certain area of your primary expertise or want to effectively fill in the skills gap, education that insists on extensive research might not suit your needs. Instead, a postgraduate diploma – emphasising practical and applicable knowledge – can prove a more worthwhile choice.
In other words, this academic credential is perfect for those that want to upgrade their careers and do it in a time-effective way. From that perspective, earning a postgraduate diploma will do a great job of showcasing your seriousness about personal development, complementing your existing qualifications, and building your resume.
The second reason PGDips is gaining momentum is that they are available in a wide variety of subjects. If you’re looking to switch careers, they offer the opportunity of graduating the transition. A whole new area of expertise is much more easily digested when taking small chunks of knowledge. Deep diving into a full master’s bears the danger of overwhelm, which could result in giving up.
However, note that PGDip programmes are slightly different from conversion courses, which typically compress a three-year undergraduate course into one year of study.
If you’re determined to change careers, the best thing to do is contact the institution of your choice and see what programmes are the best fit for you.
The major benefit of a postgraduate diploma is that it is so versatile, allowing you to “convert” it to a master’s if you wish to continue your studies. Because universities usually offer both credentials in the same subject areas, it’s fairly easy to add a dissertation to the PGDip qualification and earn a master’s degree. Vice versa, most institutions will award you a postgraduate diploma if you dropped out of masters studies too soon but still completed the necessary coursework.
So, if you’re undetermined whether research-intensive education is your match, PGDip is a smart way of probing your commitment and taking credentials one at a time.
Of all the advantages of a postgraduate diploma, the potential to expand knowledge is probably the least mentioned. But providing learners with an opportunity to fast-track their intellectual progress sure deserves proper consideration.
PGDip studies are primarily designed to give students actionable knowledge that leads more directly into employability. They are the shortest route to advancing – enough insightful to develop your expertise and still less demanding to ensure you stay on track.
Naturally, the last advantage we’ve just mentioned is also a paved path to finding a job.
First, a postgraduate diploma will give you a significant advantage over applicants who only hold an undergraduate degree. Second, it will furnish your competencies with relevant, applicable, and high in-demand skills. Not to mention the increased earning potential that follows all of those mentioned above.
In short, if you’re short of time and finances, impatient to join the workforce, a PGDip makes more sense than investing in a full-time master’s studies.
Whether you’re already working, actively searching for a job, or have other life commitments – your PGDip education can offer even more flexibility through online courses. So, when counting your options, this is definitely something to keep in mind.
Be sure to find out more about a PGDip programme of your choice and check if it offers all the benefits we’ve just listed.