What is the Difference Between a Diploma and Graduate Diploma?

difference between diploma and graduate diploma

What is the Difference Between a Diploma and Graduate Diploma?

The world of higher education can be difficult to navigate. Understanding the hierarchy of higher education takes a bit of getting used to.

You may have wondered is a degree higher than a graduate diploma, and then does that mean a degree is better than a graduate diploma?

What’s the difference between a diploma and a graduate diploma?

We’re going to answer all these questions and more in the article below.

The levels in higher education and vocational training are governed by something called The Australian Qualifications Framework.

What is the Australian Qualifications Framework?

The higher education system in Australia is regulated by the Australian Qualifications Framework.

The Australian Qualifications Framework or AQF is the policy that governs the national qualifications systems in Australia. This includes higher education, vocational education and training (VET) and schools.

The AQF regulates learning outcomes for each AQF level and qualification type and the policy requirements for awarding these qualifications.

The AQF has different levels that govern the order of qualifications in the framework. It starts at level 1 and goes out to level 10. Level one is a certificate I and level 10 is a doctoral degree.

What is a diploma?

A diploma qualification is a level five in the AQF. This is above a certificate IV and below an advanced diploma or associate degree and below a bachelor’s degree.

What are the entry requirements for completing a diploma?

Depending on the field of study, you may have to complete a certificate IV before completing a diploma. There are a number of fields of study where no pre-requisites are required for enrolling into a diploma. Depending on the qualification, you may however require relevant work experience. You will also need more advanced language, literacy and numeracy skills.

What can I do with a diploma?

Depending on the field, a diploma level qualification may be the minimum requirement to work in the industry or you may require a higher qualification.

A diploma qualification can also be a pathway to further study. If you didn’t achieve the ranking you needed to enter your preferred program or degree, you can raise your ranking or gain extra credits through completing certificates or a diploma.

A diploma gives you a QTAC selection ranking of 82 which is equivalent to an OP 9. And there are some diploma programs that may shorten the amount of time you’ll need to spend studying your degree.

How long does a diploma take to complete?

The length of a diploma is dependent on the delivery mode and study method. How long it takes you to actually complete a diploma will also depend on your personal circumstances and your previous experience with completing vocational training. Generally, it takes anywhere from six months to two years to complete a diploma.

A diploma can be delivered by a vocational training provider or a college or university.

What is a graduate diploma?

A graduate diploma is a higher level qualification that sits above a diploma and a degree but below a master’s degree. It is a level eight on the AQF system.

Generally, with a graduate diploma you’ll need to have previously completed a bachelor’s degree in the field of study to enter or you must have signifcant, relevant work experience.

A graduate diploma is a qualification you could study at a vocational training provider, a college or a university.

How long does a graduate diploma take to complete?

A graduate diploma takes anywhere from one to two years to complete depending on study load and delivery modes. However, you may be able to gain your graduate diploma quicker through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Can you complete it through RPL?

Provided you can show evidence of all required components you can complete a graduate diploma through recognised prior learning. However, there are strict entry requirements to a graduate diploma.

What are the entry requirements for a graduate diploma?

This depends on the which field of study you are entering for your graduate diploma however generally you will have completed a bachelor’s degree and have a few years’ experience in your field before undertaking the graduate diploma. The requirement of holding a bachelor’s degree can generally be bypassed if you are completing RPL and have significant work experience.

What can I do with a graduate diploma?

A graduate diploma can give you a leg up in your career and help you to take the next professional step. A graduate diploma through RPL is great for experienced leaders and managers who have no formal qualifications but many years of work experience. A gradudate diploma can also be used as a pathway to a master’s program at university.

What’s the difference between a graduate diploma and a diploma?

A diploma is a lower level qualification usually undertaken at the beginning of your career in an industry to get your first entry level job. A graduate diploma on the other hand is generally undertaken once someone has spent a few years working in the industry and wants to level up their career and go for higher level jobs or management positions in their field.

What can you study?

There are many different areas of study that have a graduate diploma or a diploma level qualification. Which one you should study depends entirely on your goals.

If you are looking to rise up the ranks at work and you already have the qualification for your role but you particularly want to move into management positions, a Diploma of Leadership and Management might be right for you. If you have signifcant work experience in your field and are looking for a qualification to confirm your transferable skills, a Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership is what you should be looking at!

If you’re interested in exploring your options, get in touch with our friendly course advisors or browse some of our courses here.

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