What is a postgraduate diploma and what are its benefits?

Many new graduates who are struggling in the current competitive job market are looking to further their knowledge and qualifications through postgraduate study. Choosing a postgraduate course can help you to gain an in-depth understanding of your chosen field and provide you with relevant experience that could help you land your dream job.

There is a range of postgraduate courses to choose from with varying qualifications like a masters degree, PhD and postgraduate diploma. A PhD is a great way to work towards a career in academia and research, but requires three years of dedicated study and lots of hard work. Masters come in various forms and can be completed on a full-time course in just one year. Although you do not have to produce a lengthy thesis equivalent to that needed for study towards a PhD, a masters still requires completion of a dissertation, which can be challenging given the timeframe of the course.

Then there is the postgraduate diploma; but how does this differ from a masters degree? For those who are looking to gain further qualifications with the aim of getting a particular job at the end of it then the postgraduate diploma offers an ideal solution. The courses can be academic or vocational and are often linked to a specific profession so you can rest assured that you are getting the right qualification for your career. In terms of how the qualification compares to other postgraduate courses the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications places postgraduate diplomas at a level 7 alongside masters degrees and one level below doctorates that stand at level 8.

Usually qualification to study for a postgraduate diploma requires a bachelor’s degree with a grade of 2:2 or higher, although this can vary between courses and universities. The course is typically completed in nine to 12 months of full-time study and the teaching styles will range from seminars and lectures to projects, research papers and, in some cases, practical work placements. The course that you choose to study does not have to be related to the subject you chose at the undergraduate level, which is why postgraduate diplomas can be ideal for those looking for a career change.

Course fees for postgraduate diplomas also have the added advantage of usually being less expensive than those for a masters degree, but a diploma still offers the flexibility to progress to a masters course should you decide this is necessary. On completion of your postgraduate diploma you will be awarded a distinction, merit, pass or fail grade.
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