Difference Between Diploma and Degree

Main Difference – Diploma vs Degree

Both diploma and degree are conferred upon the successful completion of a course or a program. But there are certain differences between these two qualifications. A degree usually takes three or more years to complete whereas diploma can be completed in a shorter period of time. This is the main difference between diploma and degree.

What is a Diploma

Diploma is a certificate that is issued by an educational institution certifying that the recipient has successfully completed a particular course. However, the term diploma can mean different things in different countries.

In Australia, there are three varieties of diplomas. One is the diploma issued by vocational education and training sector. An advanced diploma is equivalent to an associate degree whereas a graduate diploma is a course taken after the bachelor’s degree.

In the UK, diploma of higher education refers to a higher education below degree level, but a postgraduate diploma is higher than a bachelor’s degree. In the US, diploma also refers to the certification received at the end of high school as well. In addition, diplomas are also offered by community colleges and technical schools. These types of diplomas focus more on practical and vocational skills and are considered to be lower than bachelor’s degrees.

Main Difference - Diploma vs  Degree

What is a Degree

Degree is an academic or professional qualification received upon the successful completion of a course at the university. There are various types of degrees, the most common being bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, postgraduate degrees, associate degrees, and professional degrees, etc. are some examples of degrees.

An associate degree is an undergraduate course that can be completed in two years. A bachelors degree is also an undergraduate degree, but it is considered to be of a higher level than an associates degree. Masters degree and doctorates are postgraduate degrees.Difference Between Diploma and Degree

Difference Between Diploma and Degree


Diploma takes a shorter period of time.

Degree takes a long period of time.


Diplomas often focus on vocational and technical skills.

Degrees often focus on the academic side of the subject.


Postgraduate diplomas are completed after the bachelors degree.

Degree can also be completed after a diploma.


Diplomas are awarded by community colleges, vocational schools as well as universities.

Degrees are often awarded by colleges and universities.Difference Between Diploma and Degree-infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Diploma” by Omar Baldo – (Gral Galarza) – Municipalidad de Galarza: Omar Baldo, (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimeida 

“Degree” (CC BY-SA 3.0 NY) via The Blue Diamond Gallery

About the Author: admin