What is the Difference Between Postgraduate and Undergraduate

The main difference between postgraduate and undergraduate is that undergraduate refers to your first degree, whereas postgraduate refers to further education you pursue after the first degree.

Undergraduate and postgraduate are two adjectives we use to describe tertiary education. These adjectives can describe courses, students, and studies. An undergraduate is a student who has not yet completed his or her first degree, whereas postgraduate is a student who has completed the first degree and is pursuing further education.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Undergraduate
     – Definition, Features
2. What is Postgraduate 
     – Definition, Features
3. Difference Between Postgraduate and Undergraduate
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Education, Postgraduate, Undergraduate

Difference Between Postgraduate and Undergraduate - Comparison Summary

What is Undergraduate

An undergraduate degree is basically your first university degree, i.e., an Associate degree or a Bachelors degree. If someone says, he is an undergraduate, that means he is studying for his first degree. There are different types of Associate and Bachelors degrees. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Civil Law, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Philosophy, Bachelor of Music, etc. are several types of Bachelors degrees. Moreover, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science are two of the main disciplines of a Bachelors degree. Bachelor of Arts includes subjects relating to Humanities and Social Sciences whereas Bachelor of Science includes subjects related to sciences.

Difference Between Postgraduate and Undergraduate

It’s also important to know the difference between an Associate degree and a Bachelors degree. Generally, a Bachelors degree is considered to be of a higher level than an Associates degree. Furthermore, an associate degree can be completed in two years under full-time basis. A Bachelors degree, on the other hand, can last up to three to six or seven years depending on the academic discipline. In addition, an Associates degree can be focused on professional fields, while a Bachelors degree is mostly academic.

What is Postgraduate

Postgraduate education refers to further education you pursue after the first degree. You can follow a postgraduate study after you complete your undergraduate degree or when you have equivalent work experience. This means you don’t necessarily have to have a first degree to pursue postgraduate education.

Graduate diplomas, masters and PhDs are the postgraduate courses you can follow after your undergraduate studies. These courses usually involve a combination of coursework and research. Furthermore, they require a higher level of understanding, more specialized knowledge, and greater independence than undergraduate studies. Therefore, those with postgraduate degrees are considered to be more qualified than undergraduate degrees.

Main Difference - Postgraduate vs Undergraduate

Masters degrees are usually the most popular type of postgraduate degrees. Just like Bachelors degrees, there are various types of Masters degrees, such as  Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Business Management (MBM), Master of Science (MSc), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Public Health (MPH), Master of Laws (LLM) or Master of Education (M.Ed. or MA). Generally, Masters degrees are shorter than Bachelors degree, but the work is more complex and painstaking.

Difference Between Postgraduate and Undergraduate

Definition

The adjective postgraduate describes a course of study undertaken after completing the first degree while the adjective undergraduate refers to one’s first degree.

Research

Postgraduate courses are typically a combination of research and coursework while undergraduate courses may or may not involve research.

Type of Courses

Moreover, postgraduate courses involve graduate diplomas, masters and PhDs while undergraduate courses involve Bachelors degrees and Associates degrees.

Level

Postgraduate courses require a higher level of understanding, more specialized knowledge, and greater independence than undergraduate studies.

Conclusion

The main difference between postgraduate and undergraduate is that undergraduate refers to your first degree, whereas postgraduate refers to further education you pursue after the first degree. Furthermore, postgraduate courses involve graduate diplomas, masters and PhDs while undergraduate courses involve Bachelors degrees and Associates degrees.

Image Courtesy:

1. “1872810” (CC0) via Pixabay
2. “Mba Degree” By Expertwriting (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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