The main difference between undergraduate and graduate and postgraduate is that an undergraduate is a student reading for a postsecondary degree and a graduate is a student who has already obtained the first degree while a postgraduate is a student who is reading for a postgraduate degree such as a master’s degree or a doctoral program after obtaining the first degree.
An undergraduate follows a bachelor’s degree through which he/she tries to prepare for entry or mid-level work in his/her field. When the undergraduate becomes a graduate after completing the first degree, he/she has the opportunity to become a postgraduate and continue further studies at the postgraduate level.
Key Areas Covered
1. Who is an Undergraduate
– Definition, Features
2. Who is a Graduate
– Definition, Features
3. Who is a Postgraduate
– Definition, Features
4. Similarities Between Undergraduate and Graduate and Postgraduate
– Outline of Common Features
5. Difference Between Undergraduate and Graduate and Postgraduate
– Comparison of Key Differences
Undergraduate, Graduate, Postgraduate
Who is an Undergraduate
An undergraduate is a student who is reading for a bachelor’s degree in order to acquire undergraduate level degree qualifications. At universities, undergraduates usually get the opportunity either to follow a ‘general degree’ or an ‘honours degree’, which gives him/her the chance to focus and specialize in a particular area of study.
If you are an undergraduate, you have the freedom to follow different bachelor’s degree programs such as Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Laws, or Bachelor of Arts. This depends on your preference and the qualifications you possess. Generally, an undergraduate who is reading for a special degree program spends around 4 years to complete the coursework and the research component in order to secure the required number of credits.
However, a bachelor’s degree is not the only undergraduate-level academic qualification you can have. If you find it difficult to invest 3 to 4 years for a degree, then you have the option of following a Certificate course or Diploma in a field of your interest. This is usually considered equivalent to the first level of your bachelor’s degree program. Meanwhile, if you find yourself interested in the selected area, you have the chance to pursue your higher education towards the full degree afterwards and eventually become a graduate.
Who is a Graduate
A graduate is a person who has already obtained a bachelor’s or the first degree by completing a course of study at a university or in a college. In simpler words, a graduate has completed a particular level of an academic program or schooling. For instance, a teen who just finished high school and a lawyer who just completed law college are both graduates. But in academics, the term graduate mainly refers to students who have completed their first degree.
Who is a Postgraduate
A postgraduate is a student who is reading for an advanced degree such as a master’s after obtaining the undergraduate degree and graduating from an undergraduate program. However, calling a person a postgraduate student does not only mean that he/she is pursuing a master’s degree. It can also mean that he/she is reading for another advanced degree, for instance, a PhD or a doctorate program.
To earn a postgraduate degree, the graduate students have to enrol in the postgraduate studies division of a university, which offers postgraduate degree programs. This means a graduate doesn’t become a postgraduate student until he enrols on postgraduate-level courses. For example, if a student reads for a bachelor’s degree and graduates and then decides to follow a different bachelor’s degree, he will be still considered an undergraduate student but not a postgraduate.
Similarities Between Undergraduate and Graduate and Postgraduate
- Undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate all follow or has already followed a first-degree program. It aims to train them for the job market or guide them towards higher studies.
- Moreover, all undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students can receive their lessons inside the conventional classroom or via online long-distance education.
Difference Between Undergraduate and Graduate and Postgraduate
An undergraduate is a student reading for a postsecondary degree, and a graduate is a student who has been awarded an undergraduate or first academic degree. A postgraduate, on the other hand, is a student who is reading for a postgraduate degree after obtaining the first degree.
If you are an undergraduate student following your first-degree program, you will have to invest 3-4 years in it. If you are a postgraduate, the time duration you may spend on your academics depends on the type of degree you decide to follow.
In brief, an undergraduate reads for a postsecondary or a first degree and becomes a graduate after obtaining the first degree. But a postgraduate is reading for a postgraduate degree after receiving the first degree. So, this is the main difference between undergraduate and graduate and postgraduate. Just imagine that you already have a bachelor’s degree or a rich knowledge about your field, then you may decide to follow a postgraduate program. However, if you don’t have a first degree and if you are going to study a totally novel field, it would be wiser to look for an undergraduate level qualification.