What is the difference between a degree and a diploma?

What is the difference between a degree and a diploma?

Degree and diplomas are words that are often used to describe accreditation by the school, university, or college. In today’s world, both of these words have become synonymous; a person attains his degree when he receives his diploma. However, these two are slightly different from each other.

An academic degree or simply a degree is a college or university diploma that is often associated with award a person in recognition that the recipient has completed a particular course.

Degrees that are commonly awarded are Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees. defines ‘degree’ as, “an academic award conferred by a university or college on successful completion of a course or as an honorary distinction.”

A degree helps a person in terms of getting him/her geared for the job. For example, if studying to a mechanical engineer, earning an engineering degree and specializing in mechanics, will help the recipient earn the necessary qualifications for the job.

Certificates, diplomas, and degrees differ in the time it takes to earn each as well as the credits required in order to graduate. Each of these academic achievements is suitable for certain specific fields or career goals.

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degree and a diploma
degree vs diploma

Diploma and certificate programs taken alone are similar to associate’s degree programs. However, they take less time because general education courses are not required.

A degree program differs from certificates and diploma programs in that it often requires the student to take general education courses to support a more rounded education.

For instance, at many universities, those earning their bachelor’s degrees are required to take English, math, science, philosophy, and history.

What is the difference between a degree and a diploma?

An academic degree or simply a degree is a college or university diploma that is often associated with award a person in recognition that the recipient has completed a particular course.

Degree is a Course of 3/4/5 years duration after intermediate/ senior secondary / 10+2. Degree is of graduate level. For example –

BA ,B COM, B Sc, B Tech, MBBS

After graduate degree one is eligible for Post Graduate Degree.

Diploma is awarded for a short duration of 1/2 or max 3 years. Diploma is awarded after matric / secondary exam.

Some diploma are awarded after Graduation also like -Post Graduation (PG) Diploma in Management

Some universities award diploma courses after MBBS also which is equal to MS.

  1. The tenure of the degree course is generally 3-4 years, whereas the tenure of the diploma course is typically 1-2 years
  2. A degree is usually given by a recognized university, whereas a diploma is awarded by a private educational/institution
  3. A degree is available for almost all subjects across the globe. On the other hand, a diploma is available for certain and not so highly paid professions
  4. The focus of a degree is to make the student good in the majoring subject and to give overall knowledge. For example, if you want a degree in MBA (marketing), the school will also teach other disciplines such as finance, product management, accounting, and strategy. On the other hand, diploma focuses on getting a person educated in a particular field/business

Difference between a degree and a diploma:

Degree

The duration of a degree course is usually 3 to 4 years and the emphasis is on academics. For example,B.Com (H) is a 3-year degree course that teaches students subjects like accountancy, economics, and business studies; B.Tech is a 4-year degree course that teaches subjects like physics, chemistry and math, and includes the subject one plans to major in, an MBBS is a 5 and 1/2-year-long degree that teaches the general aspects of medicine.

Diploma

A diploma course is a short term course (usually 1 to 2 years in duration) that focuses on training a person in a particular field.

Certificates, diplomas, and degrees differ in the time it takes to earn each as well as the credits required in order to graduate. Each of these academic achievements are suitable for certain specific fields or career goals.

Diploma and certificate programs taken alone are similar to associate’s degree programs. However, they take less time because general education courses are not required.

A degree program differs from certificates and diploma programs in that it often requires the student to take general education courses to support a more rounded education.

For instance, at many universities, those earning their bachelor’s degrees are required to take English, math, science, philosophy, and history.

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What is the difference between a degree and a diploma
What is the difference between a degree and a diploma?

Conclusion:

the difference is that legally, a degree can only be awarded by a university(established by or under Central or State legislation) or a deemed university (under section 3 of the UGC Act) whereas a diploma can be awarded by any other educational institution.

Practically however, the difference seems to be that a degree is a longer, more comprehensive, structured education whereas a diploma is less so. However, this is not to discount the prestige of some diplomas.

For example, the PG Diplomas awarded by IIMs – Until 31st January 2018 (this is when the IIM Act, 2017 came into force making IIMs full-fledged degree-awarding institutions), IIMs could only grant diplomas. But this definitely did not imply that an IIM Education was any less structured, comprehensive, or desirable.

Diplomas are granted for vocational courses/career-oriented courses. On the other hand, Degree courses are more meaty in their content, providing a blend of high-level theory and practice.

Universities, provided they pass the UGC Fitness test, also receive grants from the UGC. So, in an ideal world, a degree course would also be better funded and would, therefore, provide better exposure to candidates through better amenities (this is not to say that there are no schemes formulated by governments for funding diploma education).

The UGC also prescribes the minimum Standard for the recruitment of teachers. So the teaching in universities provided to degree candidates is supposed to better than that provided by other institutions.

Overall, degrees are supposed to be better quality higher education as compared to diplomas.

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