Are a Degree and a Diploma the Same?


which qualification is bestIf you have ever wondered whether a degree and a diploma are the same (or close enough that the difference is minimal), you are not alone. Many school leavers and future students ask the same question when it comes to choosing a qualification for further study. In South Africa, both diplomas and degrees are recognised qualifications that will enhance your CV and help in your chosen career path, but each of these qualifications has specific differences that make them unique.

Getting a Degree in Cape Town

When you think of studying for a degree in Cape Town, or anywhere else, for that matter, you might be thinking of a bachelor, masters or even a doctoral degree. While this qualification certainly opens up plenty of doors than a diploma or higher certificate, some students may find that a specialised diploma offers more value than a general degree.

Some of the characteristics and advantages of degrees include:

  • Takes four years or more to complete, depending on the level. A bachelor’s degree takes three to four years, a master’s degree takes a further two years after earning a bachelor’s, and a doctoral typically takes several years beyond a master’s degree.
  • Often provides a generalised specialisation within certain fields. For example, a BCom (Bachelor of Commerce) degree focuses on a range of subjects without the greater area of commerce, such as economics, business studies, accounting, marketing, commercial law and various other modules.
  • In the workplace, applicants with degrees to their name may receive a better pay grade than one with a diploma or higher certificate. In some fields, degrees are a pre-requisite.

Getting a Diploma in Cape Town

As valuable as a degree can be, achieving a diploma in Cape Town can also offer a number of benefits for your career. This qualification is similar to a certificate, and is often awarded through community colleges or vocational schools. Many businesses accept diplomas just as they do other qualifications, especially in fields that require skilled applicants. This is because diplomas focus on one area without the broader education that is typically included within a degree.

Some characteristics and advantages of diplomas include:

  • Diplomas typically come in the form of two to three year courses that extensively cover a certain skill area. For instance, a Diploma in Financial Management deals exclusively with subjects relating to the management of finance in the business and government sectors, with modules designed to provide an extensive understanding of related topics.
  • Admission requirements for diploma courses can be more accessible compared to admission for degrees.
  • Depending on your chosen career, a diploma can have just as much value as any other type of qualification. If you are specialising in a field, what matters is that you have qualifications that provide value to prospective employers. For those interested in the world of finance, Islamic Banking and other specialised fields, a diploma will be an excellent way to enter your career of choice.

Ultimately, only you can decide which is best for your own personal goals. But when you compare them, you will soon see that difference between degrees and diplomas. To learn more about choosing a distance learning qualification at our Cape Town campus, contact REGENT today on +27 (21) 671-7005 or capetown@regent.ac.za.