What Is A Postgraduate Diploma & Do You Need One

Congratulations! It took a long time and a lot of hard work but you finally have your undergraduate qualification in hand. Now’s the time to think about your next step. A good option may be to continue your academic studies and enroll for a postgraduate diploma.

What Is A Postgraduate Diploma?

A postgraduate diploma, also known as an advanced diploma, is a qualification that sits between an undergraduate degree and a master's degree. It provides a more focused and specialised study in a particular field. Think of it as an in-depth exploration of a subject you're passionate about.

While a postgraduate diploma offers specialised knowledge, it’s different from a postgraduate degree or master's degree. These are more research-oriented, involving a more extensive study of a subject. A postgraduate diploma on the other hand, is designed to enhance practical skills and is often considered a practical bridge to the professional world.

You might wonder if a postgraduate diploma obtained in South Africa is recognised elsewhere. Good news! South African postgraduate diplomas are generally recognised internationally, but it's crucial to verify specific requirements in the country you're interested in working in.

Types of Postgraduate Diplomas

Postgraduate diplomas cover a wide range of fields and specialisations and this flexibility allows you to tailor your postgraduate studies to align with your career goals and interests.

The IIE’s Varsity College, for instance, offers diverse options, including commerce; finance and accounting; education; and information and communication technology. These include:

  • The Faculty of Commerce offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Management. This IIE qualification seeks to ensure that students acquire a deep understanding of management as a discipline and how this can be applied within an organisation.
  • The Faculty of Finance and Accounting offers the IIE Postgraduate Diploma In Accounting. It would suit students who wish to qualify as chartered accountants as it is designed to meet the academic requirements of the Competency Framework of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).
  • The IIE’s Faculty of Education offers the IIE Postgraduate Diploma in Higher Education, a programme aimed at subject matter experts who require deeper insight into education theory or its application.
  • The Postgraduate Diploma in Data Analytics, offered by The IIE’s Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, provides graduates with the necessary theoretical and technical skills in data analytics to inform business decisions or to move into an appropriate master’s degree.

Duration and Requirements

The duration of a postgraduate diploma varies, but it typically takes one year of full-time study to complete. Part-time options are available, which may extend the period of your study but, on the other hand, allows you to balance study with work.

The course load and assessment methods can vary based on the field of study. Some programmes might include practical projects, internships, or case studies.

Admission requirements for postgraduate diplomas may include having a relevant bachelor's or undergraduate degree or having equivalent work experience. Be sure to check the specific entry criteria for your chosen programme.

The Value Of A Postgraduate Diploma

  • Improves skills. A postgraduate diploma is an excellent way to deepen your understanding of a subject and get yourself some practical skills. It can provide hands-on experience and allow you to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations.
  • Provides a better chance of employment and advancement. Having a postgraduate diploma gives you practical skills that employers really value. It makes you more marketable in your chosen field. It can also help you get higher-level jobs and improve your chances of moving forward in your career.
  • Creates networking opportunities. During your studies, you'll have the chance to connect with industry professionals, fellow students, and staff. Networking is a valuable aspect of postgraduate education, offering insights, mentorship opportunities and potential job offers.

Comparing Diplomas And Degrees

  • Impact on Career. Both postgraduate diplomas and degrees can positively impact your career, but they serve different purposes. A postgraduate diploma is focused on practical skills and immediate applicability, while a master's degree involves more research and theoretical exploration. Consider your career goals and preferred learning style when making a choice.
  • Time invested. Postgraduate diplomas generally require less time to complete compared to master's degrees. However, the value of each qualification depends on your career goals and industry expectations.

Career Opportunities And Outcomes

Those with postgraduate diplomas often find that they are well equipped for specialised roles in their particular field. The practical nature of the diploma prepares you for the challenges of the workplace, making you a valuable asset to potential employers. Added to this, employers are aware of the hands-on approach of postgraduate diploma programmes. They know that the skills you have acquired are directly applicable to the job, which makes you a more attractive candidate in a competitive job market. While individual outcomes vary, holding a postgraduate diploma is likely to impact positively on your earning potential. Many employers offer higher salaries to those with advanced qualifications because of the specialised skills they bring with them.

How To Choose The Right Postgraduate Diploma

  • Take into account the reputation of the institution offering the postgraduate diploma. A well-established and reputable institution enhances the value of your qualification in the eyes of employers.
  • Review the course content to make sure it fits with your career goals. Look for programmes that offer a good balance of theory and practical application.
  • The expertise of the lecturers is important. The more experienced and knowledgeable your lecturers, the better the quality of your education will be and the greater your insights into your chosen field.

Most good academic institutions offer several types of qualifications, presenting a variety of pathways for students. Enquire here for more details on postgraduate diplomas and guidance on what’s right for you and your career goals.

About The IIE’s Varsity College

The Independent Institute of Education (The IIE) of which Varsity College is a brand, is South Africa’s largest registered and accredited private provider of higher education. At Varsity College we understand that no two students are the same or learn the same. That’s why we make sure a student’s education is shaped around them; how they like to learn, what they are passionate about, what makes them tick, and what makes them thrive. Our Education by Design approach allows students to grow into their best, and creates a space where they can live, learn and play – their way.