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What is a PGDip?

Want to head back to the classroom after completing your undergraduate degree, but not sure what type of postgraduate degree is right for you?

You might want to consider a Postgraduate Diploma (also known as a PGDip)? If you are unsure what a PGDip is and what it involves, here's our complete guide to help you... 

What is a PGDip?

PGDips are typically vocational courses designed to further your skills in a certain area, or train you for a specific career path.

The qualification will normally take around 9 months to complete, and will consist of modules tested by coursework, essays or exams.

Unlike your undergrad degree, the marking of a PGDip will be more in-line with that of a Master’s degree – instead of achieving a First or a 2:1, you will likely receive either a Pass, Merit or Distinction.

Here are just some of the types of PGDip subject areas available:

- Architecture
- Biology, Chemistry and Physics
- Economics, Business and Management
- Education, teaching and training
- Geography and Earth Sciences
- Humanities and Social sciences
- Social work and councelling services

You can see a full list of all PGDip courses available in the UK here.

What’s the difference between a PGDip and a Master’s?

Although a PGDip is similar to a Master’s degree in many ways (and many PGDips can be extended into a full Master’s qualification), there are differences between the two. These are:

- A Master’s degree will normally take longer to complete (typically a year)

- Unlike a Master’s degree, it’s unlikely your PGDip will culminate in a research project or dissertation

- Because of the additional time spent on a Master’s qualification, it will usually cost more in tuition fees than a PGDip

PGDip vs Master’s – Which should you study?

If the subject you wish to study offers both a PGDip and a Master’s option, you’ll probably be wondering which choice is best. To make your decision, you’ll want to consider two factors:

1. How much money you can afford to spend on your postgrad

2. What you’re hoping to do after you’ve completed your qualification.

The thing is, while the PGDip will likely be cheaper than the Master’s, it doesn’t have anywhere near as much currency overseas – this means if you’re hoping to work abroad after you graduate, you’ll probably want to go with the Master’s option (the same goes for if you’re hoping to go on and study a PhD).

However, if you’re pushed for money or you’re planning to go straight into a job in the UK, it’s unlikely that your employer will mind which qualification you have (as both will show you’ve been trained at postgraduate level in your given subject).

This means you might want to opt for a PGDip, as not only will you save money on tuition fees, but you’ll also be able to start your job hunt that bit sooner!


- Start searching for PGDip courses on Postgraduate Search


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