Difference between masters and postgraduate


If you have studied a university career, you probably know that you can continue studying to specialize. However, now that you have graduated from undergraduate school, you are encountering terms that you do not know. You read about “masters” and “graduate”. And you don’t know which of these options corresponds to your continuing education. If you have this doubt, continue reading this post.

Don’t worry about it. Like you, many students have this question. But to begin with, as the name suggests, graduate school refers to all those studies that are taken after the completion of your undergraduate degree. In other words, any specialization you do after finishing your degree is a graduate study. Therefore, a master’s degree is also a postgraduate degree.



As we already mentioned, a postgraduate degree is any higher study undertaken after obtaining a degree such as that of an engineer. We have also mentioned that a master’s degree is a postgraduate degree. But the master’s degree is not the only postgraduate study that exists (although it is the most common). There are also specialized courses and doctorates.

Despite this, the term “postgraduate” is also used to refer to a specific type of specialization. This specialization is a graduate degree. Below we explain the differences between the postgraduate diploma and the master’s degree.


Master’s degree

Masters are the type of postgraduate course with the greatest academic weight. As with the other types of postgraduate studies, you must have obtained an undergraduate degree to register for a master’s degree. Knowledge of the master’s degree complements your studies. But, in addition, it usually involves new and multiple disciplines. Having a master’s degree places you at a higher academic level than those who only have an undergraduate degree or a diploma.

clases de master

Differences between master’s and postgraduate degrees

Academic hours

To obtain a master’s degree you must complete a greater number of academic hours. Although the number of hours may vary, the academic hours for a graduate degree are slightly more than 360 hours. While the academic hours for a master’s degree are more than 500 hours.

Approved Credits

As is the case with academic hours, the master’s degree requires a greater number of approved credits than the diploma. The graduate degree usually requires at least 30 credits, but less than 60. The master’s degree requires at least 60 credits, but may require as many as 120.


The main requirement for enrolling in a master’s degree is an undergraduate degree. This should also be the case for the postgraduate diploma. However, many diploma courses will allow you to participate without having your undergraduate degree. However, if you decide to enter a diploma course without a degree, you will only receive a certificate of participation at the end of the course.


PhD option

If you have studied an official master’s degree, at the end of it you will have the opportunity to continue your studies in a doctorate. The doctorate is the highest academic degree. On the other hand, a postgraduate diploma will not serve as a requirement for a doctorate.


A postgraduate diploma is a very specific specialization. On the other hand, as we have already mentioned, the area of knowledge of a master’s degree is more extensive. In fact, many master’s degree courses cover multiple disciplines. The master’s degree is also oriented towards the development of research work in different areas. This is because the next level of education is the doctorate.


Title to be obtained

If you graduate from a master’s degree, you will get a degree that is higher than your undergraduate degree. Graduates of a master’s degree are masters. If you have only a graduate degree, you will get a diploma degree. This degree is a “university expert” diploma, in an specific area of knowledge.

As we mentioned, it is possible to enroll in diploma courses without having an undergraduate degree. If this is your case, at the end of the postgraduate diploma, you will only receive a certificate of participation or achievement.


We will always recommend you to do a master’s degree after finishing your undergraduate studies. However, we remind you that any additional knowledge is welcome. A graduate degree will not only help you grow on a personal level, but will also give you a competitive advantage when looking for a job.

Tell us if you have a college degree and any graduate studies. What is your major?

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