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Graduate diploma

A graduate diploma (GradD, GDip) is generally a postgraduate qualification, although some graduate diplomas involve the study of undergraduate level courses (see postgraduate diploma). The diploma is normally taken following a bachelor's degree and a successful award allows progression to a master's degree without having received honours with the bachelor's degree.

More recently, postgraduate diplomas have become more popular as they allow graduate-level specialization studies to be completed in half the time of a masters, while still being transferable into a master's degree in the same topic. All of this at half the price of a master's degree—usually between $10,000 and $15,000 for the graduate diploma, as opposed to $20,000 or more for a master's degree. In addition, these diplomas allow one to try specializations such as accounting, without committing the time and money to a full master's degree in the same specialization. Alternatively, it is possible to complete a graduate diploma, start working in the field, and have the company pay for additional courses to attain a master's degree in the same topic later-on (on a part-time basis for instance), thereby saving money and time.


  • Canada 1
  • Australia 2
  • New Zealand 3
  • England and Wales 4
  • Ireland 5
  • Singapore 6
  • Denmark 7
  • References 8


(Post-)graduate diplomas offered in Canada, (French: Diplôme d'études supérieures spécialisées) typically consist of 30 credits (90 ECTS-credits).[1] The diploma is taken following a bachelor's degree and a successful award allows progression to a master's degree and the ability to transfer credits into it. It is important to make the distinction between a post-graduate diploma, which usually consist of 30 credits and can be completed over 3 semesters of full-time studies, and an undergraduate diploma, which is similar in credit-requirements to an associate degree.

Some schools in Canada that have graduate level studies leading to a graduate diploma are:

  • UBC: DAP Graduate Diploma in Accounting, SME Graduate Diploma in Sales and Marketing, MCD Diploma in Endodontics, Diploma in Periodontics
  • SFU Segal Graduate School of Business: Graduate Diploma in Business Administration, Graduate diploma in quantitative methods in fisheries management, Graduate diploma in education, Graduate diploma in global health, Graduate diploma in urban studies.
  • Concordia University : Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (John Molson School of Business), Graduate Diploma in Translation (French studies department), Graduate Diploma in Computer Science.
  • Schulich School of Business (York University): Graduate Diplomas are offered concurrently with MBA programs including Arts & Media Administration, Nonprofit Management, Real Estate & Public Infrastructure Management, and Health Care Management.
  • McGill University: Graduate Diplomas/DESS are offered in the Department of Career and Professional Development under School of Continuing Studies in topics such as Accounting (CA, CGA, CMA), Marketing, International Business, Human Resources.
  • HEC Montréal: Graduate Diplomas/DESS are offered topics such as Accounting (CA, CGA, CMA), Marketing, International Business, Human Resources.
  • UQAM: Graduate Diplomas/DESS are offered topics such as Project Management


Postgraduate diplomas offered in Australia are typical of those offered in England, Wales, and Ireland. The diploma is normally taken following a bachelor's degree and a successful award allows progression to a master's degree without having received Honours with the bachelor's degree.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, a graduate diploma is normally completed after a bachelor's degree or done at the same time of the Bachelors study, and may be used to prove the student's ability to undertake postgraduate studies. A graduate diploma (e.g., Graduate Diploma in Education etc.) is different from a postgraduate diploma, which is a course of study at postgraduate level (e.g., Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology etc.).

England and Wales

On a similar note, postgraduate students can study various Graduate Diploma in England and Wales. For example, the law conversion course.

However, such courses may be referred to as either a Graduate Diploma or a Postgraduate Diploma. Different institutions offering exactly the same course appear inconsistent in which name they use. Perhaps an indication is given by the following example. In 2003, The College of Law renamed the official title for its law conversion course from Postgraduate Diploma in Law, to Graduate Diploma in Law. The reasons given were that although the law conversion course is studied postgraduately, the contents of the course are only undergraduate in nature, albeit condensed in time.

The Graduateship (GCGI) Diploma is awarded by the City and Guilds of London Institute.

For information on 2008 GDL pass rates and the number of students awarded distinctions and commendations by the various providers see QED LAW


The Graduate Diploma or Higher Diploma in the Republic of Ireland is a postgraduate award taken after a Bachelor's degree, usually of one years study, sometimes two years, full-time study. A wide variety of courses are offered, it is also possible to progress to a Master's degree.

The diploma is generally in two forms:

  • A reorientation type qualification to reskill a graduate with new specialised skills, for instance the HDipStats - Higher Diploma in Statistics is aimed at offering additional skills in statistics. See also Higher Diploma.
  • A professional type qualification which is necessary to enter a profession, for instance the HDipEd - Higher Diploma in Education allows a person to register and practice teaching. See also Postgraduate Diploma.

The Graduate Diploma (GradDip) is offered by the Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin City University, HETAC and the University of Limerick. The Higher Diploma (HDip) is offered by HETAC, NUI institutions, and Trinity College, Dublin.


The Graduate Diploma is a postgraduate academic qualification taken after a Bachelor's degree. It is usually awarded by a University or a Graduate school. It usually takes 2 terms of study to complete and has a wide variety of courses on offer. It is also possible for graduate diploma holders to progress to a Master's degree on an accelerated pathway compared to first embarking on a 3 or 4-year degree program. To ensure that the Graduate Diploma qualification is recognised, they must be registered with the Ministry of Education (Singapore).

The Graduate diploma is generally a professional conversion qualification to reskill a graduate with new specialised skills, for instance the GDipPsy - Graduate Diploma in Psychology is aimed at offering specialised skills in Psychology. See also Postgraduate Diploma. Occasionally, matured candidates without a bachelor's degree may be accepted into the Graduate Diploma programs based on his/her work experience, these applications are subjected to the respective academic committee review.

Graduate Diploma (GradDip) are awarded by several institutions in Singapore including the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, SIM University, Marketing Institute of Singapore, University of Adelaide, Singapore campus, Singapore Raffles Music College and Aventis School of Management.


Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (in Danish: HD) is a four-year part-time education. The complete program amounts to 120 ECTS and consists of two parts - Graduate Certificate program (HD 1) and Graduate Diploma program (HD 2) - each nominated to two-years part-time or two full-time years if combined.

The Graduate Diploma program aims at knowledge-based professionals. It combines theory and methods with the practical experience of students, using real-life cases and a critical approach to methods applied to decision-making.

The Graduate Certificate program (HD 1) consists of a number of basic business and economics-related courses and is completed by a project applying different methods taught. The program is in total 60 ECTS and with two years of relevant full-time work experience it qualifies for admission to the Graduate Diploma program.

The Graduate Diploma program (HD 2) accordingly consists of 60 ECTS; however this program is tailored to highly specialised areas in business administration, solving complex problems in the learning process. There is a number of different programs aiming for specialist functions within the private and public sector.


  1. ^ "European Commission – European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)". Retrieved 2012-10-21. 
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