DEGREE VS DIPLOMA in Canada - What to choose after 12th or Bachelor's?



Updated On 08 February 2023


Read Time 6 minutes

Canada is a nation with a thriving economy and one of the top ones in the world for educational possibilities. Additionally, it boasts one of the most varied and welcoming cultures, making it one of the best places to settle down in the future.


Most students desire to study in Canada. There are additional benefits, such as obtaining employment and advancing your career. The confusion over whether to pursue degree or diploma programs in Canada is understandable. Many students believe a degree is preferable to a diploma. Several considerations, such as their market value and course fees, may determine your choice. For any student who has passed the boards, making the key decision on a diploma vs degree can be unnerving. This blog aims to help students with information about degrees and diplomas so they can make the right choice.


What is a Diploma?

A diploma, commonly called a PG diploma, is a 1-2 year program in Canada. Candidates who wish to study in Canada are offered opportunities to combine two one-year courses through a diploma. It lets them choose specialisations in their field of interest. To pursue a PG Diploma in Canada, you must have good grades. The grade requirements vary from one university and college to another. The industry projects that will be a part of the course must be in your industry projects' work experience. Generally, PG diploma course fees in Canada are typically less than the degree courses in Canada. Diploma course graduates in Canada typically make around $30,000 to 60,000 CAD annually, depending on the industry they work in.

What is a Degree?

Depending on whether the curriculum is general or specialised and the province, degree programmes in Canada last 3 to 4 years. The three different forms of degrees in Canada are bachelor's, master's, and doctoral. You must complete a secondary school education to pursue a bachelor's degree in Canada. It is a prerequisite for enrollment in an undergraduate programme. You must get your bachelor's degree before enrolling in a 2-year master's programme. Students were sometimes even permitted to finish their honours degree programme and enrol in a PhD programme. You should be aware that degree programmes are more expensive than certificate ones.

Types of Degrees in Canada

Degrees in Canada are of three types in a broad structure. These types are:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor’s is the first-degree level a student studies at the university level in Canada. These courses are for 3-4 years, depending on the course. Most bachelor’s degrees in Canada are of four years, although there are some which are of three years too.

  • Master’s Degree: After completing a bachelor’s degree, master’s degrees are pursued in Canada. You can find several specialisations according to your field of study. Master’s degrees in Canada can be either course-based or thesis-based. The length of the degree generally varies depending on the course but is mostly two years. Universities generally offer it.

  • Doctorate or PhD: Upon completing a master’s degree, doctorate degrees or PhD are pursued in Canada. These are the highest levels of education at most universities in Canada. These courses are usually research-based, and you will need to secure a research supervisor at the university of your choice. These are usually 3 to 7 years in general and are offered by universities. 

Types of Diplomas in Canada

Diploma courses in Canada are generally of four types which are:

  • Regular Diploma: A regular diploma is at an undergraduate study level. The length of this diploma type is generally 2 years. Most colleges in Canada offer it. 

  • Advanced Diploma: Advanced diplomas are generally more specialised than a regular diplomas. The length of these diploma courses is of 3 years. They are offered at the undergraduate level of study. Top colleges in Canada offer advanced diploma courses.

  • Graduate Diploma: You can pursue a graduate diploma in Canada right after completing a regular or advanced diploma or even a bachelor’s degree. The graduate diploma courses offer a combination of hands-on experience and intensive training.

  • Certificate: After you complete a brief course, certificates are awarded. The duration of these courses is of less than a year. Universities, colleges, colleges and vocational schools offer certificate courses at undergraduate study levels.

Is a Degree Better or a Diploma

To study in Canada, there are numerous alternatives for both diploma and degree programs. The type of programme you select will significantly impact the additional chances you will have after completing the course. Let us look at various factors to determine which option is better.


1. Cost: The cost of postgraduate diploma programmes is less than that of master's degree programmes. For instance, if a PG diploma programme costs about CAD 20,000 per year, a master's degree programme will be about CAD 30,000 per year.


2. Duration: The length of a PG diploma in Canada will be less than one leading to a master's degree. Most PG diploma programmes last one year, though they might also last two years. A master's degree programme typically lasts two years, though some courses may require three.


3. Career Prospects: A degree graduate is preferred over someone with a diploma. When it comes to career opportunities, degree programs have more to offer. Diploma courses have very career-specific opportunities. Salaries are also higher for degree courses than diploma ones.


4. Cost: Degree courses cost more than diploma courses in Canada.

Top Institute for Diploma and Degree Courses in Canada

Top institutes for Diploma courses in Canada are:

  • Centennial College

  • McMaster University

  • Durham College

  • George Brown College

  • McGill University

  • Humber College

  • Conestoga College

  • Seneca College

  • Fanshawe College

  • Niagara College

  • Lambton College

  • The University of Manitoba

  • Loyalist College


Top institutes for Degree courses in Canada are:

  • The University of Toronto

  • The University of Alberta

  • The University of Waterloo

  • Simon Fraser University

  • York University

  • The University of British Columbia

  • The University of Manitoba

  • The University of Saskatchewan

  • The University of Montreal

  • McGill University

  • McMaster University

Popular Diploma and Degree Courses in Canada

Both diploma and degree courses are famous in Canada amongst international students who wish to study in Canada. Some of Canada's most popular diploma and degree courses are given below.

Diploma and Degree Courses in Canada



Diploma in Agricultural Sciences


Diploma in Horticulture and Biotech

Bachelor of Arts / Master of Arts

Diploma in Photography

Bachelor of Fine Arts / Master of Fine Arts

Diploma in Film Making/Cinematography/Acting

Bachelors or Masters in Journalism and mass communication

Diploma in Sales, Marketing, etc.

Bachelor or Master of Business Administration

Diploma in Literature

BA / MA in English

Diploma in Automotive Engineering

Master of Creative Writing

Diploma in Administration

Engineering (B.Tech/M.Tech)

Diploma in Business Studies

Master of Publishing

Moreover, if you wish to study in Canada, contact our expert counsellors at any branch of Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC). You can also take free online counselling through our website. Our expert counsellors will provide the best guidance and support for the admission and visa process. For more information or any queries, contact or 1800-1230-00011.

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