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What is a Graduate Certificate?

A postgraduate qualification is a great way to take your career to the next level. It can help you to change your career path, or advance your standing on the current one. There are a few postgraduate qualifications to choose from, and a Graduate Certificate is one of them.

Why should I choose to study a Graduate Certificate over another postgraduate qualification?

There are many reasons that a graduate certificate, sometimes also referred to as a postgraduate certificate, could be a better choice for you than other postgraduate courses – such as a graduate diploma or a masters degree.

One of the main attractions of a graduate certificate is the time in which it can be completed. You can normally finish a graduate certificate in around 6 months (2 semesters), if you study it full-time. This is a quick turnaround when compared to a graduate diploma and a masters degree, which can take 12 months and 2 years respectively to complete full-time.

Graduate Certificate vs. Masters Degree

A Graduate Certificate is a type of postgraduate course that is one level above a bachelor’s degree, and normally requires the student to have significant work experience in the area they want to study in. Once you have completed your certificate you will have gained an advanced knowledge of your subject area that has relevant and practical applications.

Award TypeDuration (full-time study)Study LevelCost
Masters Degree12-24 monthsPostgraduatePrice varies from country to country and institution to institution – please see the country directories for more specific information.
Graduate Diploma6-9 monthsPre-MastersTypically around half of the price of a masters degree.
Graduate Certificate6-9 monthsPre-MastersTypically between half and two thirds of the price of a masters degree.

Why should I study for a Graduate Certificate?

A graduate certificate can be a great stepping stone in your career, and can help to boost your skills and knowledge in a short period of time. There are several reasons that you may choose to study for a graduate certificate:

You want to move into a leadership role

Graduate certificates can be an excellent way to increase your leadership skills within your specific industry, and can be tailored to a niche subject area. This means that you are gaining some really valuable knowledge that is directly applicable to your career. Upskilling yourself is always a good thing to do, as you can move into more specialised roles, and potentially earn more money at the same time.

You want to change career

If you are looking to change your jobs, or are interested in moving industries altogether, a graduate certificate is a great way to bolster your current skills, whilst adding new ones that are relevant to your new career path. It will also show potential new employers that you are serious about taking the next step, and will be a great addition to your CV or resume.

In a country such as Australia, graduate certificates are awarded in a wide variety of subject areas, including business, social sciences, education, computing and IT, among others. In countries such as the UK, the USA and Canada, graduate certificates tend to be offered in subject areas that are seen as more vocational, and will have direct applications to the workplace.

You want to study for a masters degree

Graduate certificates can often be a good way to gain direct entry into a masters degree. Whether you don’t meet the entry requirements for a masters degree, or simply want to strengthen your academic credentials prior to applying, a graduate certificate could be a great choice for you.

Can you study online for a Graduate Certificate?

Earning a graduate certificate online has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Many universities and colleges now offer online courses and graduate certificates in a wide range of subject areas.

Studying for a graduate certificate online can be a great option if you are looking for an easier way to fit your studies around your career. Studying online can often be cheaper than on-campus, as you are paying for the course content, but not having to travel, fund accommodation and living expenses, as well as potentially taking time away from work.

Due to the rise in popularity of studying online, the standards of courses delivered in this way have increased and are mostly excellent, meaning that you get the benefit of not having to relocate, without sacrificing any of the quality of an on-campus course.

How much does a Graduate Certificate cost?

The cost of a graduate certificate will depend on the specific course you are choosing to study. It will also be affected by whether you are studying as an international student or not. If you are studying as an international student, you will normally pay higher tuition fees than a domestic student.

You may be able to access scholarships in order to help with the costs of your studies, these can be awarded by your university, government, workplace, or a separate funding body.

What are the entry requirements for a Graduate Certificate?

As a graduate certificate sits at one level above a bachelor’s degree, the entry requirement normally includes an undergraduate degree, sometimes with an exception for significant and relevant work experience. The exact requirements will differ on each course, so check with the university or provider if you require more information or assistance.

You may also be required to have a certain level of language proficiency, which can normally be proven through various English language tests, such as TOEFL, IELTS or any other test relevant to the language in question. Your university will be able to provide more information on this.

Online Graduate Certificates
Graduate Certificates in Australia
Graduate Certificates in the UK
Graduate Certificates in North America
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