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Degree or Diploma in Canada : Which is Better?

Updated on 01 April, 2024

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

Most students these days dream of pursuing their higher studies in a foreign country. Apart from providing the educational opportunity, there is an added benefit of finding work there and building your career in the best way possible. As you plan your higher studies, the confusion of choosing between a degree or a diploma in Canada is quite natural. Many students and their parents might assume that a degree is much superior to a diploma; however, in the modern world that might not always be true. The one that you should choose over the other may depend on several factors including their industry value and the course fees that are associated with them. Well, before we delve into which one you should opt for, let us first understand the difference between a degree and a diploma in this article.

Read More: What is the Student Direct Stream in Canada?


A diploma in Canada, mostly a Postgraduate Diploma, is a 1–2-year program. Diplomas also offer opportunities to the candidates to combine two one-year courses and choose a specialization in their field of interest. If you want to pursue a PG Diploma program in Canada, you must obtain certain grades, which may vary from one college to the other. You must work on industry projects, which are going to be a part of the course. The fees charged with the diploma courses are lesser than degrees in Canada. Once you complete the diploma from a Canadian college or university, you can make around $30,000 to 60,000 CAD in a year, depending on the industry.



Degree courses in Canada come with a tenure of 3-4 years, depending upon the province and whether the program is general or has a specialization. There are three types of degrees: Bachelor’s degree, Master’s Degree, and Doctoral. If you want to pursue a Bachelors, you need to complete a secondary school program. It is the requirement for admission to an undergraduate degree. A Masters Degree program takes around 2 years, and you need to complete your Bachelors Degree for it. In some of the circumstances, students were even allowed to complete their honors baccalaureate program and enrol in a doctoral program. You need to know that degree courses cost more than diploma programs.

Read More: Canada Post Graduation Work Permit Eligibility

Register for Study in Canada FREE Course

The Canada hosts the largest number of international students from across the world. Over the past few years, it has become one of the most popular destinations for studying abroad. Reasons such as best-ranked institutions, excellent support facilities, flexible academic environment, and cultural diversity contribute to making it the most preferred destination amongst students planning to study abroad.

Which One is Better? A Diploma or Degree from Canada?

Canada is one of the world’s leaders in educational opportunities and a country with a bustling economy. It also has one of the most diverse and accepting cultures where one can easily settle down in the future. As you decide to study abroad, confusion often arises about whether to pursue a degree program or a diploma program. And to pursue your education in Canada, the confusion even becomes bigger since you may not be familiar with the country’s economic environment and education system. For both diploma and degree programs, there are many options in Canada. Further opportunities that you will get after completing the program, depend much on the kind of program that you choose. 

Let’s discuss and try to find out which option can be a better choice.

1. Duration

If you are opting for a PG diploma in Canada, the duration will of course be lesser than a Masters degree program. PG diplomas are mostly 1-year programs or can be 2 years as well. Masters degree program is around 2 years, and may even extend to 3 years for some specific courses.

2. Cost

The fees charged for PG diploma courses are lesser than Masters degree programs.  For example, if you have to pay approximately $20,000 CAD per year for a PG diploma program, you will be required to pay approximately $30,000 CAD per year for a Masters degree program.

3. Career prospects

In most of the cases, a candidate with a degree is given more preference as compared to a candidate who has completed a diploma program. Also, the structure of a degree program covers a wider range when it comes to career opportunities, while for a PG diploma program, the career opportunities are more specific to the field.

4. Post-study work visa

Doing a one-year PG diploma course enables you to get one year of work visa while pursuing two years of Masters degree enables you to get three years of work visa. A longer work visa can translate into getting more time to search for the right job and getting more time to establish yourself professionally.

5. Offered by

PG diploma programs are offered by community colleges and some universities, while Masters degree programs are offered by universities. Masters degree program also includes a combination of course work as well as research.

Although doing a PG diploma or Masters degree from Canada is totally your choice; however, a degree will fetch you better opportunities. You also get the scope of pursuing a doctoral once you do a Masters degree. Last but not the least, it also adds more years to your post-study work visa.

Important Resources About Canada:

Why Study in Canada?Cost of living in CanadaAverage Salary in Canada
Part time jobs in CanadaCost of Studying in CanadaHow to Settle in Canada from India?
Requirements for Studying in CanadaStudent life in CanadaStudent Accommodation in Canada
SOP for CanadaBest City in Canada for International Students

Get a Degree from Canada at a Lesser Cost

Educational prospects in Canada are a great way to take the first step towards eventual immigration to Canada as well as applying for jobs there. If you want to pursue a degree from Canada, while you want it at a lesser cost, you can consider upGrad Abroad. You will not only be able to get your degree but also do not have to spend much. However, before we discuss the degree that you can get, let us first know what upGrad is.

What is upGrad?

upGrad is one of the premier providers of online higher education specializing in courses that are very much in demand in the respective industries. It also provides technological solutions to some of the most premier educational institutions in the world so that they can seamlessly manage their curriculum online. upGrad also has a service that especially deals with the educational opportunities present in countries such as Germany, Canada, Australia, and the USA from where the students in India can pursue their education. The courses are priced in a way that the students can save a lot of money by completing a part of the course from India and then moving abroad to the campus from where they can finish the rest of their course. One of the key benefits that it gets the students is that many of the upGrad Abroad courses also offer 1 to 3 years of a work visa after the completion of their course which the students can use to start their career from abroad and reap the many benefits of having international exposure.

Read More: What is the importance of Educational Credential Assessment in Canada?

BBA from Canada

upGrad offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). It is a 4-year course in which for the first two years, the candidates will study online with Chandigarh University. The rest of the two years will be done by them on campus at Yorkville University, Canada. The tuition fees for the 1st year of the course are INR 2,52,000 (inclusive of taxes), and for the 2nd year, the candidates have to pay INR 1,52,000 (inclusive of taxes). The tuition fees for the 3rd and 4th years are $15,000 CAD per annum. As the living cost in Canada, the candidates would require approximately $12,000 CAD.

The eligibility criteria for enrolling in the BBA program with Chandigarh University include class 12 pass out in 2020 or 2021, and the candidates need to score 50% marks equivalent in board exams. The eligibility criteria for the program from campus in Yorkville University include successfully completing the 2nd Year of Bachelor of Business Administration from Chandigarh University with an aggregate of 50% marks.

The other benefits that you get include:

1. You are eligible for a transfer to on-campus programs in a leading Canadian University

2. There is in-built TOFEL/IELTS/PTE training along with study abroad modules so that Canada’s study requirements can be met.

3. You can save around INR 25L+ as compared to a 4-year on-campus degree in a Canadian university.

4. You can attend regular live classes along with small group coaching sessions

5. End-to-end support from upGrad Abroad for application, counseling, and visa application.

6. You can clear your doubts in the weekly doubt clearing sessions which are available all days between 9 AM – 9 PM IST

7. You can get Post Study Work Visa opportunities for up to 3 years which are accessed by graduates of standard Canadian degrees.

We hope that this information can help you make up your mind about whether pursuing a degree or a diploma in Canada will be a good idea for you. Once you have made this decision you can check upGrad Abroad website to plan the rest of your process and easily manage your admission into a Canadian university at a fraction of the total cost if you decide to pursue the entire course there. You also get the specialized guidance at every step of the way about the right decisions to take and that can be an invaluable help if you are planning your degree or diploma course from Canada.

More Resources to Read About Canada:

MBA in Canada Fees for Indian StudentsData Scientist Salary in CanadaStudy in Canada after 12th
BBA in Canada after 12thEligibility for MBA in CanadaSalary after MBA in Canada
Average Salary after MS in CanadaJobs after MS in CanadaAverage Salary in Canada after MS in Computer Science

Explore Universities, Colleges, and Vocational Schools

Students pursuing post-secondary education to acquire academic degrees in various subjects must take admission in Universities, Colleges or Vocational schools depending on their choice of course. 


Universities are authorised to grant degrees. All the universities offer Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees and PhD courses.


Colleges are also post-secondary educational institutions, but they cannot grant degrees. They offer various pre-graduation courses to prepare them for their shift to universities. Their courses are more career-oriented and help to improve their skills and employability. They also offer short-term courses that can help them build their careers. The colleges provide Certificate, Diploma and Advanced level Diploma courses. They also provide some post-graduate diploma courses. 

Vocational Schools

Vocational Schools have programs both at the secondary and post-secondary levels. These courses teach the students the technical skills required to do specific jobs. They usually do not require any Bachelor’s degree, and the students can directly join the workforce after completing the program in skilled or low-skilled occupations.

Types of Degrees and Diplomas

The Universities in Canada grants three types of degrees:

Bachelor’s degree at the undergraduate level

The students should have completed the secondary level or 12th-grade examination successfully to be eligible to do a Bachelor’s degree course. It usually takes three to four years to complete the program, depending on the province and whether the course is general or specialised. Honours in a subject indicate a higher level of academic achievement and may require an additional year of study.

Master’s degree at the post-graduate level

The eligibility to pursue a Master’s degree is a Bachelor’s degree. Its duration usually is of two years.

Doctoral degree

Generally, a Master’s Degree is required by a candidate who wishes to pursue a doctoral program. But, in some exceptional cases, students may be allowed to join a doctoral program directly after an honours baccalaureate program. It takes from four years to seven years to complete the course. Usually, a PhD degree is awarded to successful candidates, but in Canada, Doctoral degrees like D. Mus. for Music or LLD for the law may be awarded in specific fields of study. 

Associate Degree

This vocational degree program trains students on both theory and practical. Its duration is of two years. 

Types of Diplomas Offered in Canada

UG Diploma

An undergraduate Diploma can be done after the completion of secondary school. The top five undergraduate courses are:

  • Engineering
  • Information technology
  • Business management
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Hospitality Management

PG Diploma

Postgraduate Diploma can be done after completion of the Bachelor’s degree. Two types of diplomas are awarded based on the duration of studies. 

  • One-year Graduate Diploma usually is of 2-3 semesters. They help to enhance your skills and employability chances.
  • Two-year Graduate Diploma is for 4-6 semesters. This course gives you an added advantage of a 3-year work stay back option.
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Explain Advantages and Disadvantages of Both Diploma and Degree


Advantages of Degree are:

  • Employer’s preference
  • Better potential to earn high salaries
  • Eligible to apply for jobs beyond entry-level
  • Better job benefits
  • Becomes an expert in the field of study

Disadvantages of Degree are:

  • Longer duration of studies
  • Expensive


Advantages of Diploma

  • One can complete it in relatively less time
  • Less expensive than degree courses
  • Flexible class times as most students are working professionals
  • Learns specific skills required for the job market
  • Offers internships or externships that give you more practical knowledge.

Disadvantages of Diploma

  • Less potential to earn high salaries like a degree 
  • No in-depth knowledge in the field of study. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better- a degree or diploma in Canada?

Depending on your own educational choices, you can always do a diploma in Canada or a degree. However, you should remember that a degree will lead to better professional and career opportunities. You can also pursue a doctoral program once you complete your Master’s course. It will also add years to your post-study work visa, another significant benefit.






Can I do a degree after a diploma in Canada?

If you have completed your three-year diploma after Grade 12, you can certainly apply for your Bachelor’s degree at any Canadian college or university. Some institutions may transfer diploma credits, depending upon varying criteria. Yet, transfer credit is worked out on a case to case basis after your admission.






Is a diploma or degree better in Canada?

You can take your pick from either a degree course or diploma in Canada. In most cases, people choose diplomas for trade-oriented courses or vocational programs. However, diplomas offer intermediary options with credits for those who usually have the goal of enrolling on a bachelor’s program. Hence, a degree will add more years to your work visa and provide you with better education and professional opportunities.






How much a diploma holder can earn in Canada?

Holders of diplomas in various fields may earn anywhere between CAD 40,000 and CAD 70,000 or roughly INR 23.54 lakh to INR 41.20 lakh per annum. This covers multiple job roles, including legal assistant, web developer, administrative assistant and project manager.






Is the Indian diploma valid in Canada?

The 10+2+3 system will be acceptable at some universities for PG diploma courses. At the same time, many institutions may insist on 10+2+4 as their chosen framework for admissions into PG diploma courses. Hence, check out the admission requirements carefully before applying. Indian diplomas will not have any value for employers in Canada.






What is a two-year diploma in Canada?

In most cases, a two-year diploma in Canada is known as a post-graduate diploma. This is also called the Graduate Diploma and is primarily a one to two-year course that offers students the opportunity to combine one or two-year courses and obtain a specialisation in their chosen field.






Is it worth getting a diploma in Canada?

Of course, if you find the right diploma course, you can certainly pursue the same in Canada. They make up for trade-based or vocational occupations and maybe enough to get employment in some cases. However, those with backgrounds requiring richer and more extensive education may be better off with degrees instead. Diplomas, in many cases, help in finding employment, getting resident permits and suiting the needs of those with a more job-oriented and practical outlook. After completing Class XII or your Bachelor’s course, you can go for a diploma.






Is a diploma/degree in Canada meant to be done after a bachelor’s degree or before?

It all depends on your specific requirements. You can complete a diploma after your Plus Two before you enrol into a bachelor’s program if you feel that it will add value to your academic and professional prospects. You can also complete your diploma after your Bachelor’s degree, i.e. the graduate diploma.






After a degree, can I do a diploma in Canada?

Yes, you can take up a diploma in Canada after completing your Bachelor’s program. This is known as the Graduate diploma at many institutions. It is akin to gaining specialisation in many fields as well.






Which is better, an MS or a PG diploma from Canada?

Choosing an MS or a PG Diploma depends on your needs and perspective. If you are looking at the value and overall stature of the degree, then honestly, the MS course is a better choice. It is academically more reputed while allowing you to get into different educational programs like PhDs. It may also help you immensely while applying for jobs. PG diploma courses are more about practical and job-oriented specialisations, which may help with employment opportunities in specific fields.










Did you find this article helpful?

upGrad Abroad Team

upGrad abroad Editorial Team

We are a dedicated team of study-abroad experts, ensuring intensive research and comprehensive information in each of our blogs. With every piece written, we aim at simplifying the overseas education process for all. Our diverse experience as journalists, content writers, editors, content strategists, and marketers helps create the most relevant and authentic blogs for our readers.

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