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Diploma vs. Bachelor: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 21, 2023
A "Diploma" is a certificate earned after a short-term educational course, often vocational. A "Bachelor" is an undergraduate degree from a college or university, typically taking four years.

Key Differences

A "Diploma" typically represents completion of a specific educational or vocational course, often less rigorous and shorter in duration than degree programs. Conversely, a "Bachelor" degree is an extensive undergraduate academic achievement, often requiring a comprehensive study spanning several years.
"Diplomas" are often associated with vocational and technical skills, tailored to impart practical knowledge and hands-on experience in a field. "Bachelor" degrees, however, are structured to provide theoretical knowledge, critical thinking, and a broad understanding of a discipline.
While a "Diploma" can often be pursued with minimal academic prerequisites, gaining entry into a "Bachelor" degree program usually requires a higher level of prior education, such as completion of high school with certain academic standards.
In terms of career advancement, a "Diploma" might facilitate entry-level positions or specific skill-based jobs. In contrast, a "Bachelor" degree is often a prerequisite for professional career paths and is highly regarded in various industries globally.
The financial and time investment for a "Diploma" is significantly less compared to a "Bachelor" degree. Diplomas are cost-effective and take less time to complete, whereas bachelor's degrees require a substantial commitment of time and resources.

Comparison Chart


Short-term (months to 1-2 years)
Long-term (typically 4 years)


Specific skills, often vocational
Broad academic study

Entry Requirements

Usually lower
Higher academic prerequisites


Generally less expensive
More expensive due to length and depth


More for technical or vocational proficiency
Higher academic achievement, global recognition

Diploma and Bachelor Definitions


An official document certifying qualification or competence in a particular field.
His diploma in computer programming helped him secure his first job.


The first degree students can earn in a higher education setting.
After four years of study, she graduated with a bachelor's in fine arts.


A certificate awarded by an educational institution to show completion of a specific course of study.
After two years of hard work, she finally received her culinary arts diploma.


A degree that typically takes four years of full-time study to complete.
He's pursuing his bachelor's in computer science to enter the tech industry.


A document that bears record of completion of a particular academic stage.
She proudly displayed her high school diploma on her office wall.


An academic degree that can precede a master's or doctoral degree.
After completing his bachelor's, he immediately enrolled in a master's program.


A tangible symbol of academic achievement, often granted by trade schools or community colleges.
Earning her diploma was a stepping stone to advancing in her career.


A man who is not married.


A document issued by an educational institution, such as a university, testifying that the recipient has earned a degree or has successfully completed a particular course of study.


A man who has never been married.


A certificate conferring a privilege or honor.


A man who is not married and is not involved in a serious romantic relationship.


An official document or charter.


A person who has completed the undergraduate curriculum of a college or university and holds a bachelor's degree.


A document issued by an educational institution testifying that the recipient has earned a degree or has successfully completed a particular course of study.
Get a diploma
Study for a diploma
Hold a further-education diploma


A male animal that does not mate during the breeding season.


A letter or writing, usually under seal, conferring some privilege, honor, or power; a document bearing record of a degree conferred by a literary society or educational institution.


A young knight in the service of another knight in feudal times.


A document certifying the successful completion of a course of study


A person, especially a man, who is socially regarded as able to marry, but has not yet.


An acknowledgment of proficiency in vocational or technical skills.
With his diploma in hand, he felt ready to tackle any automotive issue.


The first or lowest academical degree conferred by universities and colleges; a bachelor's degree.


Someone who has achieved a bachelor's degree.


(Canada) A bachelor apartment.


(obsolete) An unmarried woman.


(obsolete) A knight who had no standard of his own, but fought under the standard of another in the field.


(obsolete) Among London tradesmen, a junior member not yet admitted to wear the livery.


A kind of bass, an edible freshwater fish (Pomoxis annularis) of the southern United States.


A man of any age who has not been married.
As merry and mellow an old bachelor as ever followed a hound.


An unmarried woman.


A person who has taken the first or lowest degree in the liberal arts, or in some branch of science, at a college or university; as, a bachelor of arts.


A knight who had no standard of his own, but fought under the standard of another in the field; often, a young knight.


In the companies of London tradesmen, one not yet admitted to wear the livery; a junior member.


A kind of bass, an edible fresh-water fish (Pomoxys annularis) of the southern United States.


A man who has never been married


A knight of the lowest order; could display only a pennon


Lead a bachelor's existence


An undergraduate degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study.
He earned his bachelor's degree in biology from the state university.


A comprehensive level of study that covers the fundamentals and specifics of a field.
Her bachelor's degree in mathematics enabled her to pursue a career in academia.


Can a "Diploma" lead to a "Bachelor" degree?

Yes, some schools may allow diploma credits to be transferred towards a bachelor's degree.

What is the duration of a "Bachelor" degree program?

Typically, it takes four years of full-time study to complete a bachelor's degree.

Is a "Diploma" considered a degree?

No, it's a certificate indicating the completion of a course, not an academic degree.

Can you get a job with a "Bachelor" degree?

Yes, a bachelor's degree is often a minimum requirement for many professional careers.

What is the highest level of education between a "Diploma" and a "Bachelor" degree?

A bachelor's degree is considered a higher level of education.

What types of careers require a "Diploma"?

Careers in trades, healthcare support, or technical fields often require a diploma.

Is a "Bachelor" degree necessary for a good job?

Many jobs require it, but there are also skilled professions that require only a diploma or specific certification.

How does the cost of earning a "Diploma" compare to a "Bachelor" degree?

Generally, earning a diploma is significantly less expensive than a bachelor's degree.

Are there online "Bachelor" degree programs?

Yes, many institutions offer online bachelor's degree programs.

Is practical experience included in a "Diploma" course?

Most diploma courses include practical or hands-on training.

Is there a difference in earning potential with a "Bachelor" degree compared to a "Diploma"?

Generally, bachelor's degree holders might have higher earning potential due to qualification requirements in certain jobs.

Do employers prefer a "Bachelor" degree over a "Diploma"?

It depends on the job; some positions require a degree, while others need specific skills often learned during diploma programs.

Can a "Diploma" be equivalent to work experience?

In some trades or technical fields, a diploma may be considered as equivalent to, or a supplement for, work experience.

Can a "Diploma" help in career advancement?

Yes, it can add specific skills to your resume and help in job promotions or transitions.

Are "Diploma" programs only for vocational training?

Primarily, but some are also for academic or other specific training purposes.

Can I get a "Diploma" online?

Yes, many institutions offer diploma courses online.

What's the fastest way to get a "Diploma"?

Enrolling in accelerated or short-term programs can expedite earning a diploma.

What's more challenging: obtaining a "Diploma" or a "Bachelor" degree?

A bachelor's degree generally requires more extensive study, making it more challenging than a diploma program.

Can I pursue a Master's degree after a "Bachelor" degree?

Yes, a bachelor's degree is typically required to pursue a master's degree.

Are "Bachelor" degrees internationally recognized?

Yes, they are usually recognized and respected worldwide.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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