Are you asking yourself “what’s the difference between a certificate and diploma?”. You’ve came to the right place as we give you a breakdown of the Australian Qualification system which is regulated by The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
Duration of Qualifications
|Certificates I–V||Six months to two years (full-time)||Schools, TAFE institutes, RTOs, private higher education providers and universities|
|Diploma||One to two years (full-time)||TAFE institutes, RTOs, private higher education providers and universities|
|Advanced diploma||One to two years (full-time)||TAFE institutes, RTOs, private higher education providers and universities|
|Associate degree||Two years (full-time)||Universities, as well as some private higher education providers, TAFE institutes and RTOs|
|Bachelor degree||Three to five years (full-time)||Universities, as well as some private higher education providers, TAFE institutes and RTOs|
|Bachelor degree (honours)||One year (full-time)||Universities and some private higher education providers|
|Graduate certificate and graduate diploma||Six months to two years (full-time)||Universities and some private higher education providers|
|Vocational graduate certificate and vocational graduate diploma||Six months to two years (full-time)||TAFE institutes, RTOs and some universities|
|Masters and doctoral degrees||One to four years (full-time)||Universities and some private higher education providers|
Certificates provide introductory skills and training, delivering industry-specific knowledge and skills in communication, literacy and numeracy, and teamwork.
Diplomas prepare students for industry, enterprise and paraprofessional careers. Some diplomas can be completed at university level.
Advanced diplomas provide a high level of practical skills for advanced skilled or paraprofessional work in areas such as accounting, building design and engineering. Some advanced diploma courses can be completed at university level.
Associate degrees are similar to advanced diplomas but emphasise theoretical knowledge over industry-specific competencies and learning outcomes. They usually articulate into bachelor degrees in the same field, with full credit awarded.
Bachelor degrees are the main award offered at higher education level, preparing students for entry into a range of professions and providing initial preparation for postgraduate study.
Bachelor Degree (Honours)
Bachelor (honours) degrees are usually completed as an additional year of study following a bachelor degree, providing a pathway into research and further study. Students typically complete an independent research project.
Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma
Graduate certificates and diplomas are designed to enhance professional practice and extend skills or knowledge gained at undergraduate level. They may also help students to develop professional competence in new areas.
Vocational Graduate Certificate and Vocational Graduate Diploma
Vocational graduate certificates and diplomas are the equivalent of the higher education graduate certificate and diploma, although they are less common. They provide high-level employment related skills and knowledge in areas such as business, education and technology.
Masters and Doctoral Degrees
Masters degrees are designed to provide in-depth understanding in a specific area of knowledge through coursework, research or a combination of these activities. Doctoral degrees recognise the highest levels of academic achievement and require an original contribution of knowledge to a particular field of study, usually through a substantial thesis.