Difference Between Undergraduate and Postgraduate

Difference Between Undergraduate and Postgraduate

Difference Between Undergraduate and Postgraduate – After your secondary or high school education, you begin to wonder what next. Do you go for an Undergraduate or a Postgraduate program at this point? I have compiled several helpful pieces of information to make this piece useful that will provide an answer to this and some other questions you may have around the given topic.


This article will also meet whatever purpose you have come to read about it for.

We will gradually take things to help better understand the topic. So here we go – the definition of undergraduate and postgraduate programs.


What is an Undergraduate Program?

What it is called has said it all. An undergraduate program means a level of education preceding postgraduate, to tell that a person has completed their secondary school education, is yet to be specialized in a field of studies—you earn your first degree or Bachelor’s certificate during this stage.

There are several phases of education in life, more reason to keep the saying “learning never ends, relevant.” The undergraduate program is just the first new level in every student’s life. All students aim to go to University or College after tiring high school education.

Difference Between Undergraduate and Postgraduate


Students traveling out of their immediate environment is one reason most students cannot wait to start their first-degree program.

In a nutshell, it is the first level of education in a higher institution. Which means it is in between the Secondary School and Postgraduate Program.

What is a Postgraduate Program?

Postgraduate is the level of education coming after undergraduate. It puts students on the path of specialization.


While you would not have the room to choose to be based on studying a particular course during your program as an undergraduate, it is a requirement in this phase of education.

Postgraduate education has been designed to take students on a mission to know the breadth and length of the course of their choice. You will learn the core things in that course of yours when you take a step further to attain a Master’s degree.

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We do not just have it as postgraduate; there are also types of this degree, some of which include: PGCert, PGDiploma, MSc, and Ph.D. Do not be surprised that a Ph.D. appears here; if you do, you may have to look at the definition of the kind of degree we are working on again.

Now looking closely at the two terms, let us quickly figure out a few things before fishing out the distinctions between them.

One thing to remember is that, as their name suggests, “Under” in undergraduate should make us understand that even though students would have had to learn a lot before getting a certificate for this, they are still perceived to be below the level of being called graduates.

Meanwhile, ‘ post’ in postgraduate means denotes the education one has after running an undergraduate program. At this point, one will be taken for a graduate because of the specialization.

What do these two Programs have in common?

We should be able to know what the terms in front of us have in common before going to see what they do not share in common. If you agree with this, read this article section carefully before going on to the next.

Given the definition of both, we should be able to figure out that you can only take both programs in a formal environment. In this case, at any given higher institution.


You enjoy Autonomy in both programs. What is meant by this? Compared to the high school or secondary school system of education, postgraduate and undergraduate programs give students running the programs more independence.

There are certain things you cannot do while in secondary school, many of which may not count when taking any of these programs. The reason is that at this point, you are now seen and would be regarded as an adult who should be free to make decisions for yourself.

Expand your Circle

Another thing both have in common is that they help in expanding your circle, especially if you do not mind meeting more people. You would surely make new friends because chances are that you will be leaving your immediate environment to take any of these programs.

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Difference Between Undergraduate and Postgraduate

And eventually, we have come to the topic that, I can guess rightly, brought you here. The bonus I am giving to all readers of this great work is more than a difference – making the heading below the quality of the content. We will now learn about the differences between undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs.

1. The Level of Independence

Remember, I noted that the postgraduate and undergraduate programs’ independence is a common factor. This part of the article will be a bit advanced, and now we are looking at the level of independence.

Meanwhile, you have more independence during your first degree years than in high school; you can be sure that a postgraduate gives you the room to be even more self-reliant and enjoy your own decisions.

If you have mastered the art of managing time, you will make the best out of the time you will have during your program as a graduate.

2. Years of Studies

You take more years to study for the undergraduate program than it is required for the postgraduate.

However, this also depends on the country where the program is run. In the United States, for instance, you may be required to study for about 4 to 5 years to attain a postgraduate degree, while in the United Kingdom and some other countries, it takes anywhere from 2 to 4 years.

Difference Between Undergraduate and Postgraduate

So you want to note that there is an exception because undergraduate programs, on the other hand, can take 3 to as long as seven (7) years to be completed, depending on the course chosen.

3. Reasearches Varies

Since the courses taken as an undergraduate are not being taught to the fullest, you should expect to carry out detailed findings and more research during the postgraduate degree.

4. Certification Value

One has a better certificate than the other, which no one can dispute. But which is the first one? Yeah, Postgraduate offers a certification that any company will value more than the one you will get for the completion of your education as an undergraduate. Nonetheless, that is if the company works with paper, not cognitive or physical qualifications.

With this, one may also want to look at it from another point of view: not all companies/jobs require your certificate or level of education. Sometimes this may depend significantly on the country where the job application is sought.

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I tend to be dwelling on this because it is evident that we all want good payback for our efforts in school.

In a nutshell, a Master’s is higher than any first degree.

5. More thoughts, Less Taught!

You will no longer be spoon-fed, as they say. Once you emerge to take a postgraduate course, you should have in mind that you would be taught less by the lecturers or professors in charge of your subjects, which means you would have to sit back and think more if you want to pass out well at the end.

That you would be taught less is one reason you have more time and independence during this program, but do not be tricked – it may sound easy, but you cannot compare a postgraduate course with an undergraduate program; the former is always more challenging.

6. Population

The number of people in an undergraduate program class is always more than those taking the postgraduate degree.

Finally, under this is that you will be considered a colleague not only to your mates but also to most of the lecturers and more advanced scholars because you will now be seen as a person sharing a common goal with them since you must have eventually defined your field of specialization at this point.

Where do you Attain an Under or Post Graduate Certificate?

You will get any of these certificates in a formal setting, a higher institution accredited in whatever course you choose to study.

With this, I will also open your eyes to see some students’ challenges, especially during the undergraduate program. Some schools will offer students courses that they never got accredited to teach.

Cases like this can majorly end up under either of these two circumstances. If the school gets discovered by the body responsible for the accreditation of courses in the given country, students already taking the system will have to quit.

On the other hand, if students study the course successfully, getting employed with their certificates will most often become an issue.

Therefore, to avoid this common problem facing undergraduate students, you want to this point in your mind that you must be sure that the course you choose to study at the University or College is accredited in the school.

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