Difference Between Undergraduate and Postgraduate Study

Victor Okoma

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Talking about masters vs bachelors; College degrees generally fall into four categories: associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral. Each college degree level varies in length, requirements, and outcomes.

However, these degrees are grouped into two main kinds of study degrees namely, Undergraduate and Postgraduate. So if you’ve for once asked or reasoned about masters vs bachelors, this is your bus stop.

Here we are going to break the whole thing into pieces for your perfect understanding.

What is an Undergraduate Degree?

An undergraduate degree is a popular term for an academic degree obtained by completing undergraduate courses.


It is also known as a first degree or simply a degree in most parts of the world.

Associate’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees have been the most frequent type of undergraduate degrees.

What are the Types of Undergraduate Degrees?

There are currently two categories of undergraduate degrees in the world: Associate Degrees and Bachelor Degrees. 

Associate’s Degree

An associate degree is an undergraduate program that you earn after two to three years of post-secondary basic research.


It is a standard that is higher than a high school, or tertiary education but lower than a bachelor’s degree.

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Since its introduction, associate degrees have been functional and active in a few other countries.

Associate degrees allow you to advance in your career faster and earn more money than if you didn’t have a degree at all. An associate’s degree typically takes two years to complete, whereas a regular bachelor’s degree program typically takes four years to complete.

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Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree (from Middle Latin baccalaureus) or baccalaureate (from Modern Latin baccalaureatus) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities after completing a three to six-year course of study (depending on the institution and academic discipline).

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A bachelor’s degree can help you break into a field you’ve always wanted to work in, or it can help you advance in your current job. The first step toward obtaining one is to learn about it.

Bachelor’s degrees, which you traditionally obtain in person on a college campus, have become progressively easier to access online as well.

While many students pursue a bachelor’s degree immediately after high school, it is not uncommon for students to pursue one later in life.


What is a Postgraduate Degree?

A postgraduate degree covers a set of certifications that involve an undergraduate degree to be regarded for admission, including courses ranging from a Postgraduate Diploma to a Ph.D.

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Postgraduate degrees are for a variety of reasons, including the desire to enter academia and conduct research, to specialize in a future career, or to change careers entirely.

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What are the Types of Postgraduate Degrees?

There are two categories of postgraduate degrees in the world: Master’s Degrees and Doctorate Degrees. 


Master’s Degree

A master’s degree can manifest itself in different ways, but they all have one thing in common: they necessitate an undergraduate degree to gain admission.

Furthermore to college courses, most master’s programs entail a manuscript to graduate. Most master’s training lasts a year, except for some specialist master’s courses, such as Master’s of Architecture (MArch), which last between two and three years. 

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Doctorate Degree

A doctorate (from Latin docere, “to teach”), doctor’s degree (from Latin doctor, “teacher”), or doctoral degree is a university-awarded academic degree originating in ancient formalism licentia docendi (“license to teach”).

A research degree in most nations validates the owner to tutor at the university level in the degree’s profession or to work in a particular career.


The most popular doctoral degree is the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), which is available in a variety of areas ranging from the humanities to fields of science.

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4 Differences Between Undergraduate and Postgraduate Study

Concerning the masters vs bachelors, Undergraduate Study (bachelors) has been the first form of study attainable at the university level, introducing students to the skills necessary within a specialized area.

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While Postgraduate Study (masters) is a definite upgrade from undergraduate study, needing a more sophisticated degree of comprehension, more independent research, and more specialized knowledge.


Here are four distinctions between undergraduate and postgraduate study:

1. Concentration of research

Since master’s degree programs necessitate a far more sophisticated degree of comprehension within your specialized area, you’ll have to employ a more innovative methodological approach than you did throughout your undergraduate education.

This implies that there’ll be a bigger focus on your research skills during your postgraduate studies. As a result, your master’s degree program will most likely include mentoring in relevant research methodologies, planning you for the potential of continuing your research at the Ph.D. level.

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2. Thesis

Your master’s degree program will most possibly culminate in a personal major research project – a thesis.

Even as your bachelor’s class may have included a thesis, your master’s thesis will necessitate far more strenuous and in-depth research. A bachelor thesis is typically less than 10,000 words long, whereas a postgraduate thesis is typically around 15,000 words long.

Even though your master’s thesis will involve more tasks than your bachelor’s thesis, it will enable you to solidify your position as a professor in your chosen field of study and will organize you for Doctoral research.

3.Self-directed learning

Among the most noticeable distinctions between undergraduate and postgraduate studies is that your master’s class will have lesser taught study modules than your bachelor’s.


However, while your master’s course may require you to study a total of only about four taught modules, the majority of your learning hours will come from self-directed study, which typically entails a detailed reading of a broader range of materials at each stage of your course.

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4. Specialized knowledge

Undergraduate courses will provide you with knowledgeability in your chosen field, whilst the postgraduate level will provide you with enhanced expertise in a particular area.

A bachelor’s degree in English literature, for instance, will help you learn English literature in a wide and diverse sense, whereas a master’s degree in English literature will provide you with technical expertise in a specialized area, such as writing affiliated with a particular historical era.

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