What to choose: postgraduate or Master's degree in Canada. Pros and cons of postgraduate programs.

Johnny Depp and Jennifer Aniston worked as telemarketers in their youth. Jennifer Lopez started her career in a law office. Julia Roberts worked as an ice cream maker at Baskin Robbins, and Harrison Ford was a first-class carpenter... And maybe we would never have known about all of them, if at one special moment future stars were not afraid to drastically change their lives and change their profession. Maybe it's time for a complete turning round in your life?

You are already on your way to a professional career, but after receiving a diploma, you understand that you want more? Or you lost passion for the chosen specialty, and you do not want to associate your life with it? It's time for a change A traditional four-year degree is certainly not the only education option. Now when people have become more mobile and change jobs and even field of activity much more often than in the past, there are many options for postgraduate programs. If you work and study at the same time, want to change your profession, you lack some skills, or you want to start your career as soon as possible (which is especially important when moving to another country), various Post-Graduate programs will help you in achieving what you want as fast as possible. The main thing is to choose the most suitable option for yourself. And we will help you with this.


Certificates, diplomas and degrees vary in the time taken to complete each of these types of education, as well as in the credits required to complete the course. Almost everyone can get a certificate in one major or another. Getting a degree is a little more difficult. Obtaining a degree is not only intellectually more difficult, but it takes more time, effort, focus and, of course, money.

Post-Graduate Certificate / Diploma programs are quite widespread, both at universities and colleges. To obtain a Master's degree you must enter a university. Each of these types of academic programs is suitable for certain specific field or career goals.


The Post-Graduate Certificate program is a target group of courses to develop a specific skill. A certificate is a confirmation that you have mastered a simple skill in a short time (usually from one day up to six months).

The program takes a little time because general education courses are not included in the curriculum. For example, a CompTia A + certification confirms that you understand the basics of using a computer. However, virtually every IT graduate will know a lot more about computers than anyone with an A + certification because you are learning only one type of skill and at a fairly basic level. However, in this particular skill, you will still know more than the average person who is not associated with this area. Certificates often go along with an undergraduate or Master's degree program to provide additional skills, which can help with the job.

Examples of Certificate programs in demand:

Certificate in the field of cosmetology. It's about more than just applying makeup and cutting your hair. As a beautician, you will also provide people with information on hair, skin and nail care. The certification program will give you the knowledge and experience you need to provide your customers with an accurate information and high-quality services.

A certificate is required for practice, if you provide services without a certificate, you may face severe penalties. Massage therapy is another fast-growing career area where certification is very promising. Obviously, it is possible to get a four-year degree in sports training if you choose to become a massage therapist, however, a certificate will help you to start working with people faster and without unnecessary expenses.



The certificate is beneficial (yes, in the literal sense of the word, these programs cost significantly less and take a little time to complete) if you want to change your profession and you already have an education or some work experience in the chosen field of study. Once certified, you can quickly master the skills needed for a career in another field without having to go back to university for obtaining a Bachelor's degree in another specialty.

Colleges and universities in Canada always offer Post-Graduate majors that are in demand at the labor market, making it easy for graduates to find work after graduation.

You can also get certified if you would like to pursue a career in a related field of your industry, this will allow you to expand the range of competencies you already possess.

Another big plus includes very simple admission requirements.


An important aspect for those, who want to obtain a work permit in Canada after the end of the program, the duration of study must be at least 8 months. Non-long-term programs lasting 1-7 months do not provide such an opportunity!

One of the disadvantages of a certificate is that it can be somehow limited.
You will have career options based solely on a certificate, and growing further can be problematic without additional experience or education.


Post-Graduate Diploma is a confirmation that you have mastered a more complex skill set in a longer time (usually from six months up to one year) at a reasonably good level.

Diploma provides deeper knowledge than a certificate. Taking a degree program will give you a complete understanding of your field of study, but you will not earn a degree upon completion of the program.

While graduate programs offer a more in-depth curriculum than a certificate, they are still more like a certificate than a degree.
Diploma programs offer the specialized knowledge and practical experience required for the job, you can learn and practice at classes the skills you will use on a daily basis.


A diploma can be useful if you want to change careers in a relatively short period of time and the field you are entering does not require a Bachelor's or Master's degree. Since diplomas are often technical or professional in nature, they are useful if you want to start a career as an electrician or dental assistant, for example.

Some other benefits of diploma:

Training can be completed in a relatively short time.
  • The diploma is cost effective; tuition costs less than a full-time degree curriculum.
  • Simple requirements and procedures for admission comparing to admission to a degree program.
  • The schedule of classes is flexible as many of the students work simultaneously.
  • Classes are focused on the skills that you will need for your work.
  • Diploma programs usually contain some types of internships, so you can gain practical experience as well as find a future job.

The disadvantage of diploma is that ... it is not a degree. After you complete the required training, you will only have a diploma. However, you can get an associate's degree if you wish.

One of the differences between a diploma and an associate's degree is the availability of general education courses; you will need to complete them if you want to earn an associate's degree, but not while you are studying under the Diploma program.

What career options are possible for Diploma graduates

The most promising for graduate programs is the healthcare industry as a rapidly growing field with many opportunities.

For example, you can be enrolled to a Practical / Professional Nursing diploma program and complete your education in much less time than it takes to complete your degree. Thus, you can play a key role in healthcare institutions: provide care and medicines for patients, work alongside with doctors and other healthcare personnel.

A career as a personal fitness trainer is also based on a diploma program. Rather than completing a four-year degree in sports medicine or a related major, the Diploma program will provide you with valuable skills to help people with their diet and exercise regimes in a shorter time and at a lower cost for you.

Other popular options for Diploma programs are electrical technician, IT administrator, dental assistant, etc.


Master's degree is an advanced consistent education.

It confirms that you have learned a large number of complex skill sets focused on a specific direction (science, computers, foreign languages, etc.) over a long period of time (from 1 up to 2 years). At the same time, studying under a master's program is possible only after receiving a Bachelor's degree, so all in all you will spend at least 5 years.

Bachelor's degree is an obligatory step towards the master's program.

Its difference is that in 4 years of studies, in addition to the courses related to your specialty, you must also complete general programs. This ensures a comprehensive education. For example, at many universities, those pursuing a Bachelor's degree, such as accounting, are required to study English, mathematics, science, philosophy, history and other subjects.

In the countries of the former CIS, there is some belief that after a Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree should certainly follow. However, complete education is not so widespread in all countries.

In a world, where various advanced training programs can be completed in less than a year, the question arises, is it worth getting even a four-year Bachelor's degree, let alone a Master's degree?

For example, in Canada, most of the students get job after getting a Bachelor's degree or even earlier. Only a small number of students is enrolled to a Master's degree program. Who should choose Master's programs? It all depends on your goals. A Master's degree is definitely a valuable asset.

The Master's program has its own aspects, it is a concentration on scientific activities.
Traditionally, students continue to pursue research in the same field or similar to their Bachelor's degree.

Therefore, choosing a master's program is best for students, who want to devote themselves to research in a particular field, as well as those who want to become a teacher at a Canadian university. Do you want to learn from modern scientists and engage in unique scientific research on the relevant issues of humankind? Then choose a Master's degree.



Master's degree in Canada is a great place to conduct scientific work. Here, scientific research is actively funded and supported at the state level.

Upon completion of a Master's degree program, you will be able to get a job that requires intellectual and analytical skills over the average level. Accordingly, specialists with a Master's degree can count on higher positions and higher salaries.

The Master's degree is respected by employers, both in industry and in academic field. By choosing such a long path (at least 5 years) to obtain a Master's degree and complete what you started, you show commitment and dedication to your profession, which in itself can already be an advantage at the labor market.

An additional and very important advantage of a Master's degree for foreign students in Canada is that after its completion, the graduate gets the right to work in the country for three years. This opens up the prospect of applying for permanent resident status in the future, and you can apply for immigration as a qualified worker. While after the certificate and diploma program you can get a Post-Graduation Work Permit for only 1 or 2 years.


The disadvantages include the high cost of the programs and the time it takes to complete. Despite the fact that most universities offer financial aid, degrees are still the most expensive form of higher education.

It is not easy to be enrolled to a Master's program in some areas, academic requirements are above average (at least 90 points, preference for diplomas cum laude).

A GRE test is often required. Many students take preparatory courses before starting their studies, such as pre-MBA, pre-Law or pre-Medicine. Additionally, CVs and recommendations are required.

The requirements for English will also be significantly higher than for other postgraduate programs:

  • IELTS from 7.0, TOEFL from 100.
  • Some specialties require 2-3 years of work experience in the chosen field.
  • Most often it is for the MBA and Master of Science programs.
  • Significant academic load. If the diploma program presupposes only term paper, the Master's program includes thesis paper / research in addition to term paper.
  • Major changes in the specialty are usually discouraged.
  • Of course, after master program graduation you can get an excellent job, but whether it is worth spending another 1-2 additional years on this - it is up to you.


Which program is best for you will depend on several personal factors. To get a more accurate answer, which of the options is right for you, please answer the following questions:

How much time do you have to finish your classes? What are your goals after completing the program?

Time. If you want to start working in a new field as quickly as possible, a diploma or certificate may be the best option.
If you are a full-time worker, a program that offers classes in the evenings, on weekends, or online is a good choice.

Field of activity. For example, if you want to get into the criminal justice field, you may need to get a degree to pursue a career. And if you want to become a personal trainer, then a diploma will be enough.

The financial aspect. Money can be another aspect in determining whether diploma, certificate or degree is right for you. Diplomas and certificates cost significantly less than a Master's degree, so they will be a more cost-effective option when you are looking to start a new career. Even an associate's degree may be more cost-effective and be as good as a four-year degree, depending on your goals.

Assess your abilities and interests. As in any career, whether you are looking to enter the labor market for the first time or you already have a stable career and want to change something, your skills play an important role in choosing an educational program. Think about whether you are good at handling administrative duties, whether you enjoy developing relationships with people, and whether you know how to decide issues, you are interested in working in a narrow subject area, for example, in the health sector. Assessing your skills and interests can help you in choosing the program, which will work best for you and will lead you to fascinating job.

And if you can't choose, we are always happy to do it together with you!)

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  • Julia
    I am a college counselor with more than 8 years of work experience. I have helped to more than 500 students to successfully come and study in USA, UK and Canada. My students received offers from world's top universities like Stanford, Harvard, University College London, London School of Economics, University of Toronto and many more. I enjoy working with ambitious students and their parents, who I can guide to the world's top elite universities. Besides, I love to motivate students to dream big and achieve the highest possible goals, and adore watching how they transform their lives and personalities through studies abroad. My consultations are very detailed. I usually dig deep, build successful strategies for my students, help with answers to every question. If you want to speak to me about your future studies abroad, feel free to contact me.

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