Diploma vs Foundation: Know the Difference
Entering higher education can be a daunting and sometimes overwhelming process when it comes to comparing all the different courses available. Undergraduate qualifications are considered to be the next academic step up from A-levels.
From HNDs and CertCEs to foundation and bachelor’s degrees, there is plenty to choose from but it is important that you research the different courses to find out what option best suits you.
Two possible qualifications that you may be considering are either a diploma or a foundation programme, both of which carry some weight towards a bachelor’s degree.
In this article we will see the differences between a diploma and a foundation.
1. What is the difference in the level of qualification?
Diploma: A higher qualification than a foundation and is equivalent to a first-year degree at university. Diploma generally takes 2 to 3 years to complete.
Foundation: A foundation is a one-year preparation course for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation for entry onto a UK university undergraduate course. It is a lower qualification than a diploma. A foundation course is only 1 year long and allows you to smoothly transition into a degree course.
2. What will you be studying?
Diploma: Focuses on practical and industry-specific skills and knowledge to train you for the working world. Diplomas are focused on training and qualifying you for a particular area or trade, so if you are keen to pursue a career that requires more practical skills than academic knowledge (e.g. Culinary Arts, Aircraft Maintenance), you might want to pursue a diploma. The diploma programme will be a progressional study of your chosen field and will be more in-depth as you continue.
Foundation: Equips you with the fundamentals of your chosen field for a smooth transition to your degree programme. Foundation courses will prepare you with the basics of your chosen field of study. Most universities offer both core and elective subjects, which allows you to explore different topics before you pursue a degree course.
3. What is your study pathway?
Diploma: Upon completion, you can enter the workforce or continue with a degree. If you’re keen on starting work quickly, a diploma may be a good option as you can enter the workforce first before upgrading yourself with a degree later on. Diplomas are generally accepted by employers as the minimum requirement for a large number of jobs. In essence, taking a diploma provides you with a choice upon completion, i.e. work or continue with your studies for a degree course.
Foundation: Your pathway is more or less predetermined, where you will need to move on to a degree. A foundation offers a smoother transition into a degree as it prepares you for the academic rigor of undergraduate study, as well as provide you with a glimpse of university-style teaching.
4. Are you eligible for AFED Loan?
Diploma: Eligible for Tier B AFED EB Loan based on the current policies. A diploma certificate can be used as a stand-alone credential and upon completion, you can enter the workforce or continue with a degree.
Click here to learn more about AFED Loan program.
Foundation: Not eligible for AFED Loan based on the current Higher Education Loan policies. A foundation qualification is usually only used as an entry requirement for a degree and is equivalent to A levels. Foundation degrees, also known as preparation courses or pathways programs, complement any knowledge or qualification that you might still be lacking after finishing high school. Thus, students should consider completing the A levels locally at their place of domicile.
We hope this has given you some insight about the differences between a diploma and a foundation. Bear in mind that neither programme is better than the other — it all boils down to various factors, such as how quickly you want to obtain your certification, your budget, interests and career aspirations. So, take some time to digest these considerations before jumping into a decision. Please do see a career counselor to understand better and make informed choices.
Africa federation Education Board offers free career counseling to all community students.
You may book your slot by emailing us at email@example.com
AFRICA FEDERATION EDUCATION BOARD