Key Differences Between a Postgraduate Diploma and a Master's Degree in Business

Key Differences Between a Postgraduate Diploma and a Master's Degree in Business

Choosing between a postgraduate diploma and a Master’s degree in business can be difficult. If you aspire to pursue a business course, you may have to choose from a wide spectrum of options, spanning from graduate, postgraduate (Master's degree), and doctoral levels. Additionally, there are various short-term diplomas and certificates.

So how do you know which one is perfect for you?

Once you have narrowed down your field of interest, the next question you can ask yourself is: ‘What do I want to achieve with this diploma or Master's degree?’

In case you are confused about choosing between a postgraduate diploma and a master’s degree in business, this article is for you!

What is a Postgraduate Diploma?

If you are looking for a low-cost, short-term academic programme, a postgraduate diploma is for you. A postgraduate diploma, also called a graduate diploma, offers a focused pathway that helps you gain specialised knowledge in a specific field.

The shorter time frame (6 months) and lower cost than a master’s degree make postgraduate diplomas attractive. You also get the opportunity to continue your education without having to take time off from work.

Another big advantage is getting admission into postgraduate diploma courses is easier. The admission requirements may not be as strict as a regular master’s degree.

A postgraduate diploma in business can be a perfect option for you if you are looking for a quicker route to obtain a postgraduate qualification. Another benefit is, that you may not need to write a lengthy dissertation, as required in a master’s degree.

What is a Master's Degree?

A master’s degree is a great next step for any undergraduate or honours student. If you are looking for extensive learning and deep research on a specific subject, a master’s degree is for you.

A master’s degree can be more expensive and time-consuming than a postgrad diploma. However, a Master’s degree can also allow you to continue your education and pursue a doctoral degree.

When comparing the difficulty levels of a postgraduate diploma (PG diploma) and a master’s degree; the coursework for a master’s degree is usually more extensive and requires more independent study, research, and analysis. It also includes a major project or thesis, which allows you to apply your knowledge and skills to a real-world problem or research project.

That’s not all! If you are an international student who dreams of getting a work permit in a foreign country, a Master’s degree can be a practical choice. Because a master's degree might ease your way to obtaining a work permit.    

What are the Entry Requirements?

Each institution has its own admission criteria for both postgraduate diplomas and master’s degrees. After choosing your desired course programme, the next step is to find out your institution’s general requirements and specific entry requirements for the chosen programme.

It’s crucial to check their website or contact their admission office for specific details.

Typically, PG diplomas or master’s degrees, require a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite. However, master’s degree programmes may have much higher entry requirements, such as work experience, industry expertise, English proficiency, and cut-off scores.

If you are an international student, you’ll also have to show strong English language skills.

How much does a Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate Cost?

In countries like the United States, you can expect postgraduate diplomas/certificates to cost anywhere from $10,000 to $12,500 per year (Source: Edwise )

Costs might range from ₹50,000 to ₹5L per year in countries like India. ( Source : Career360 )

Fees for most postgraduate diplomas in Singapore can be around SGD$85,00 per year. (Source: aeccglobal )

How much does a Master's Degree Cost?

A master’s degree is usually more expensive than a postgraduate diploma. Here are some general estimates of the cost of a master’s degree in different countries.

  • Singapore:  SGD$10,000-30,000 per year (Source: aeccglobal )
  • United States: $30,000-$70,000 per year ( Source : Edwise )
  • United Kingdom: £10,000-£30,000 per year (Source: SI-UK )
  • Canada: $15,000-$35,000 per year (Source: Studynextglobal )
  • Australia: $20,000-$40,000 per year (Source: Mastersportal )

Remember, the cost of a master’s degree can vary widely depending on several factors including location, length, and format of the programme (online or in-person).

For example, a master’s degree in business in Singapore can cost around SGD 21,000 to SGD 91,000 per year for international students. (Source: College Dunia )

Postgraduate Diploma or Master’s Degree in Business: Which is better?        

It’s not a simple one-size-fits-all answer! But a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of postgraduate diploma and master’s degree in business can help you navigate your decision.

Postgraduate Diploma                


  • Shorter Duration: Can be completed in 6 months compared to 1-2 years Master's.
  • More Focused: Deep dive into specific skills and knowledge for a particular career.
  • Less Research Focus: No thesis or dissertation, ideal for those preferring practical learning.
  • Potential Career Boost: Can quickly equip you with valuable skills for immediate career advancement.


  • Lower Qualification: Not as academically prestigious as a Master's.
  • Limited Scope: Focus on practical skills may not provide a broader academic understanding.
  • May not Qualify for Further Studies: Some doctoral programs require a master's degree.

Master's Degree


  • Higher Academic Standing: More recognized and valued qualifications in many fields.
  • Stronger Research Skills: Develop critical thinking and research skills.
  • Greater Career Opportunities: Opens doors to a wider range of career paths and leadership positions.
  • Opens Doors to PhD: If you aspire to doctoral studies, a master's degree is typically required.


  • Longer Duration: More time and financial commitment.
  • Broader Scope: This may not offer the same level of in-depth specialisation as a more focussed, specialised diploma.
  • Research Focus: Requires dedication to research and writing a thesis/dissertation.

Overall, the decision to pursue either a Postgrad diploma or Master’s degree depends on your goals, financial situation, and career aspirations. Both can offer valuable learning opportunities that help you advance your career.

And there’s a destination that’s cost-effective and resourceful for your future higher studies and career paths, be it for a Post-graduate diploma or Master’s degree. The London School of Business and Finance, Singapore campus (LSBF), offers a wide range of courses in business, accounting, finance, and many more.

Clickhere to get more details about the Postgrad Diploma courses offered at London School of Business and Finance, Singapore Campus.

Click here to learn more about the Master’s Degree in Singapore available at the London School of Business and Finance, in Singapore.

This article is written by Serin Thankam Sam and edited by Taylor Gardner.



  • Is a Graduate Diploma better than a Master's?

There’s no simple answer to this. The better option ultimately depends on your career goals, time, and financial situations, learning style, and future aspirations.

  • Is a Postgraduate Diploma equivalent to honours?

No, a postgraduate diploma is not equivalent to an honours degree. Postgraduate diplomas are pursued after completing a bachelor’s degree. Honours degree is typically a bachelor’s degree earned with additional coursework and a higher standard of performance.



Suggested Programmes

MBA in International Business

Throughout the programme, you will develop your understanding of global strategy, international marketing, sustainability and international entrepreneurship.

MA in International Business

This MA programme will help you understand about international business strategy whilst developing your leadership, problem-solving and collaboration skills.

Postgraduate Diploma in Business

Focus on economics, business and business statistics in the postgraduate diploma to excel in your career or even progress onto an MBA programme.

Recommended Blogs for You

Why Singapore is a Top Destination for a Postgraduate Business Diploma

This article delves into the factors that make Singapore such a compelling choice for students like you, particularly those seeking…

Career Opportunities after Completing an MBA in Singapore

This comprehensive guide navigates the post-MBA landscape, delving into the expansive scope of MBA jobs, top hiring companies, effective job…

Why Choose a Diploma in Business Administration: Career Prospects and Opportunities

A diploma in business administration can help you quickly obtain some of the best business administration careers. While a traditional…

Request More Information

Contact a programme advisor by calling
+65 6580 7700

Back to top