PG Dip

Ben Maples  · Mar 7th 2022

Postgraduate study is the hardest part of a student’s university career, but the PGDip is a course that can make your postgraduate dreams a little bit easier.


There are a number of different courses available at postgraduate level, such as the PGCE degree and the PgCert; these courses focus on furthering the education and careers of students looking to study at a postgraduate level.

Though not as well-known as other postgraduate options, the PG Dip is a degree that can prepare you for work as a postgraduate student and can still set you apart from the rest when applying for a job.

PGDip meaning

What is a PG Dip?

The PG Dip is a Postgraduate Diploma and is a postgraduate qualification that is awarded on the completion of a university degree. The PG Dip supplements the original degree you achieved and then awards the student with a graduate diploma.

A PG Dip is usually awarded to students who have completed a Master’s programme and then continue a one-year advanced course. The one year advanced course must be similar to the first year of a PhD programme. Your PG Dip is usually completed when you pass an exam at the end of the academic year.

It is best to speak to your university and see what their entry requirements are beforehand.

What are the entry requirements for a PG Dip?

The admission requirements for a PG Dip depend on the university that you are applying to, however, for the most part, you will likely require a degree of at least a 2:1 level or higher, though some universities may accept a 2:2.

Some universities have been known to look into the other educational background of a university student, such as their A Levels or GCSEs, but this is in exceptionally rare circumstances. It is best to speak to your university and see what their entry requirements are beforehand.

PGDip Social Work

How to apply for the PG Dip

Assuming you have reached the entry requirements specified by your university, you can apply either through UCAS or through the university’s website; it is best to apply as early as possible.

You will need to provide a Masters Personal Statement to the university of your choice and you may also need to complete a university interview as well, depending on the university’s entrance procedure.

As you are applying for a postgraduate degree, which is generally considered to be the hardest degree to study, you may be asked to sit an entrance exam or Aptitude Test or provide a portfolio of work for the relevant course.

The PG Dip supplements the original degree you achieved and then awards the student with a graduate diploma.

What is a PG Dip equivalent to?

A PG Dip is comparable with a Master’s degree according to the NQF, although it requires fewer UCAS Tariff Points to achieve, there are three different pass grades, which are Pass, Merit and Distinction.

As the qualification is studied worldwide, the PG Dip will have different equivalencies for different countries. For instance, in countries like Sri Lanka, the PG Dip is taken after the completion of a Bachelor’s degree and has a different designation. In Spain, the PG Dip is graded in accordance with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.

PG Dip vs MSc

What is the difference between PG Dip and PgCert?

The two degrees are not entirely dissimilar. Both the PG Dip and the PgCert are equivalent to a Master’s Degree, however, a PgCert is worth only a third of the Master’s degree, whereas the PG Dip is worth two-thirds of a Masters degree.

The Pg Dip is worth 120 credits, whereas the PgCert is worth 60 credits; the PgCert takes a year to complete (three months work and nine months teaching placement) and the PG Dip takes around seven months to complete.

The best way to see the differences between the PG Dip and the PgCert is in the table below:

Course features PgCert PG Dip
Cost £2,464 £4,928
Length One term (fifteen weeks) Two terms (thirty weeks)
Credit value 60 CATs 120 CATs
Master's equivalence 1/3 2/3
Dissertation No No
ECTS Value 30 ECTs 60 ECTs
Level 7 7
Grading form Fail, Pass, Merit, Distinction Fail, Pass, Merit, Distinction

The cost has been known to change with each passing year in-line with inflation and is also at the discretion of the university you are studying at and the number of students who take the course up, but this is the most common cost for the PG Dip.

PGDip vs Masters

What is the difference between a PG Dip and MSc?

An MSc degree is a postgraduate degree for students looking to study Science or Technology degrees at postgraduate level. Though the MSc is not quite a Masters degree, it does come with a lot of the same benefits.

The main differences between an MSc and a PG Dip is shown in the table below:

Course features MSc PG Dip
Cost £9,250 £4,928
Length One-Two years Two terms (thirty weeks)
Credit value 180 CATs 120 CATs
Master's equivalence Equivalent 2/3
Dissertation Yes No
ECTS Value 90 ECTs 60 ECTs
Level 7 7
Grading form Normal degree grading Fail, Pass, Merit, Distinction

As stated above, the MSc is not necessarily a full Masters degree but it is the closest qualification that is equivalent to it and as studied in essentially the same way. The PG Dip is of course not a Masters degree and is only equivalent to two-thirds of a Masters.

The PgCert takes-a-year to complete and the PG Dip takes around seven months to complete

What subjects can you study as part of a PG Dip?

A PG Dip can be offered in any subject. If a university offers a Master’s degree in the subject, then they will also have a PG Dip option for it as well, most likely.

The courses that you can study at a PG Dip-level are generally split into three different sections:

  • Academic programmes: These are programmes that are available in conjunction with most Masters degrees and in most subject areas.
  • Professional training programmes: Certificate or diploma-level qualifications. For example, this can be something like the PGCE degree or the GDL.
  • Vocational programmes: Usually feature some form of work experience or a work placement of some kind. Does not usually require you to complete either a research project or a dissertation.

The option to study any of these courses as a Pg Dip is down to you, as is the length of time and how you wish to study them as well.

PG Dip Occupational Therapy

Can I upgrade my PGDip to a Masters degree?

This depends on the university you attend and the course you're studying. The option to upgrade will also depend on the abilities you show throughout your PG Dip and will also depend on the grade you receive as well, as most universities pride themselves on being able to take the very best students on to their masters programmes.

You will likely still need to study the Masters for same length of time that you would a normal Master’s degree, however, the PG Dip will give you an extra year or so of learning, which will be invaluable to you.

The PG Dip is of course not a Masters degree and is only equivalent to two-thirds of a Masters.

What are the funding options for a PG Dip?

The funding options are not as extensive as they are for other postgraduate courses, like the Master’s degree. Most bursaries, grants or scholarships are aimed towards full-time postgraduate courses, rather than variations of them.

Unfortunately, postgraduate loans are not available for the PG Dip or for the PgCert, however, you may be able to find some Masters scholarships available to help you, if you need it, though many of these may require you to upgrade to a Masters upon completion of the PG Dip in order to qualify.

For those that are studying a medical-based degree, there is the NHS bursary or the NHS Learning Support Fund, whereas those that need to have any kind of disability-based funding support, can look into the possibility of the Disabled Students Allowance.

What is PGDip degree

What is the grading criteria for the PG Dip?

The PG Dip is assessed through coursework, essays and general assignments given to you throughout the year. Depending on the course you are studying, you may also be required to complete a number of practical assessments as well.

The grading criteria for the PG Dip is:

Grade Required Score
Fail 0-49
Pass 50-59
Merit 60-69
Distinction 70+

You will be graded by each individual module and will then receive an overall grade at the end of the course, which will equal out to one of the above four grades. You will be able to resit the course again to achieve a better grade if needed.

If your course has an examination, you will be able to re-sit the exam as well as the course if needed, however, you will need to speak to your lecturer.

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