Home Student & Career Tips Difference Between Diploma In Engineering And Degree In Engineering

Difference Between Diploma In Engineering And Degree In Engineering


This article aims at giving a clearer definition between diploma in Engineering and Degree in engineering. From time immemorial, Engineering courses have been a hot cake among many science students. Most times, some students apply for the course without even knowing what is involved in becoming an Engineer. Sometimes I’m almost tempted to believe the reason for this rush is because of the prestige that comes with the title or because of the notion that those in the Engineering field are heavily paid. Well, whatever the reason might be, as much as the person applying for the course is capable, my opinion doesn’t really count.


Difference Between Diploma In Engineering And Degree In Engineering


It is no doubt that Engineering is tough but regardless, it is worth it. It is one field that ticks a lot of boxes. This is to say there are numerous Engineering fields to opt for. It comes with high pay and prestige as I earlier stated. Many who do not have adequate information regarding this profession end up making mistakes in the choice of qualification. What some are after is just getting a certificate that certifies them as an Engineer.

There are two main engineering qualifications, degrees and diplomas. No matter which path you choose to getting a qualification, it still doesn’t change the fact that  engineering qualification is mathematics-intensive and has a considerable practical component  that will equip you with skills that makes you valuable in numerous fields outside Engineering. Hence, if you’re desirous to choose Engineering as a career, you might want to consider which of the two qualification is the best.

This article contains information that will guide you in your decision to become an Engineer as it will state the differences between the two Engineering qualifications mentioned above. Before then, it is important you know few similarities between the two.


Institutions across the nation recommend that students take the following courses during their high/secondary school career if they are interested in an Engineering diploma or Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree:

  • Mathematics
  • Further Mathematics
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Pre-Calculus
  • Calculus
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Computer Applications

With the similarity in subject requirements, below are some of the biggest differences between a degree and diploma in Engineering:



The first difference between a degree in Engineering and a diploma in Engineering is the duration it takes to complete the program. A degree in Engineering generally takes four to five years to complete, depending on the intensity of the course while a diploma in Engineering takes  two years to complete full-time, and three years part-time.

Practically,  the difference seems to be that a degree is a longer, more comprehensive, structured education whereas a diploma is lesser.

In other words, a standard Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering is programmed to take 4 years, but could be reduced by taking summer sessions.


A degree in Engineering can only be acquired at a university while a diploma can be gotten in other Institutions outside a University. As one who wants a degree in Engineering, you can only get that by going through a university unlike s diploma that can be gotten colleges and polytechnics.


It’s no longer new as it has been discovered that despite the difference in the number of years it takes to acquire each of qualifications, a degree in Engineering is often more theoretical and academic than practical. This is a different ball game for those with a diploma because they are more focused on the practical aspects than the theoretical.

For instance, an engineer with a degree will be better suited to a project management position at an automotive manufacturer, taking on the responsibility of assigning tasks, analyzing production data, writing reports, and overseeing machinery maintenance processes.


Studying Engineering in a University is more expensive than in other Institutions. The affordability is one of the major reasons that influences the decision and choice of students. Many students who choose a diploma in Engineering over a degree in Engineering did that for price reasons.


Generally, Engineering as a field of study is broad with many branches.

However, degree programmes are comprehensive with specializations in areas including

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Electronics Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Process Engineering and a host of others.

Diploma programmes are often more specialised, giving you a unique qualification in Engineering fields such as:

  • Motor mechanics
  • Fitting and turning
  • Millwright work

This is why a person with a diploma in Mechanical Engineering can decide to specialize in motor Mechanics. This is not so with a degree in Engineering.

The benefit of specialization is that you will have in-depth training in a specific field, qualifying you for a particular job. The disadvantage here is that you’re a restricted to a particular job leaving you unqualified for a wider range of positions within Engineering. Degrees are specialized and industry specific. Diplomas are specialized but more in depth than certifications (degrees).


Another big difference between a degree in Engineering and a diploma in Engineering is in terms of employment opportunities.

Several types of jobs require you to have a degree in Engineering. These are often higher-level Engineering jobs such as Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering or even more senior positions such as project manager.


These higher level Engineering positions require you to have a degree to enable you to work as a professional Engineer in your chosen field. However, a diploma allows you to work in a number of specialised positions. If you have an Engineering diploma, you are able to do a wide variety of jobs, such as electrical work or working as a diesel mechanic. When it comes to Employment opportunities, degree holders are given more professional positions to manage because they are seen to be more enlightened.


Most if not all professions have a professional body guiding them of which every certified person in that profession is expected to belong. In Engineering, there are a wide range of such Organizations which every Engineer who ought to be recognized should register with.

Thus, your qualification as an Engineer will determine which professional body or Institute you should register with.


  • Professional Engineer (Pr Eng)
  • Professional Certificated Engineer (Pr Cert Eng)
  • Professional Engineering Technologist (Pr Tech Eng)

Your professional title and credentials will thus depend on the type of qualification you have.


The difference between a degree in Engineering and a diploma in Engineering has brought a lot of deliberation  sometimes  conflicts between the parties involved.

An Engineering Technology degree otherwise referred to as a diploma in Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Engineering are closely related fields of study with glaring differences in all aspects. A notable point is that Bachelor of science in Engineering emphasizes theories and advanced concepts, while diploma emphasizes more on practicals.


Bachelor of degree prepares students to enter the workforce as professional Engineers with skills that are applicable to a wide variety of industries but in the case of students with a diploma, the certificate is not enough to prepare them for the competition in the workforce despite the practicals.

A Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree program usually includes more advanced levels of applied science and mathematics than it is taught in an Engineering diploma program. For instance, the real-world challenges graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering may explore include:

  • Identifying emerging techniques, skills, methods and theories to solve engineering problems
  • Applying analysis and modeling to design engineering based solutions
  • Design infrastructure such as buildings, highways and bridges

An Engineering diploma degree emphasizes the application of specific Engineering techniques. Graduates with an Engineering diploma degree mostly seek employment in fields ranging from  design, manufacturing and operations.

In terms of career path, students who obtain a Bachelor of Science in Engineering begin their careers as entry-level Engineers. They typically do not have extensive experience in the field, but are very knowledgeable in specific areas.

Students who successfully complete two-years Engineering technology programs are called “technicians.” They begin their careers in entry-level positions that may involve the design and application of Engineering techniques.

It is known that a Diploma in Engineering takes a shorter time to complete. Once completed, you get a degree which can be used for limited job roles. While a degree program requires dedication of a longer period of time, efforts and finance in order to get a certified degree. Diploma and Degree varies in terms of the level of difficulty. The tests and examinations those in diploma programs encounter is not as rigorous as that degree students are exposed to.

Another important difference lies in the Salary earned. Typically, due to the level of exposure and expertise of an Engineer with a degree, the salary is usually higher  compared to that of an Engineer with a diploma certificate.

As a matter of fact, Diploma holders are not fully recognised as Engineers because it is believed they have not learned about the Engineering completely. When they pursue an Engineering course after completion of their three years Diploma course then, they are called Engineers.


These differences have brought a lot of confusion in the Engineering field as those with a diploma in Engineering feel left out and unrecognised. Well, Engineering is a very lucrative career that requires one to be properly grounded to avoid costly mistakes. Thus, 1-2 years is enough to expose one to all there is in the Engineering field. The difference is clear and this is why those with an Engineering degree are mostly recognised.

The competition in the workforce is increasing on a daily basis and having a diploma may not be enough to get you to the level you desire.

As an individual you may prefer a diploma in Engineering over a degree in Engineering for personal reasons. Choices differ. If your reason for making such a choice is due to lack of information, this article has taken care of that by extensively pointing out the differences between the two qualifications.

If you desire to advance in the Engineering field, get better job offers to earn more, get more professional recognition, a degree in Engineering is the perfect choice. If you are not financially buoyant, do not want to spend a long period of time acquiring basic knowledge as well as earn but with less recognition as an Engineer, a diploma in Engineering is also a perfect option.

Whichever qualification you wish to go for, you’re  not wrong. This article is not to confuse you but to guide you as you decide on which Engineering qualification is best for you.

Don’t miss out on current updates, kindly like us on Facebook & follow us on  OR leave a comment below for further inquiries.

Leave a Reply