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.

While both a diploma and a degree in engineering offer valuable pathways into the field, they differ in scope, depth of knowledge, and career opportunities. A diploma provides practical skills and hands-on training suitable for entry-level technical positions, while a degree offers a comprehensive understanding of engineering principles, advanced problem-solving abilities, and opportunities for specialization. In all, the choice between a diploma and a degree depends on individual career goals, with each pathway offering unique advantages for aspiring Engineers.

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