What are the differences between a Diploma and a Degree?

Degree vs Diploma. Which one?

A diploma and a degree are both academic credentials that indicate that a certain level of education has been achieved.

What are the main differences?

  • Time Frames:
    Diplomas are usually shorter than degrees.
    Diplomas can range from a few months to 2 or more years., where-as Degrees, for the most part, takes approximately 4 years to complete.
  • Curriculum:
    Diploma programmes tend to focus a lot on the practical elements in their learning style.
    Degrees are more theoretical and academic by nature.
  • Which one are more suited?
    Diplomas by nature of the learning style, are quite specific to certain trades or industries.
    Degrees tend to be more broad.
  • Entry Requirements:
    Diploma programmes typically have lower entry or admission requirements as opposed to Degrees.
    Some Diplomas don’t require a matric to be accepted, whereas Degrees normally require a Matric or even a post Matric course or a bridging course.

ICB’s offering and Entry requirements:

ICB understands the need in the market place to accommodate a range of students and student requirements.

Hence ICB’s focus remains that of a Diploma level and students can use this as an easy entry into higher education as for some of the ICB programmes you don’t need a matric to start. Read more here.

Our programmes’ benefit is a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) which provides the practical theory component that makes our learners work place ready.

We offer RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning and Exemptions) to accommodate learners with incomplete qualifications and allow them to fast track to a Diploma and Qualification achievement. See here what you can do with an incomplete qualification and HOW you can get recognised for what you know and can do.

Then, for those Tax Practioners affected by new Tax Compliance laws that need to upskill quickly, ICB can assist to fast track to ensure compliance. Read more here.

We also have International Recognition of our Qualifications for those that are looking for overseas opportunities.

Internationally Recognised

And for those that want the best of both worlds – there are institutions that offer articulation paths for ICB qualifications to their Advanced Diploma and Degree options. Read more here as well as here.

ICB offers qualifications in Financial Management, Business Management and Office Administration, which allows you various options to advance to a Degree.

No matric? With the ICB you can get an NQF qualification and advance to a degree



At the end of the day the choice between a diploma and a degree depend very much on the learner’s end goal and career aspirations.

However, Diplomas play a vital role in equipping people to obtain their goal and fit well into specific trades or professions.  But do not under estimate the power of a Diploma as a potential stepping stone to a Degree, where a person may not otherwise have been eligible for university entry.