In most cases a PGCert or PGDip will be a lot like a Masters in the same subject. (Particularly if your course forms part of a wider degree programme).
You’ll study for a shorter period, but your course content will be organised in the same way as a taught Masters and the material you study will be at the same level.
In most cases you’ll complete separate modules, each with their own assessments.
As a rule of thumb you can expect a PGCert to include two modules over one semester, whilst a PGDip will probably include four over two. This may vary slightly, depending on the credit weighting for modules on your course.
How long is a Postgraduate Certificate?
A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) course normally requires one term (around 15 weeks) of full-time study.
Some programmes may be longer, particularly if they are designed for professionals studying and working part-time.
Note that the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) is slightly different to a standard PGCert. It requires a full year of study, including placements.
How long is a Postgraduate Diploma?
A Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) normally lasts for two terms (around 30 weeks) of full-time study. This is equivalent to completing all the taught content on a standard MA or MSc, but not continuing on to a dissertation.
As with PGCert courses, some professional PGDip programmes may be longer. These are usually part-time courses, designed as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) options.
How many credits is a Postgraduate Certificate worth?
A PGCert normally carries a third of the credit value of a full Masters. In the UK this will be 60 credits, equivalent to 30 European ECTS credits. By contrast, a full Masters is 180 credits.
How many credits is a Postgraduate Diploma worth?
A PGDip is worth twice as many credits as a PGCert and two thirds of the credit value of a full Masters degree. In the UK this will be 120 credits, equivalent to 60 European ECTS credits.
How are Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas assessed?
Academic PGCert and PGDip programmes will be assessed in much the same way as an equivalent Masters degree.
You’ll complete coursework essays or other assignments for each module and these will collectively determine your grade. Exams are unlikely and you won’t have to produce a dissertation.
Professional programmes may include more practical assessments and tests of your competency in key skills or proficiencies.