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Australian Qualification Levels Differences Explained

When considering which postgraduate qualification to undertake, there are different options available to match your personal goals. By choosing the right course and its corresponding qualification level, you will be guided to find a program that fits your needs to advance in your chosen field. There are numerous benefits to undertaking further studies, such as gaining a higher earning potential, demonstrating initiative through study, upskilling in new areas, finding networking opportunities, fulfilling educational requirements, and so many more. Everyone has unique aspirations and there are different courses available to meet those needs. Learn about the different Australian qualifications levels available to decide which route will work best for you.

Understanding the difference between postgraduate qualification levels

There are different phrases, acronyms and industry terms when entering the tertiary education system. Understanding how to navigate the new terrain can be daunting without the right guidance. The University of Adelaide offers dedicated support staff to guide all online students through the post-graduate study experience.

Learn about the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) levels and explanations below.

Undergraduate qualifications (levels 1-7)

Level 1 – Certificate I

Level 2 – Certificate II

Level 3 – Certificate III

Level 4 – Certificate IV

Level 5 – Diploma

Level 6 – Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree

Level 7 – Bachelor Degree

Postgraduate qualifications (levels 8-10)

Level 8 – Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma

Level 9 – Master’s Degree

Level 10 – Doctoral Degree

Graduate Certificate

Undertaking a graduate certificate program provides a competitive advantage over those with an undergraduate degree and can provide an extra specialisation into a given field. Typically, graduate certificate programs can be completed in six months (full-time) or eight months (part-time) with a previous degree or equivalent work experience. It signifies additional authority on the subject with advanced theoretical and technical knowledge in your given field. In addition to this, employers regard graduate certificate qualifications highly.

Enrolling into a graduate certificate program like the Graduate Certificate in Data Science online, Graduate Certificate in Business Administration online, or the Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security online all demonstrate advanced knowledge with the ability to communicate expertise to other colleagues.

Graduate Diploma

This in-depth postgraduate qualification is typically finished in one year (full-time) or one and a half years (part-time) and provides additional knowledge to a chosen field. A graduate diploma offers students flexibility, as it is a strong qualification in its own right or can be used as a pathway towards further study. Depending on the program, this degree usually shares similar entry requirements to the graduate certificate and both are categorised as level 8 by the AQF. However, a graduate diploma goes into more depth and covers more than its partner category.

A postgraduate qualification like the Graduate Diploma in Psychology online prepares students who have no previous psychology experience to progress further and provides missing knowledge required to progress further in Psychology.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree demonstrates specialised knowledge and research in a chosen field, it’s an advanced degree that builds authority and expert skills. Employers regard masters degrees very highly as it highlights critical thinking and the ability to integrate teaching into real-world situations.  By learning to communicate information to specialists and non-specialists, masters graduates can communicate at different levels of a business. Expert and situational judgement are taught throughout the master’s degree and graduates can demonstrate a strong application of key learnings.

Programs like the Master of Business Administration online, Master of Business Administration (Health Management) and the Master of Data Science online develop industry leaders with comprehensive knowledge in their field.

Doctoral Degree

The highest tertiary qualification is a doctoral degree which has two main categories, PhDs and professional doctorates. Both cover complex areas of a topic. PhDs redefine existing knowledge and work to advance scholarly understandings in a field, whilst professional doctorates make a significant and unique contribution to advancing professional practice. They both generate original thought and develop key concepts in the study area. When wanting to become an authoritative voice on a topic, doctoral degrees are the highest of the Australian qualification levels.

Undertake postgraduate study with a top university

Once you have figured out which Australian qualification level is right for you, the next step is choosing a university. A reputable university will set your postgraduate qualification apart from the other graduates. The University of Adelaide offers flexible online learning options to facilitate study without compromising a busy work schedule. Gain study assistance from dedicated advisors who can guide you through the tertiary education process and give you the confidence you need to succeed. Finally, the University of Adelaide belongs to the Group of Eight, a prestigious ranking that makes the University of Adelaide amongst the leading schools in Australia. Make the most of your qualification and choose a university with the resources that will set you up for success.

If you’re ready to unleash your full career potential, make an appointment to speak with an advisor today.

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