What is a Diploma and how is it different from a Foundation, Pre-University and Degree?
This comprehensive guide will take you through all there is to know about Diploma programmes in Malaysia, ensuring that you are fully informed before making a decision about your college education.
The Basics of Diploma
What It Is
A Diploma course is a level below an undergraduate degree, and can be considered equivalent of a first year Degree at university.
It focuses on practical and industry-specific skills and knowledge to train you for the working world. Courses are usually offered for specific areas, such as Culinary Arts, Computer Science and Aircraft Maintenance.
Diplomas are usually 24 – 36 months long, and you can enter this programme directly after SPM.
Once you’ve completed a Diploma, you can choose to either start working or pursue a related Degree beginning from Year 2.
How Is Diploma Structured?
A Diploma course is designed to give you exposure to specific topics in your chosen area of study.
For example, a Diploma in Information Technology will involve topics such as Object Oriented Programming, Systems Analysis and Internet Technologies, while in a Diploma in Culinary Arts, you will learn things like Cuisine Techniques, Food & Beverage Service and Plated Desserts.
Some programmes may require you to choose electives or specialisation modules to enhance your skills and knowledge in a particular area.
The assessment structure will vary depending on the programme and university. Typically, you should expect a combination of coursework and final exams. In addition, most universities will require you to undergo a semester of internship or practical training in order for you to gain hands-on experience.
Why Should You Take A Diploma?
There are some advantages of taking a Diploma course over other programmes, such as A-Level, Australian Matriculation and Foundation courses. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider taking a Diploma.
(1) Gives you the opportunity to enter the workforce early
A Diploma programme is the perfect choice for you if you want to gain some work experience or save up some money before pursuing your Degree. Many companies accept Diploma graduates for entry-level jobs, so you can head straight out to work after just 2 – 3 years of studies.
(2) Learn practical and hands-on skills
Diplomas are very focused on getting you trained and qualified for a particular area or trade. In certain jobs and career paths that require more practical skills rather than academic knowledge (e.g. Culinary Arts, Aircraft Maintenance), it may even make sense to pursue a Diploma compared to a Foundation.
(3) Lower entry requirements
If you made a mess out of your SPM and you’re starting to panic because you do not qualify for many Foundation or Pre-University courses, don’t lose hope! Most Diplomas require only a minimum of 3 credits at SPM or equivalent, compared to 5 credits for other courses. This means that you still have a chance to continue your education.
(4) Eligible for PTPTN loan
With the cost of education rising, many students are turning to PTPTN loans to help ease the financial burden of education. While Pre-University courses (e.g. A-Level, Australian Matriculation) and most Foundation courses are NOT eligible for PTPTN loan, a Diploma course IS eligible for PTPTN loan. If you have financial constraints, then go for a Diploma instead of a Foundation or Pre-University course.
Who Is A Diploma For?
You should consider taking a Diploma if:
- You have decided to pursue an industry that requires practical & hands-on skills
- You want to start working quickly, or want to gain work experience first before pursuing a Degree
- You have financial constraints and require financial aid to further your studies after SPM
- You messed up your SPM and only have 3 or 4 credits
You should NOT take a Diploma if:
- You’re still not sure of what you want to do in the future
- You plan to pursue academically challenging Degrees, such as Medicine
- You are looking for the best entry path to top universities abroad
Remember that this programme is only suitable if you already know the industry and career path that you want to pursue.
Where Can You Study A Diploma?
Here are some of the most popular Diplomas in Malaysia:
- Diploma in Accounting
- Diploma in Business
- Diploma in Hospitality & Tourism Management
- Diploma in Culinary Arts
- Diploma in Early Childhood Education
- Diploma in Computer Science / Information Technology