Diploma or Degree? 5 Criteria for SPM Students to Decide

After bidding farewell to secondary school, it’s time to start a new chapter. If choosing a university course is your next plan, which undergraduate study should you go for — a diploma or a bachelor’s degree? Below are 5 criteria to better decide the study pathway to take after SPM.


 1.How flexible is the entry requirement?

To enrol for university courses after SPM in Malaysia, you will need to look into the entry requirements of each study programme.

Generally for diploma courses, it is required for the candidate to obtain 3 credits in SPM/IGCSE or O level or its equivalent.

As for bachelor’s degree courses, students should complete a pre-university programme and an English proficiency assessment beforehand. There is also a grade-point average minimum and course-content requirements, particularly for niche fields of study. 


 2.Which academic programme is within your budget?

Getting a higher education qualification also needs to factor in course tuition and general university fees, commuting costs and daily expenses.

With all these costs in mind, which is the right study pathway after SPM for you and your wallet?

If you choose to apply for a diploma-level university programme after SPM, it’ll cost less than a bachelor’s degree because the study duration is shorter.

However, if you want to widen your career paths, opting for a bachelor’s degree may be worth the investment compared to a diploma. Nevertheless, you can apply for an education loan or university scholarship.



 3.How soon do you want to enter the job market?

A diploma course usually takes 2 to 2.6 years compared to a bachelor’s degree which commonly spans 3 to 4 years of study.

Unlike bachelor’s degree programmes that focus more on rigorous academic study, diploma programmes are designed to equip students with the relevant skills to meet the job requirements in a specific industry. The diploma curriculum often includes more hands-on work in comparison to the undergraduate degree’s theoretical knowledge. Because of this, bachelor’s degree programmes have included internship placements to apply what they have learned.

In essence, you’ll be able to enter the workforce early with a diploma qualification.


4.What type of job level are you currently interested in?

When it comes to applying for university studies after SPM, it boils down to the job level you want to pursue. Typically, a diploma graduate can secure an entry-level job but in a limited number of industries. Meanwhile, a bachelor’s degree holder can apply for entry- or mid-level positions in almost any industry.   


 5.Which academic programme has more study routes to choose from?

Bachelor’s degree courses are the best bet for students after graduating from SPM in Malaysia or overseas. You can have the option to pursue postgraduate studies with an undergraduate degree. As diploma courses are pre-university programmes, they are designed to prepare students for undergraduate studies.

Choosing a university course after SPM is a big step toward equipping yourself the theoretical and practical knowledge for the working world. Browse our diploma and bachelor’s degree courses at UNITAR today!

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