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31 Aug 2021

3 Min Read

Josephine Serena (Editor)


Are you trying to figure out the differences between a diploma and a foundation programme? Fret not, you aren’t the first with the query and you’ve come to the right place! Here, we make a 1-1 comparison between these two popular pre-university programmes that you may take into consideration.



A diploma has a higher qualification compared to the foundation programme. A diploma is typically an acceptable qualification for you to enter the workforce. 


Choose a diploma programme if you’re certain which field you’d like to pursue. It’s also a good option if you’re unsure whether you’d like to pursue your degree post-diploma.


The curriculum itself is broad enough and explores more subjects in your chosen field compared to other pre-university programmes.


A foundation programme itself although isn’t sufficient for you to enter the workforce, it’s still deemed as a higher standard of qualification. It lays the fundamentals you’ll need to know and provides an introduction to your subjects in degree.


Choose a foundation programme if you merely need a pre-university programme as a prerequisite to a degree in mind. Even if you don’t have a degree in mind, it’ll still be able to buy you some time to figure out your pathway. That said, you still need to  decide between the Arts or Science streams.



A diploma programme takes longer to complete as it typically spans between 2 to 2.5 years. Choose a diploma programme if you’d like to take your time to dive deep and explore more subjects within your field of interest. 


Depending on the compatibility of your diploma and the degree of your choice, you can enter a degree starting from Year 2. 


A foundation programme is shorter and requires only 1 year to complete. Choose foundation if you’d like a faster track to enter your degree programme. 


However, you’d be entering from Year 1 of the degree upon completing a foundation programme.

Transition to Degree


A diploma programme would be helpful to get you familiarised in your field of interest since you’ll be able to explore more subjects. 


That’s not all, certain diploma programmes require you to complete an internship before graduating which may be helpful to understand your selected industry during degree.


A foundation programme is usually tailored by the universities according to the degree offered. Hence, it’s advisable for you to complete both foundation and degree programmes in the same institution for a smoother transition as both curriculum would typically complement each other. 

Financial Aid


Both PTPTN loans and scholarships are widely available for diploma programmes. 


Scholarships are available. However, PTPTN loans are only applicable for certain institutions only.



Many organisations do accept diploma qualifications as entry level requirements, so you can begin working upon completion.


A foundation qualification isn’t usually accepted as a sufficient credential to enter the workforce yet. You’d have to complete your degree.  

Do you need more insights to help you make decisions? Speak to our friendly education counsellors here.

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