Difference Between Undergraduate and Graduate

Difference Between Undergraduate and Graduate

The difference between undergraduate and graduate is influenced mainly by the level of study.

An undergraduate degree enables you to understand, gain knowledge, and expose you to different pieces of training in your discipline.

On the other hand, a graduate degree encourages you to aspire for more knowledge to become a professional in your field of study.

In this article, you will find the main difference between undergraduate and graduate.

What is the meaning of undergraduate?

An undergraduate is a student in a university who is studying to acquire a bachelor’s degree. They are seen as those who are striving to get a bachelor’s degree.

You can be referred to as an undergraduate if you aim for your first degree after college and have not completed any educational programs.

Undergraduate degrees

When you hear people discussing going to the university, they are referring to acquiring an undergraduate degree.

There are two types of undergraduate degrees:

  • Bachelor’s degree: This is acquired by a student within a period of four years in a university. A college diploma is usually needed.
  • Associate degree: this is a program that takes two years to be completed.

What is the meaning of a graduate?

A graduate is a person who has received a degree for completing a course of study. This is a student who has completed a particular level of an educational program.

When you are referred to as a graduate, you are seen as a person who is looking for a master’s degree or a more advanced one.

This degree is higher than an undergraduate degree and can be used to get a job.

Graduate degrees

A graduate degree allows you to go further into your chosen discipline. It provides you with the skills that are necessary for you to work in your field.

There are mainly two types of graduate degrees:

  • Master’s degree: a bachelor’s degree is usually needed to start pursuing a master’s degree, and it is completed within 2-3 years.
  • Doctoral degree: this degree takes 4-6 years to complete, and a master’s degree is not always needed.

Difference between an undergraduate and a graduate

Graduates are matured working adults

Graduates are primarily in their early thirties. They are likely to have a well-paid jobs and their own homes. Unlike undergraduates who rely on their parents, graduates already have a bachelor’s degree to get a job and fend for themselves.

Tuition fees for the programs

Typically, every student has to pay tuition fees to study at any university. Graduate degrees are costly, either in a private or public university.

Undergraduate degrees cost lesser in both universities than that in a graduate.

The coursework is different

Graduates are taught things that are outside the textbooks. Undergraduates are taught through the textbook and are given courses like projects and essays.

They are given the basics in the field and spend the first years doing general course requirements.

Eligibility for programs

Undergraduate students are required to have a college diploma, recommendation letter, etc. This certificate is to be submitted for you to be able to gain admission for undergraduate classes.

Graduates levels are higher than that of an undergraduate, so they require a student to have a CGPA from their field, transcript, etc.

Undergraduate classes are bigger

The lecture hall of an undergraduate student and a graduate student differs. Students are many in an undergraduate class compared to a graduate class.

They consist of hundreds of people, which is more than an average graduate class.

Mode of teaching

Most undergraduate classes consist of lectures and group discussions. Lecturers often used the mode of teaching that their students can understand and remember.

Graduates use a way of teaching that is suitable for a small number of students. The lecture hall is very interactive. Topics outside the syllabus are brought up and discussed.

Length of the program

A bachelor’s degree is acquired within four years, while an associate degree usually takes two years. If you want to proceed to a bachelor’s degree program from an associate program, you will have two extra years.

The Master’s degree program is completed within the space of two to three years, while the doctoral program takes four to six years, depending on what the program entails.

Undergraduate courses lay the main foundation

Without an undergraduate degree, you cannot go further for a graduate degree. The undergraduate program is the main foundation to acquiring a graduate degree.

Undergraduates study numerous courses to be able to gain the basic knowledge needed to earn a graduate degree.


Undergraduate students take 6-8 courses which are more than that of a graduate. Graduates’ programs require more reading and researching because fewer examinations, assignments, and projects are to be taken. You are expected to illustrate what you have learned in the field.

Job earnings

People who have graduate degrees earn higher salaries than an undergraduate. Graduates have more job opportunities than an undergraduate. You will have an advantage over others who are seeking the job. Graduate degrees increase your possibility of promotion roles.

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