Difference Between Undergraduate and Graduate

A college education is of prime importance in a student’s life. Looking at the industry standards in this present generation, a minimum of a graduate degree is considered for employment.


Education Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to education

1 / 10

What is the capital of the country France?

2 / 10

Who is the author of the famous novel "Pride and Prejudice"?

3 / 10

What is the study of government and political systems called?

4 / 10

Who painted the famous artwork “The Starry Night”?

5 / 10

What is the capital of the country Greece?

6 / 10

GPA is considered important as it is required for taking admission into the Bachelor's and Master's degree programme. State true or false.

7 / 10

What is the study of light and color called?

8 / 10

What is the basic unit of life?

9 / 10

Who wrote the famous novel “Dracula”?

10 / 10

What is the highest degree that can be earned in a university?

Your score is


There are many courses available in the bachelor’s as well as a master’s degree. The colleges will have several undergraduate and graduate programs available for the benefit of the students.

The students at college will also be of different educational backgrounds. A few may be enrolled right out of school, and a few would have completed a bachelor’s degree in the same or any other college and joined a master’s degree program.

Overall, there are only two types of degree programs available for students. One is the undergraduate, and the other is the graduate degree program.

Key Takeaways

  1. Undergraduate education refers to the first level of post-secondary education, usually leading to a bachelor’s degree, where students acquire a broad foundation in a chosen field of study.
  2. Graduate education is the next level of post-secondary education, encompassing master’s and doctoral degree programs, where students gain advanced knowledge and skills in a specialized area, often involving research and the completion of a thesis or dissertation.
  3. The primary difference between undergraduate and graduate education lies in specialization and depth of study, with undergraduate programs providing a foundational education and graduate programs focusing on advanced knowledge and research.

Undergraduate vs Graduate

For those with a bachelor’s degree already, a graduate programme is a 1–6-year college master’s degree programme. It has 4 courses. While an undergraduate programme might be a 2-year associate degree programme or a 4-year college bachelor’s degree programme. Undergraduates have 5-7 courses.

Undergraduate vs Graduate

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonUndergraduateGraduate
Eligibility CriteriaA candidate who has completed high school or an equivalent High school diploma or GED (General Education Development) is eligible to join a bachelor’s degree program at a college as an undergraduate student.A candidate is considered eligible to join the college only when he/she has a bachelor’s degree to do a master’s degree program.
Course/DegreeThe candidate will get his/her bachelor’s degree once the course is completed successfully. Some students join associate degree programs after school, and once they complete them, they get their respective degrees in hand.The candidate shall get a master’s or doctoral degree based on what he/she has opted for.
Candidate’s Age groupThe students who apply for an undergraduate will be between 17 to 20 years.The age group of students is a bit higher than undergraduate students, generally above 21 years.
Duration of the ProgramA bachelor’s degree is anywhere between 3 to 4 years, whereas an associate’s degree is for 2 years.A master’s degree will take up to 2 years to complete, whereas a doctoral course may go beyond 6 years also.
Evaluation of the GradesPredominantly undergraduate programs have exams as the only mode of evaluation which can grant them grades.Research Projects, Presentations, and at times, publication of the research work will be considered for their grades.


Who is Undergraduate?

An undergraduate degree is for students who graduated successfully from high school and wants to study more by joining a college and taking their preferred choice of subject. Undergraduate degree courses offer solid fundamental knowledge to the students through theory as well as practical application.

Undergraduate degree programs have two categories in it. One is the bachelor’s degree program, and the other is the associate degree program.

Bachelor’s degree program may take up to 4 years to complete it. An associate degree program takes just 2 years to complete it.

A Bachelor’s degree is always considered far more knowledgeable than an associate degree. The students can also opt to study bachelor’s after completing their associate program; this may also result in reduced duration and does not take beyond 2 more years to complete the same.

At the undergraduate level, students get to learn a lot of things in many domains. This is considered vast, as the chosen subject will have many industrial applications, leading them to learn many fundamental aspects.

Regular examinations or evaluations are conducted to understand the student’s learning capacity. This happens both as a theoretical as well as practical examination.

Simply put, an Undergraduate degree is the first study in a specific domain after high school. Graduating with flying colours may open a lot of opportunities for a master’s degree with a scholarship.


Who is Graduate?

A graduate degree is for students who already have a bachelor’s degree from college and wants to study further in a specific area of their choice. Graduate degree courses are advanced courses that involve a lot of research work in the chosen field.

Graduate degree programs are of two categories, a Master’s degree and a Doctoral degree. A Master’s degree program lasts 2 years to complete it whereas Doctoral programs may go beyond 6 years to complete it.

A graduate degree is a specialized version of the study of the discipline chosen in the bachelor’s degree. The student gets to apply the fundamentals learned in the bachelor’s and gain more knowledge to implement something new.

The graduate degree courses are mostly self-study, and the classroom sessions are limited. It is expected of the student to refer to books from the library and do their research using the college’s infrastructure.

The teacher intervention in a graduate degree program is more, as the student can approach the specialized faculty member to clarify their doubts in the area of research. The student’s exposure towards the subject is extensive, as they can reach any level during their graduate degree program.

A graduate degree program can also be done part-time while the student is working in the same field. This gives them practical knowledge.


Main Differences Between Undergraduate and Graduate

  1. The main difference between undergraduate and graduate degrees is the student can get a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree right after school. In contrast, a graduate degree can be earned only if he/she has a bachelor’s degree at college.
  2. Undergraduate students learn the fundamentals of the chosen field extensively. Graduate courses allow the student to specialize in a specific subject area.
  3. The duration to complete an undergraduate course is a maximum of 4 years, whereas a graduate degree can be procured in 2 to 6 years, depending on the degree opted.
  4. The students are graded on their examination scores at the undergraduate level, whereas the graduate level entitles presentation and project reports as the evaluation criteria to grade the students.
  5. At the undergraduate level, the teacher’s guidance is more, but in the case of graduate degree courses, it is limited, and students have to switch to self-study mode to perform well.
Difference Between Undergraduate and Graduate
  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2005-05100-011
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ978906
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *