Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand are renowned for the quality of tertiary education. Diplomas of these countries are recognised all over the world. However, each country has its own education system and gradation of diplomas and certificates. In this article, you will find a general comparative characteristic of educational systems by country.
Australia, New Zealand and Ireland
In Australia, New Zealand and Ireland tertiary education systems are similar and consist of 10 levels.
Diplomas and certificates from 1 to 6 levels are considered Vocational Education and Training. In Ireland, level 1-5 certificates are called Further Education.
The first stage of higher education is a bachelor’s degree. It corresponds to level 7. Training takes 3-4 years.
There are several intermediate diplomas and certificates between bachelor’s and master’s degrees lasting from 6 months to 1 year. For example, Graduate Diploma is intended for those who already have a bachelor’s degree but want to retrain in a related speciality. Training at the Graduate Diploma lasts only 1 year, so those who wish to change their field do not need to study again at the Bachelor’s degree for 3 years.
Next is the master’s, which is considered a very high scientific degree. In the master’s program, they usually give in-depth theoretical knowledge in a narrow area. Often, training involves writing a thesis and serious scientific research.
PhD studies are the tenth and the highest level of education. It involves a long work on a scientific project and takes 3-4 years.
The United Kingdom
The British system served as the basis for Australia, Ireland and New Zealand’s educational systems, therefore in the United Kingdom, the qualification framework has a lot in common with these two countries. However, the main difference is that in the British system, there are not 10 levels, but 9. Entry Level is the lowest. A bachelor’s degree is at level 6, and a PhD is at level 8. Also, the number of different titles of certificates, diplomas and degrees is very diverse.
It is worth noting that the qualification framework in Scotland is different from that of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are 12 qualification levels, where the Bachelor’s degree takes level 9.
In Canada, the tertiary education system differs depending on the province or territory, so it is difficult to divide it into levels. Tertiary education in Canada can also be divided into vocational education and higher education. Vocational education can be considered all diplomas and certificates below the Bachelor’s degree.
As a rule, the very first vocational certificates can be obtained in high school. These are usually basic skills in trades such as carpentry or joinery. It can also be preparatory courses for admission to a university or college for an undergraduate degree.
Next, come the diplomas and certificates that are taught in colleges. There, the student already receives all the practical knowledge and skills necessary for work in the profession. In addition to trades qualifications, it can already be engineering, business, IT, graphic design, etc.
Higher education is a Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees. Unlike other countries, Canada has no intermediate diplomas or certificates between bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
You can compare the educational systems of the Canadian provinces and territories here.