A General Overview of Tertiary Education and Certificate Programs


A General Overview of Tertiary Education and Certificate Programs

In this post, we will provide the definition of tertiary education and its significance, describe various levels of degree and higher degree programs.

What Is Tertiary Education?

Tertiary education is any form of post-secondary education where a student gains field-related experience and skills. By most contexts, tertiary education is ranked in the third level. In general, the tertiary level of education, in no particular order would include diploma certificates, associate’s certificate, master's and bachelor's degree certificates, undergraduate and postgraduate certificates, etc.

Also, depending on the body of authority or country, higher education can vary. For example, UNESCO states that tertiary education includes academic and higher vocational education.

Meanwhile, in countries like the U.K., tertiary education includes Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE).

During the 1900s era, students would typically take vocational courses in FE, graduate and obtain an A-level certificate and then move up into HE. However, Australia’s education system clearly differs from the British one. Here, tertiary education includes private colleges, universities, Further Education and Technical Education (TE). While Australian education portrays a bit of simplicity, it appears European-based tertiary education is the simplest. All forms include only universities except for France where tertiary education has been placed on the fifth level. Countries like U.S. operate their tertiary schools quite differently. Higher education is decentralized and organized mainly by the government. It includes private and public schools, secular, urban, suburban and rural.

Importance Of Tertiary Education

Overall, the role of tertiary education in our modern society cannot be overemphasized. The following are the various ways higher education helps humankind:

  1. It generates more workforce: tertiary schools are the talent pool of any country. Studying courses past the high school level provide a specific set of skills needed in various economic sectors. They include soft and hard skills as well as technical and transferable ones. Conducting certificate oriented coursework is an effective way of putting graduate experience on the market to sell.
  2. It creates graduate jobs: employability is designed as a continuous cycle. The more graduates there are in a given state, the more jobs will emerge. Such designed job fields include entrepreneurship, arts and culture management, and education-based employments like teaching.
  3. Tertiary Education boosts skills and certificates: degrees and higher degrees like master's, undergraduate, doctoral, associate’s degree and diploma certificates can help both people with relevant work experience and those with raw skills to grow. Likewise, research can be conducted by a skilled personnel to prove certain phenomena. This kind of certificates can be presented during qualification interviews and level promotions.
  4. Higher Education attracts foreign investors: nowadays, foreign investments have gone past the physical building. These days, it includes outsourcing employees. A very good example is Ukraine IT industry which is about the biggest in Eastern Europe. The reason behind this is Ukraine’s education system. Every year, so many IT graduates are birthed. Ukraine has very savvy IT master schools and their degree certificates reflect their graduates’ skills.

Degree and Certificate Types

There exist various forms of higher certificates, courses and degrees. The different degrees include:

  1. Associate’s Degree Certificate. The associate’s level program takes two years to complete.This certificate is given ahead of entry into graduate courses like graphic design and education-based studies like Business Education and Agric Education. The attainable associate degree certificate includes:
  • Associate Of Applied Science
  • Associate Of Arts
  • Associate Of Science  

Undergraduate Course Programs


  1. Bachelor’s Degree. This tertiary education degree is mostly designed according to a 4-year coursework. It’s the first real tertiary experience students gain after they complete high school education. After the 4 years mark, graduates can pursue jobs in the relevant industry depending on the course they have studied. Bachelor’s degree certificate types include:
  • Bachelor Of Arts
  • Bachelor Of Science
  • Bachelor Of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor Of Applied Science
  1. Honors Program. The honors coursework certificate is for one year and can be done after obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
  1. Double Degree Certificates. The undergraduate bachelor’s degree course can be combined. In this case, it is called a double degree. A shorter period of studies is granted the students as opposed to when two bachelor degrees are obtained independently.

Postgraduate Course Programs


  1. Graduate Certificate. Graduate certificates, unlike undergraduate ones, are mostly vocational-based. The coursework is designed to improve specialized skills in particular fields of study.  
  1. Graduate Diploma. This graduate-level certificate is made for those students who have gone through an initial undergraduate program experience. It is designed for two years with 3 semesters.
  1. Graduate Level Master. Some graduate school intakes may require more than just undergraduate certificates for prospective students to qualify for admission. A graduate-level master certificate can serve as an extra boost to the main certificates.

Higher Degrees Based On Research


A higher degree that is based on research will include thesis and coursework supervised by both associate professors and professors. When compared to an undergraduate level degree or postgraduate diplomas, higher certificates come with much higher numbers of research.
  1. Master Of Philosophy Certificates. Most graduates of an undergraduate course or a postgraduate degree take up master's research studies after a complete syllabus. They aim to specialize in a specific field and to broaden their knowledge during masters. It could equally be in preparation for a job or a higher administrative position. Master's degree certificate types are as follows:
  • Master Of Arts
  • Master Of Science
  • Master Of Business Administration
  • Master Of Fine Arts
  1. Doctor Of Philosophy Certificates. A doctoral research program deals with finding out new concepts or theories or even ideas that could be useful in solving real-world situations. This certificate described as the peak for some scholars. Additionally, research papers will be written using the in-depth knowledge drawn from new discoveries. Types of doctoral certificates include:
  • Doctor Of Philosophy
  • Doctor Of Medicine
  • Doctor Of Dental Surgery
  • Juris Doctor

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