Differences Between Diploma and National/Advanced Diploma (ND)

This post will be of help if you’d wanted to find answers to a series of questions including:

  1. What is the difference between a diploma and a national diploma?
  2. What is the difference between a diploma and a degree?
  3. Diploma or degree which is better?
  4. What is a diploma equivalent to?

It will also clarify terms including:

  1. Advanced Diploma
  2. Diploma Certificate
  3. Using Diploma for jobs

Please note that this information is more relevant to Nigerian situations. In the case of other countries, there may be some differences.

National Diploma

The National Diploma programme is also called an ND program in polytechnic. This was formerly the Ordinary National Diploma (OND). It’s a two-year programme if on a full-time basis but 3 years if part-time. However, daily part-time also adopt two-year 4 semesters stand like the full-time.
After completing it you can either obtain JAMB DE form and gain admission to the 200 level of any related course or obtain the HND form of the same or any polytechnic or college for the same or related course.
ND is acceptable for admission to any university through JAMB DE. And any polytechnic can accept it for the HND admission.


A diploma is a programme run by universities. After completing it, some universities will give you 200 level admission through the JAMB DE.
In the case of a diploma, only the university that conducts the programme can accept you for admission into 200 level of the related course.

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Certificate Diploma

And in most cases, these Diplomas are just treated as the certificates with which you can secure jobs or add value to your qualifications. For instance, the Kwara State University, Ilorin runs a Diploma in Law and Certificate in Legal Studies. The school accepts it for admission into a 200 level course and also recommends it for career chase. The same is the case of the Diploma programme of Yobe State University in several courses.
Note that ND or Diploma courses are usually opened to holders of SSCE – WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, and their equivalents. 

Advanced Diplomas

These are more available and perfect for working people. It helps to upgrade them for their fields or industries. Some schools call these professional courses or certificate courses.
It’s usually opened to holders of BSc, HND, or higher.

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