Weighing the pros and cons of diploma and college foundations

Published by Afterschool.my on Jan 07, 2015, 02:27 pm

There are many different pre-university programmes available in Malaysia, and among them are diploma and college foundations. Although, these two pre-university programmes are an entry requirement to a degree, both have salient differences that need to be considered carefully.

thinking student


When it comes to speed, a college foundation is a fast route to getting a degree. The programme takes one year to complete whereas a diploma can take two years. College foundation is also easy because the examinations are given at the end of each semester hence students can focus on subjects and take exams piecemeal. After one year, the student can proceed to taking a degree.

Getting a job

Diploma programmes are highly time-effective and perfect for those who want to spend less time and money on their education. With their concentrated classes and practical skills, a diploma can be a good option for those who want to be trained and qualified for a particular business or trade.

The reason for this is because a diploma is much like a degree except that its level and syllabus only covers the first year of university studies. A diploma is perfect for students who want to take up design (fashion, multimedia, interior, or graphics) culinary arts, nursing, radiography and medical imaging, and other related fields.

Content focus

While diploma prepares a student to take on a job, college foundations help students adapt to university life. The content in foundation programmes is focused and is designed to help increase academic knowledge, study skills as well as improve English language competence.

The content in diploma, meanwhile, tends to focus on skills development, and the use of technologies and computer programmes relevant to your field. Furthermore, it is also suited to those who need to improve their maths skills because most diploma courses cover subjects like accounting, maths and finance.

Flexibility and recognition

Sometimes called ‘feeder programmes’, college foundations is designed specifically for a degree programme offered by the same university hence, this is for students who already know the course and university they want.

Students planning to go for medicine, pharmacy, or dentistry should consider college foundations (foundations in science) because it helps save on time and money. However, foundation programmes have its limitations and among them are the narrow opportunities to study in other local and foreign universities.


If you are strapped on cash, a diploma holder is more likely to find more scholarship grants than a student who completed college foundations. College foundations, as mentioned previously, are only recognized by the same institution that conferred it.


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