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Graduate Diploma Dilemma (Doing a Diploma in your Degree Subject)

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    • Thread Starter


    I graduated in 2008 with a 1st class in Business Economics from Kingston university. I tried to get into an economics role for around a year but had no luck. I did stints of work experience in different capacities (one was with financial advisers, a very small firm and another was accountancy). I was unemployed for long periods too. For the last year I've been working for my dad, he's also a financial adviser as he needed someone to help him and I needed something to do (as I couldn't get a job). I have been thinking carefully about what I want to do and the only thing I am interested in is economics.

    But the school I graduated from was no where near the best and I lack alot of the knowledge required for even entry level roles. So I applied for the Birkbeck College diploma in economics.

    Now I am wandering if doing a diploma in the subject you graduated in is a stupid thing to do. I have never heard of that. I mean, birkbeck do say the diploma is for people who did economics a long time ago (which is me) aswell as other degree holders. I don't want to do a masters as quite frankly I don't think I would be able to cope. That's why I want to do the diploma as covers the core in depth from the beginning. My economic knowledge is of a newbie as I did it over 4 years ago and not from the most established place I guess (no offense to kingston, i thoroughly enjoyed the degree and experience).

    But how are employers going to view this, seeing that I did a diploma (rather than say a masters) in a subject I already have a degree in, lol. And also the fact that I will be 28 once I'm done with the diploma.

    Sorry for the length, I thought I'd just give a bit of detail to let you know where I am coming from.

    I'd really appreciate any advice and views.


    I am not an economist but why don´t you consider to do a Master´s in economics? Is that nothing you might be interested in?


    Hello there!

    Business Economics is a less rigorous degree in terms of mathematics. There is more emphasis on understanding the process via graphs and simplified equations. Traditional Economics degrees are very technical. It's not unusual to see students who only know how to handle the mathematics without really understanding the theory behind it. i.e its very different from Business Economics.

    The reason you have not been able to land a job as an economist is because you lack the technical part, which is exactly economists do. In many cases, a postgraduate degree in Economics is required for a traditional economist positions. Some may take a fresh L100 graduate from a top rated programme for a year or two, before sending him to do his masters and even PhD.

    Diploma in Economics is a conversion course designed for graduates who did not study traditional economics degrees, and want to do a postgraduate course in Economics. It is also suitable for you because it will be a requirement for you to do one should you want to do a masters degree in Economics. It will give you the technical foundation required for the masters. It's essentially technical, core undergraduate modules such as micro, macro and econometrics.

    I would not recommend you to take the diploma as it is unlikely to suffice as a credential for an economist position without a complementing masters degree. Moreover, you expressed reluctance to read a masters degree because you didn't think you could handle it. The diploma is also technical so you are likely to struggle with that too. Finally, if you think the technical aspects of a masters degree are too much for you to handle, then you should reconsider your choice of profession. It is very technical.

    Hope this helps. Good luck! :-)

    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my GT-N7000

    PGD is basically from what I can tell in most cases (correct me if I'm wrong) a msc just without the "extra" dissertation. Heck I'm sure most places would allow you to drop back onto the diploma if they thought you were struggling.

    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my HTC Hero

    It's not an MSc. It's undergraduate modules from second and third years.

    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my GT-N7000

    Most GDE's are conversion type course and are not on the MSc level, they are on the basic BSc level. That said, I've looked at the BBK GDE and it looks very mathsy to me.

    There are others which don't look as bad, so may want to look at that. Btw for what it's worth I don't just cause a an econs course has a lot of maths in it necessarily makes it good.

    It has to applied to the subject and a lot of what I see, the maths seemed to just be chucked on top of the economics.

    1. A Graduate Diploma is usually the taught part of a Masters without the thesis

    2. A Masters or Diploma can be a good way of changing direction or getting a specific education eg "Management in China" or "International Management"

    3. A diploma in a subject in which you have a UG degree is likely to add less value than one in an adjacent or related subject because of suspicions of overlap. This is especially true if you take it at the same institution.

    If you are not already committed, my advice would be to set out on a flexible part-time Masters that could augment your UG degree, and give you time to breathe while you continue to look for that first break.

    • Thread Starter

    Been away for a few days, thank you all for your input.

    Rex Regis, thanks for your reply. I would just like to say that the reason for me not being able to do a masters is because I feel I am not prepared for it, not because I lack the ability. That is one of the main reasons the diploma is there for. To prepare students for the masters. I think once I have a solid grounding in quants (not saying its going to be easy) which the diploma teaches you I would be able to do the MSc.

    From what I understand the diploma at birkbeck puts you on par with students who have done undergrad econ degrees from the top schools. And some of these folk do end up in entry level positions without a masters as you pointed out but I do admit, the majority of roles these days do require a masters or it is preferred.

    I do agree with you about the possibility of the diploma not landing me in an entry position. This is what is making me hesitant. If it was a few years ago, I would be able to take two years out and do the diploma and the masters one after the other. However, I want to be in some sort of role after doing the diploma (I am not getting younger), I don't want to take another year out and do the masters before I am still unsure about where this whole plan is going. The price for the masters comes into it too.

    TBD, the above explains my reason for wanting to or not being able to do a part time masters.

    I am swaying towards doing the diploma. Maybe I should do that and then assess the situation from there? I don't know, I'm pretty confused.
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