Considering the terminologies involved in an educational system, it is not surprising that you are confused. What makes matters worst are the variety of educational systems being applied in different parts of the world. The field of study is also an influencing factor. Nonetheless, the following article gives you a quick grasp of what the terms mean.
Definition of the post secondary education Post secondary education is also known as the undergraduate education. This is the education that you undergo upon completion of your secondary education and prior to obtaining your first (bachelor's) degree. However, this may vary in certain educational systems and subjects. For instance, in certain parts of Europe, post secondary education stretches from a bachelor's degree (undergraduate) to a master's degree (post graduate).
Studying in college
Tertiary education Upon completing the secondary school, most people opt to go to college. The undergraduate courses offered here generally fall into the category of pre-university, certificate courses and diploma studies. Pre-university studies Highly academic studies such as medicine and law require pre-university studies like A-level or matriculation. The duration of study is between one and two years. Certificate and diploma courses Regardless, without completing pre-university studies, you will usually have to do a one year study in 'foundation' prior to taking a diploma course. Otherwise, you may have to pass the certification level (which usually takes one year) before proceeding to diploma (which usually takes two to four years). Many business and engineering students take this route. Again, this varies from one educational system to another and depends on the field of study.
Studying in university
Bachelor's degree Upon completion of pre-university studies or a diploma course, you can attend a university to obtain a degree in the same field. As a degree holder, you are a graduate. Master's degree Subsequently, you can choose to pursue post graduate studies such as a master's degree. The best known ones are Master of Arts (M.A.) and Master of Science (M.S. or M.Sc.). Academic or professional degree A doctorate (Ph. D.) or Doctor of Philosophy falls into the category of post graduate studies. There are four kinds of doctorate and they are: 1. Research doctorate 2. Higher doctorate 3. Professional doctorate 4. Honorary doctorate