Consider these post-grad education options: Part 3


Please see Part 1 and Part 2 of Alison Backman‘s series comparing MBAs and post-grad diploma programs, as well as her article on Recent trends in post-grad business education options.

Have you figured out which program is best for you? Great. But there are other things to consider: time and money!

So, let’s talk numbers. The figures below give you a general idea of the costs, time commitment and admissions requirements for MBA and post-grad diploma programs in Canada. Some are shorter or longer, more or less expensive, and have specific entry requirements. Do your own research to determine the exact requirements for the program you’re interested in.


An MBA is one of the most expensive master’s programs in Canada. The tuition varies greatly depending on the school, not the province. MBAs are high in cost, but they often pay off in the long run with larger salaries. Admission requirements also vary, so be sure to check with your top schools to see the specific requirements and costs. Study for your graduate management admission test (GMAT) early (3-6 months before your test) because some schools require applications before others. The GMAT must be booked in advance and scores take 21 days to be sent to schools.

Length of program: 1-2 years
Admission requirements: B-average or above in an undergraduate degree in any discipline
GMAT score: 550 or greater
Work experience: 2 years full-time
Extras: Essays, resumé, references, interview
Cost: Average $25,000, with full-time programs ranging from $14,000 to $60,000
Application deadlines: January 15th through May31st (September start)

Preparing for the GMAT, or GRE? Post-graduate diploma

Although post-graduate programs are found throughout Canada, the majority are within Ontario. However, other provinces offer advanced diploma programs which require a foundation in business or an undergraduate degree.

Length of program: 8-12 months
Admission requirements: Undergraduate degree in any discipline
Extras: Varies between schools – resumés, essays and interviews are sometimes required
Cost: $3,000 to $5,000
Application deadlines: Many programs operate on a “first come, first served” basis since programs begin throughout the year. Generally before February 1st for a September start date.

A few things to note:

  • Scholarships for both programs are limited, so most students are self-funded.
  • Remember to factor in books, living expenses, spending money, etc.
  • Check out the websites and read up. Schools will send you packages detailing their programs for you and if you still have questions, email or call. Remember, schools want students! Enquire away!
  • In terms of admissions requirements, MBAs require more preparation and look at undergraduate marks and work experience.
  • The post-graduate diploma programs tend to be a little less time consuming, but there is not a significant difference.

The main difference: THE PRICE!

About the author

Alison Backman is a student at Ryerson University's Global MBA program, with an interest in international business and marketing. She holds a BA in psychology and sociology from Acadia University. After completing university, she worked with the YMCA at a not-for-profit children's camp and travelled Central America. This past year, she completed a marketing post-graduate program at Humber College.