What Is Tertiary Education?

Tertiary education refers to any type of education pursued beyond the high school level. This includes diplomas, undergraduate and graduate certificates, and associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees.

Defining Tertiary Education

Tertiary education, more commonly referred to as postsecondary education, refers to academic pursuit undertaken after high school. Undergraduate programs include any postsecondary education that takes up to four years to complete, including certificates, diplomas, and associate's and bachelor's degrees. Graduate programs typically require prior completion of an undergraduate degree and include diploma, certificate, master's and doctoral degree programs. You can find tertiary education programs at vocational schools, community colleges, technical schools, professional schools, colleges and universities.

Important Facts About Tertiary Education

Financial Aid Available via your university, private organizations, and the federal and state government
Online Availability Offered at the associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels; undergraduate and graduate certificate programs are also offered online
Prerequisites A minimum GPA, requisite coursework, standardized test score submission
Program Goals Ascertain a master level of field knowledge, perform extensive research, achieve professionalism

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are designed for students who want career training that allows them to begin their career within a short period of time. Many certificate programs can be completed in six months to one year with full-time study. For example, you can find certificate programs that will train you for an entry-level job as an automobile mechanic or welder.

Undergraduate Degree Programs

You'll be able to complete most undergraduate degree programs in two or four years, and most programs consist of an organized curriculum that includes general education, core and elective courses. True to their name, general education courses typically cover general topics in English, math, the natural sciences and humanities. Your core courses will focus on your major area of study (for example, nursing or engineering), while your electives generally will complement that major.

Graduate Degree Programs

Master's degree programs are designed to build upon your undergraduate academic experience through advanced courses and independent research opportunities. Master's programs in some fields, such as education, will also require you to obtain professional experience.

Doctoral degree programs allow you to continue research or coursework from your master's-level work. After several years of coursework and research, you'll produce a dissertation or doctoral thesis to obtain your degree.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Most graduate certificate programs are designed for students who have an undergraduate degree, as well as work experience, and are trying to expand their knowledge and skill set in that field. You also can use a graduate certificate program to prepare for a graduate degree program, since many schools accept graduate certificate credits toward master's degrees.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. Next »