Postgraduate Certificates and Postgraduate Diplomas are equivalent to one and two thirds of a master's respectively. They are available to those with a Bachelor's degree to provide them with specialised, but less extensive, knowledge. They can involve vocational or academic learning, and are offered in a wide variety of subjects. Both Diplomas and Certificates take up to a year to complete, depending on whether you study full-time or part-time.
They are often studied by those looking to enter a particular profession. The best example of this is the PGCert in education (PGCE), taken by state school teachers in the UK.
Applications are done directly through universities or institutions and the process may differ, although all will require a Bachelor's degree. The current approximate cost for a PGDip is £10,000, while PGCerts will cost slightly less. As they are postgraduate qualifications, there are no maintenance loans available. However, students can apply for a higher education bank loan and some courses, such as the PGCE are paid for by the government.
Because of the emphasis on teaching and lectures, on completion of either a PGCert or PGDip, you can go straight into the workplace or 'top-up' your qualification with a dissertation, to make it a full Master's.