Microcredentials or degrees: what’s the best option for you?

As careers and ways of working adapt to our social and economic needs, new ways of accessing and experiencing learning are also evolving. From microcredentials and degrees, to podcasts and TED talks, the diversification of education has made it easier for professionals to find what suits their needs best. Extra knowledge, deeper understanding and adaptable abilities can all help enhance professional resilience in the face of rapid change. But where to start when deciding on the most appropriate options for acquiring new and deepening skills and knowledge?

An adult student in class listening to teacher

Whether you choose to explore a more traditional graduate degree or newer, more targeted formats such as microcredentials, understanding their fundamental scope, scale and setting is important. Are you upskilling to dive deeper into existing know-how or reskilling to add value via a related area or interest? Either way, the key question is what is fit for your purpose? By unpacking these considerations, professionals are most likely to find the option best suited to their current learning needs and goals, as well as their situation.

Postgraduate degrees such as Masters and Graduate Diplomas are well-established options for professionals. These courses are at the more formal end of the education spectrum and are typically undertaken across several years on-campus or completely online. In this context, they excel at providing both the time and the peer-to-peer community environment for students to truly immerse themselves in the culture, theory and history of their preferred profession, industry or discipline.

With an abundance of expertise, depth and detail to explore, and innovative ways to do so, leading degrees such as those offered by The University of Melbourne work with some of today’s most prominent minds to help position graduates as the leaders of tomorrow. Student intake opportunities and application requirements vary by establishment and course, with The University of Melbourne offering start-of-year and mid-year entry across more than 100 areas of continuing professional education.

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Whilst degrees and diplomas provide a comprehensive journey into a particular field of study, more targeted and time sensitive methods of skill acquisition are also available. Microcredentials actively lean into the idea of curating and maintaining a portfolio of lifelong learning in personal and professional lives. From specific skills and professional knowledge, to interdisciplinary approaches and leadership dispositions, courses can be developed relatively rapidly and with the workplace in mind, to match sought-after capabilities in the job market. Their short and structured design allows learners to hone-in on a specific piece of content at pace, refresh their knowledge and bridge a gap missing from their on-the-job experience.

The University of Melbourne’s suite of bite-sized, online or face-to-face administered courses – Melbourne MicroCerts – are designed in partnership with leading industry collaborators and world-class academics to provide a high standard of relevant and timely education. Whether focused on people, technology or sustainability, power skills or hard, the courses incorporate theory with a strong push towards practical application. Professionals will then be able to apply these targeted skills swiftly and meaningfully amongst organisations and industries as their work practices pivot.

An older person in the library

Once you have decided upon a course, enrolling for and accessing your microcredentials is easy and convenient. The University of Melbourne’s courses vary in length from a few days up to a few months, depending on the Melbourne MicroCert, with regular intake sessions. Successfully completed courses culminate in a certified and resumé-ready digital certificate that represents the applied knowledge and practical skills secured. Certifications can be collected to support diverse career paths, including those of degree-holders, with rich, current and practical education. Plus, some Melbourne MicroCerts are even designed to enable ‘stacking’, which can unlock credit towards a future degree qualification.

There are multiple ways to engage in upskilling once you’ve confirmed your desired area of interest. If you are looking for a course that is flexible and targeted to your industry and career, a microcredentials offers you a short-form structure to suit your needs. Melbourne MicroCerts from The University of Melbourne allow you to upskill or reskill in a range of independent or interconnected subjects critical to ongoing professional and future workplace relevance. Start exploring education in a new way with us today.


With special thanks to:

  • Associate Professor Josephine Lang, PhD | Academic Program Director, HASS – Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences including Law and Education