Polytechnic Versus University: what’s the difference

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A university is a high-level educational institution where students can pursue degrees and conduct academic research. Polytechnic, on the other hand, has been defined as a technical engineering education or engineering diploma program that emphasizes practical and skill-oriented instruction. Listed below are the differences between a university and a Polytechnic.

Differences Between a University and a Polytechnic

Duration of Study

In polytechnics, the duration of study is 5 years; the first stage(ND) is done for two years, after which students undergo a compulsory one-year industrial Training (IT), after which the second stage (HND) is done for another two years.

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While, in university, it is usually a 4-year course starting from year one to the final year. Although, certain courses such as Agriculture, Engineering, and Medical can be 5 years or more.

In polytechnics, (ND) graduates can work with the National Diploma certificate even without completing the HND. While in universities, it can’t be done the same way until the student has completed the 4-5 years course.


In polytechnic, HND is the highest certificate offered to students, while in universities, the highest certificate offered is Bsc, B.Eng,

Polytechnics expose the student to more practical experiences than universities. During the ND level, students go for SIWES and after the program, they go for 1 year of IT which exposes them more to practicals. University students only go for IT during 300 level.

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Without more schooling, HND holders cannot advance above level 14 in any government parastatal, whereas degree holders can advance to the top of the ladder without any extra qualifications.


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