Like Harvard, Oxford has a continuing education college that awards postgraduate certificates. However they also award postgraduate diplomas which are the same thing but with slightly longer courses. Although looking at the course lengths listed, they don’t look much longer. And a diploma sounds much better than some certificate.
I love the idea of academic regalia. You can see someone’s qualification right on there sleeve down to their degree level and field of study. In the states this is pretty much only worn on graduation day. At Oxford though, there are many more occasions. So can I weasel my way into Oxford reading for a diploma and spend my time in sub fusc or academic gowns? Well it depends…
For some reason not every diploma student is considered a “member of the university”. For example students studying for an organizational leadership diploma are not members but students studying for the diplomacy diploma are members. Non-members of the college don’t wear sub fusc but according to wikipedia may wear the regalia of their former academic institution, which I would love to do since Harvard’s regalia heritage stems from Oxford but I doubt there would be any events for a non-member student to wear full academic dress. No diploma students attend graduation but member students do attend matriculation in academic dress. There are some accounts of diploma students wearing academic dress but I’m not sure when they wear it: “It felt like I was living and breathing history. Walking through the hallowed corridors of learning towards lectures, your head held just a little bit higher in anticipation, it never disappointed. Put on the gown, and that Oxford thing becomes even more real.” -Gilke Eeckhoudt, Diploma in Global Business
Taking a close look at the programs I noticed the difference was that the cohort of the Post Graduate Diploma in Diplomatic Studies was combined with a cohort of Master’s students in Diplomatic Studies. They seem to be the same cohort with the same application competing for the same slots. The difference? The Master’s course is 3 months longer from 9 months to 12 months… At that point just go for the Masters degree.
Non-member students are also only associate members of their college. Colleges being like houses at Harvard or collages at Yale not like college departments at other US universities. Students of diplomacy get to choose their college being full member students, students of organizational leadership can apply for associate membership of only Pembroke college. I guess the question now is “what are the limitations of associate membership?” Are associate members allowed to compete on their college’s rowing team or live at the college? That’ll be something to ask when I have my GI bill in 6 years and hopefully finish an assignment as a military attaché for that diplomatic qualification.