University vs Polytechnic: Which One is Better/Higher?

One of the most frequently asked questions from candidates aspiring for a tertiary Education in Nigeria is “between University and Polytechnic, which is the best option“?


Before I continue, I’m not here to judge. I have to warn you upfront though. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion.

You’re actually going to judge yourself whether to go for university or polytechnic. Then, I will give you my personal opinion.


lets talk about the awards;

In polytechnics, you will earn two awards:

  1. National Diploma: This is the first stage of polytechnic education. It’s a two-year programme if admitted through JAMB or daily part-time. A three-year programme if admitted for a regular Part-time.
  2. Higher National Diploma: This is the second stage of polytechnic education. You go for this after ND and one-year industrial Training (IT). It’s equivalent to BSC.

Whereas, Bsc is usually a 4-year course starting from year one to the final year. Certain courses such as engineering, agriculture and medical can be 5 years or more.

What is the difference between polytechnic and university in Nigeria?

To Make things pretty easy the table below shows the major difference between university and polytechnic in Nigeria.

In University the minimum duration of your programme depends on the course of study. It can be 3, 4, 5, 6 or even 7 years.In Polytechnic your minimum duration of study is 5 years. Two years for National Diploma (ND), one year compulsory Industrial training (IT), two years for (HND)
You can study any course in a University; Science, Arts, Law, Medicine, Engineering, Social Science and Commercial courses.In Polytechnic you can’t study courses like Medicine and Surgery, medical related courses, Law, and some social science course.
After completing your course in University, and you graduate with at least second class lower, you can go for a Master Degree in your programme.After completing your HND Programme in a Polytechnic, you can’t apply for a Masters Degree with just your HND Certificate. You must do a compulsory one year Postgraduate Diploma (PGD).
Tussle for Admission is Once: Once you gain admission into a Nigerian University to attain your first degree, you don’t need any other entrance examination to get your Degree. Say you gained admission to study Statistics, you won’t write any other entrance examination again. You just need to write semester examinations.Tussle for Admission is Twice: In Polytechnic, there is ND and HND. First you gain admission to get your ND certificate. After the programme you must apply for admission to get the HND certificate. This means writing the entrance examination or applying for admission twice.
Once you start, you must wait until you complete your four or five years programme before you can use your certificate to apply for job.In polytechnic, after two years in the school you get your ND certificate. You can use this certificate to apply for job. But note that lately people who have ND are under paid.
Except for some few courses, University teaching is theory based.Most of their courses are practical based. Just few courses are theory based.
University requires higher UTME Score. In 2019, the lowest JAMB cut-off mark was 160. However, some Universities minimum was 180 while others 200.
Check: Federal Universities and their Cut-off Mark
Polytechnics accepts students with low JAMB UTME scores. In 2019, most Polytechnics accepted JAMB candidates who scored 120 in UTME

Which One Should I Go For?

I have decided not to give you a direct answer, because what really matters is BEING EDUCATED

You should by now, be able to decide which one is better for you. As you can see, it’s all about you – what do you actually want?

I attended a Polytechnic, I did my National diploma and furthered my education through DE (direct Entry) into 200 level in the university. So personally I don’t see while university is better than polytechnic or polytechnic better than university.

If you want to go to a Polytechnic, strive to be one of the best. If you want to get a Bachelor’s degree, then you sure have to Apply for a University.

 I think I have done fairness to my advice on this. Kindly find the real light within you and make your decision thereon.

Have you heard something different from what you read here? Do you think you will go to a polytechnic or university in the end? Use the comment box and tell how you feel, Don’t forget to share!








Originally posted 2021-05-27 18:12:11.


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