University vs Polytechnic Comparison & Differences 2022: Which is Better?

If you have ever asked any questions like; is polytechnic is better than university? University vs polytechnic in Nigeria, Is Polytechnic a good school, What is a polytechnic degree, Disadvantages of polytechnic, How many years to complete polytechnic, Polytechnic degree Certificate.

Does polytechnic go for NYSC? How many years is polytechnic in Nigeria? Which is better university or polytechnic? What is the disadvantage of polytechnic? Does a polytechnic count as a university? Can I move from polytechnic to university?

Then, I have just updated more information on this University vs Polytechnic comparison and differences in 2022.

Also, I have spotted out the difference between both and also have explained which one is the best among the two and which one you should go for.

So this article is aim at explaining the similarities and differences between a University and Polytechnic in Nigeria in 2022.

At the end of reading this, you will know the similarities between a Universities and Polytechnics as well as the differences between a Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria.

Is Polytechnic the Same as a University?


Polytechnics in Nigeria are not the same as Universities but the earliest polytechnics were originated from the University. Meanwhile, both institutions are both awarding institutions for students.


Many people believe that Universities are better than Polytechnics, but this is not so in all ramifications. See a more detailed explanation below.

What you should know about Polytechnic in Nigeria

A Polytechnic is a school (usually a higher institution) that is accredited as a separate institution for Diplomas through Technology, technical-base, and vocational training.

You can also put it as, a Polytechnic is a higher institution that focuses more on experimental learning, practices, training, practical and skills and thereby issue a Diploma at the end of such program.

History of Polytechnic

The origination of polytechnic is traced back to 1992. Polytechnic became a separate Diploma awarding Higher institution in 1992.

It was first known as a tertiary education teaching institution in Northern Ireland, England, and Wales. At origination, it was administered at the national level by the Council for National Academic Awards.

Polytechnics became separate Degree and Diploma awarding institutions after the passing of the Further and Higher Education Act in 1992.

See Also: List of all Courses offered in Polytechnics

What is a University?

A university is a higher institution that awards degrees for the completion of a given course or program.


Universities offer a different kind of degrees. Each award represents the program or course that the students studied.

Check out: Easiest Universities to gain admission in Nigeria

The Difference Between HND and Degree?

A University degree (Bachelor’s Degree) is only issued to graduates at the completion of their university course/program while a Polytechnic HND is issued at the completion of the Polytechnic’s Higher National Diploma (HND) program.

University and Polytechnic comparison. which one is better between a University Degree and a Polytechnic Diploma

In countries like Nigeria, both HND and Bachelor’s degree holders are qualified for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

See Also:

Difference between Polytechnic and Technical Institute

Polytechnics and Technical institutes are almost the same. The only difference is just the name and maybe, few other academic activities and specialization.

In fact, Polytechnics at its early stage was basically known as Technical institutes or institutes of Technology until courses that are outside the scope of technology were introduced.


Check Also: the most competitive universities in Nigeria 2022

Similarities Between Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria

In many cases, some students feel inferior whenever they study in a Polytechnic because it is believed that a University Degree is better than a Polytechnic Diploma.

But could that be true in all ramifications?

Not really!!!

There are some important similarities that are common to both the university and the polytechnic as higher institutions and such similarities include:

  1. They are both higher institutions
  2. Both institutions award a certificate of completion on every course or program.
  3. Graduates from both institutions can receive the same employment
  4. Both have related coursework/scheme of work on related courses/programs
  5. Both institutions are recognized and accredited
  6. The two institutions have similar entry requirements for admission.

Check out: List of Art Courses offered in Polytechnics

Main Differences Between Polytechnic and University in Nigeria

Although universities and Polytechnics have closely related standards of education, there is much difference that exists between which are as follows:

  • To some extend, some employers prefer Bachelor’s degree holders to HND holders.
  • Meanwhile, education in the Polytechnic is preferable to a University because Polytechnics in countries like Nigeria deal more on practicals than University.
  • Another drawback about Polytechnics is because some schools and international countries do not recognize or accept HND for Masters.
  • Another advantage of Polytechnics over Universities is that Polytechnic students earn an Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in their first two and a half years and Higher National Diploma (HND) but in the case of Universities, you must complete your 4 or 5 years program before you can earn a degree.
  • More so, universities offer other higher degree programs like Postgraduate (Masters, MBA, Ph.D., and so on, but Polytechnics only focus on undergraduate courses.
  • University courses take a longer duration than Polytechnic courses.
  • Another drawback is that many countries do not see a diploma as equivalent to B.Sc. Rather, they only accept diplomas for entry into undergraduate courses.

In the case of Nigeria, Polytechnic students with an Ordinary National Diploma (ND) can only be accepted as direct entry students into the university and such students will start from their year two of studies (level 200).


Does Polytechnic Graduates go for NYSC?


All qualified graduates from accredited federal, state and private polytechnics in Nigeria are qualified for the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) programme as long as they’ve cleared all the requirements for that.

Which One is Better Between Polytechnic and University?

From all the explanations and information above, I believe you should be able to answer this question perfectly.

The truth is, universities focus more on theoretical courses and topics while polytechnics mainly focus on Technological, technical and vocational training, practical and practices.

Meanwhile, University Degrees are more valuable and preferable to Polytechnic Diplomas during job application and hiring.

As you can see, both institutions have at least one important point that makes it preferable to the other.

In that case, if I consider certificate as the most important part of passing through a school, I may say that a University is valued and preferable to a Polytechnic because its certifies with a degree while polytechnic certifies with a Diploma.

But this doesn’t mean one is better than the other because in some cases, employers may prefer offering a job to Polytechnic graduates since they usually have more practical knowledge than University graduates.



The main purpose for splatting the Nigerian higher institutions into Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges is just to further bring specifications and also create more room for categorising levels in academics and give more room for choosing an institution of choice.

Therefore, if you wish to know which one is better between a university degree and a polytechnic Diploma, then the future will tell.

At this point, I am sure you should be able to differentiate a Polytechnic from a University and also compare a University to a Polytechnic.

If you are satisfied with this University and Polytechnic comparison in 2022, or if you have further questions, then use the comment section to drop a comment, suggestions, and questions to get more explanation which will also help us to improve more.

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Chineliwu Emmanuel
Chineliwu Emmanuel
2 years ago

Yes.. thanks

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