Share this article

How Fast Can I Get a Degree?

My boss once told me, speed is important – but accuracy is also important. I think what we can adapt that to here is that while you want to get a degree fast (because your income and promotion depends on it) you may also want to consider what impact a degree qualification will have on your career in the future.

how fast can i get an degree

Don’t climb the ladder too fast

What happens when you reach the top and realise that it’s not a ladder that isn’t going anywhere? That’s what we find with many Business Management graduates. If all you want is a piece of paper that says bachelors degree then that works for you. But if you’re looking for something more hefty that says you’re knowledgeable about something niche and technical – engineering or an IT degree is the way to go. You want a bachelors degree that wants to stand out.

Assuming you already know what you want and it’s an engineering degree then you’re in the right place.

Here are some broad strokes about what to expect when you’re chasing that bachelors degree qualification. Of course, these are only broad strokes and for any institute to give you accurate advice on upgrading, we will need to know your highest qualification, your high school qualification, age, and work experience – but here is the rough idea.

Look before you leap

Understand that you will most likely be migrating education frameworks (e.g. UK standards to US standards of vice versa, or an independent scheme to UK/US). As in electrical engineering, whenever there is transformation, there will be some inefficiencies.

For Auston Institute, we use a UK higher education structure. This means that typically students are expected to go from O Levels to A Levels to a 3 year degree. That entire route takes 15 years of study.

Other systems that are US-aligned degrees would take a straight 4 years after High school. That entire route takes 16 years of study. 

Where got inefficient?

If you’re traversing up and down the high school-university track then you have very little to worry about. However once you start to take parallel tracks like vocational qualifications (e.g. further education colleges in the UK, community colleges in the US, TAFE colleges in Australia, and Polytechnic or ITE colleges in Singapore) then you’re kinda in for a bit of a challenge.

Higher education and vocational education are meant for different things – Universities train the mind, whereas vocational colleges care less about the mind and are more designed for perfecting the craft. In the way the world has transformed in the last 100 years, university degrees holders have been disproportionately remunerated compared to vocationally trained staff. In 2020 and after COVID19 things are bound to change. Just take for example, an oven repairman who has no degree, charging us $390 for replacing the heating element – while the 2 degree qualified electrical engineers in the home were unable to do anything. 

So what is my route?

The good news is that the Singapore education system is amazingly high quality and well recognized around the world. The bad news is that not everyone believes the same thing.

In short, if your polytechnic diploma is in the same cognate area (e.g. electronic engineering to electronic engineering) then chances are you will be given “advanced standing” or “direct entry” to the degree programme that is likely to be 1 to 1.5 years of academic study. Your polytechnic diploma to degree conversion should take 1 to 1.5 academic years.

If you hold a higher nitec qualification in the same cognate area (e.g. nitec in electrical engineering to electrical and electronic engineering degree) then you will be able to enter the degree programme after a foundation programme or so. This means your higher nitec to degree conversion should take longer – about 3 academic years.

Pattern more than Badminton

Academic years are not the same as annual years because of a whole bunch of reasons such as scheduling and expert availability etc but it is broadly accepted that 1 academic year in the UK is completed in just 8-9 months in Singapore if you’re studying full-time. Sounds good right? Expect to work hard.

But we aren’t really cramming you – we just cut out the unnecessary part such as 3 month summer breaks, 1 month easter break, 3 week christmas breaks, etc. We like to think of it as being a lot more career focused.

But I also have a certificate in…

Yes we know you’ve got work experience and WSQ certificates and coursera transcripts but those unfortunately are not recognized as counting towards formal academic qualifications (yet). If tested right now, would you remember what you did in Engineering Math 3 back in poly? I thought not.

So why is it so complicated?

Here’s the rough answer:

NITEC > Since a NITEC is seen as below A/Levels you will have to do a foundation course.

Foundation courses vary between 3 and 12 months. Ours is just 3 months fulltime and 6 months part time. We assume that you have work experience so that your mind would be significantly more mature than a 17 year old. How fast is my upgrade? Your journey to a degree would take just 24 months (full-time) and 32 months (part-time).

Higher NITEC > You’ll need to take a partial foundation to cover the bits that you missed.

Chances are if you’ve done a Higher NITEC, you will only need the second half of foundation. This means that your foundation will be 6 weeks (full-time) or 3 months(part-time). How fast is my upgrade? Your journey to a degree would take just 24 months (full-time) and 32 months (part-time).

Polytechnic Diploma > You will typically get exempted of about half of a 3 year degree.

However Polytechnic Diplomas have changed extensively in the past few years it makes it difficult to confidently map your modules from one to the other but as a broad guide. Let us say your polytechnic diploma is perfectly mapped to the degree programme then your upgrade journey to a degree would take just 12 months (full-time) or 16 months (part-time)

But what if your Polytechnic Diploma is not from a related area (e.g. Industrial Design to Electrical and Electronic Engineering), or maybe it just doesn’t have the right modules to map? In this case you would need to take some bridging modules because something would be missing from your learning foundations of a degree. How fast is my upgrade to a degree? Your journey to a degree would take an estimated 16 months (full-time) to 24 months (part-time)


That’s why we normally ask interested applicants to submit their certificates, transcripts, photo identity and an online application form so that we can quickly assess and offer you something that is fitting for you. We could just talk about rough figures but until we receive documents, they will all be estimates.


Auston offers one of the most rewarding and fast-track engineering programs in Singapore. As one of the only engineering-specialised institutes of higher education in Singapore, they offer high-quality and academically rigorous programs ranging from diploma to degree levels. They have established a remarkable community of students and alumni passionate about the industry and continue to nurture many aspiring engineers, with graduates working for globally recognised MNCs. 

Find out how you can benefit from their world-class programmes in Electrical EngineeringMechanical EngineeringConstruction Project Management and many more, to fast-track your career in Engineering! 

So What Should I Do Now?

We recommend that you start looking for degree programmes and hopefully, you choose us.

Many people ask where do I start.  

Everyone starts in different place. Your past qualifications and work experience is critical in determining where you go and start. If you’d like to speak to a consultant about joining, please complete the form below and we can get back to you about fees, duration and more.

Speak To Us About Joining A Course

Info Request Form

What information would you like and where should we send it?