Choosing between PUC & Diploma

Choosing between PUC & Diploma

The scene at Pre University colleges, after the Class 10 results are out, is proof enough of the popularity of this two-year course. Every year lakhs of students join Science or Arts or Commerce and most of them see the two-year PUC course as an automatic choice after Class 10.

Before deciding on what to select in 1st PUC or Class 11, a student must know the following facts.

-PUC is a two-year course with 1 major board exam at the end of 2nd Year PUC/ Class 12.

-Students must study 4 core subjects in each branch along with first language English  and second language (Kannada/ Sanskrit/ Hindi/ Urdu/ Tamil/ Telugu/ Malayalam/ Marathi/ French/ German/ Arabic).

-Subject options in PUC Arts are: History, Geography, Sociology, Political Science, Psychology, Education, Logic, Home Science, Optional Kannada, Carnatic Music, Hindustani Music, etc.
-Subject options in PUC Commerce are: History, Economics, Business Studies, Accountancy, Computer Science, Geography, Statistics & Basic Maths.

-Subject options in PUC Science are: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, Electronics, Computer Science, Home Science & Geology.

-If you select Science in PUC, you have an option to shift to Commerce or Arts in case you need to. But if you select Commerce or Arts, you cannot pursue graduation programmes in Science.

Personality requirements

- For PUC Science: The student must have a natural liking for Science and Mathematics. Just saying, ‘I love Maths and Science’ is not good enough. He/she must have sound logical and reasoning skills along with ability to memorise and retain lots of information which is required to crack engineering and medical entrance exams like IIT-JEE, AIEEE, AIPMT or CET. Many students also feel the need to join coaching centres and this increases the pressure on them, leaving them with very little time for any other activities.

-For PUC Commerce: The student must have a liking for numbers, data and analysis. He/she must have analytical skills and good memory. The student learns the basics in Accounting & Finance, so  a keen interest in these subjects is a must. Students will not have pressure as much as their Science counterparts. Private coaching is not required unless the student is weak or college coaching is insufficient.

-For PUC Arts: This is a easy path but more rewarding than Science and Commerce. Subjects like Psychology and Logic make Arts very interesting. This is a good option for students who like to work with people rather than machines. Private coaching is not required unless the subject is really tough.

Advantages of PUC

-PUC gives the student wide knowledge of the subjects chosen for study.

-It’s a strong foundation for higher education. Since the syllabus is vast, importance is given to concepts.

-For any regular graduation/ degree course, the minimum qualification is pass marks in PUC. Though ITI, JOC, Diploma are also recognised to study graduation, the most commonly accepted qualification is 2nd PUC/ Class 12.

-Studying PUC gives a student two years to know more his/her aptitude, ability, strengths and weaknesses. This can help to identify the right career goals and take well-informed decisions.

-For students who have to earn while they learn, PUC courses are offered by evening colleges.

-Second PUC is seen as a basic educational qualification today.

Pre-University Colleges

-There are 3,664 recognised PU colleges which come under the Pre-University Education Board in  Karnataka.

-Day, evening and residential PU colleges exist across Karnataka.

-Many offer integrated programmes such as PUC+IIT-JEE, AIPMT, AIEEE, etc.

-Don’t choose a college just because all your friends are applying to courses offered there. Before selecting a college make sure to:

-Check if the college is recognised or not.
-Speak to students studying in that college.
-Visit the college to check the basic facilities like classrooms, labs, library, etc.
-Check out the college atmosphere, in general, and students behaviour, in particular.
-Consider the extra/special facilities offered by the college.  

For list of recognised colleges, visit:

National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS)

PUC through Distance Learning: After completing SSLC/ Class 10, many students wish to study PUC with subjects of their choice.  A student may like Physics and Chemistry, but hate Biology and Mathematics but the Karnataka PU Board does not offer any Science course without both Biology and Mathematics. Similarly, many students may look for a syllabus which is less stressful. For such students, the NIOS Senior Secondary Course is a blessing.

Students who are 15 years old and have passed Class 10/ SSLC may apply.

Scheme of studies: Five subjects are offered. The student can select one or, at the most, two languages — Hindi, English, Sanskrit or Urdu and a combination of 3 or 4 of the following subjects —  Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, History, Geography, Political Science, Economics, Commerce, Accountancy, Home Science, Word Processing, Psychology, Computer Science, Sociology, Painting, and Mass Communication.

-Student can choose subjects of his/her choice.
-Subjects from Science, Commerce and Arts stream can be combined.
-Syllabus is easier and less stressful compared to PU subjects.
- Student can dedicate more time to study at home than going to regular college except for the practical classes conducted once in a week/fortnight.
- There is more time to prepare for entrance exams.
-Students can take up subjects like Word Processing or Painting.

The NIOS centres in Karnataka are in Bangalore, Belgaum, Bidar, Dharwad, Hassan, Kolar, Shimoga and Uttara Kannada districts. Admission is open from July 1 to August 31.  For more details, visit

3-year Polytechnic Diploma

A polytechnic is a technical institute which imparts technical education in India.
Polytechnics are not affiliated to any university but are recognised by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). They offer 3-year Diploma courses in Engineering.

The courses are designed in such a way that the students are able to perform basic engineering tasks after the successful completion of the course.

A 3-year, full-time Technical Diploma course (6 semesters) is offered by the  Department of Technical Education, Government of Karnataka, through AICTE recognised Polytechnics, in the following subjects:

-Agriculture Engineering
-Aeronautical Engineering
-Automobile Engineering
-Civil (Draughtsmanship)
-Civil Engineering
-Chemical Engineering
-Ceramic Technology
- Computer Science & Engg
-Electronics & Communication Engineering
-Electrical & Electronics Engineering
-Civil (Environmental)
-Electronics & Communication Engineering (co-op)
-Heat Power Technology
-Interior Design
-Electronics Instrumentation & Control
-Interior Decoration
-Information Science & Technology
-Jewellery Design
-Library Science & Information Management
-Mechanical Engineering
-Mining Engineering
-Machine Tool Technology
-Polymer Technology
-Printing Technology
-Sound & Recording Engg
-Textile Technology
-Water Technology & Health Sciences
-Welding & Sheet Metal Technology
-Construction Technology
-Polymer Technology

Non-Technical Diploma Courses (Only for Girls):
-Commercial Practice — English
-Commercial Practice — Kannada
-Business Administration
-Apparel Design & Fabrication

Eligibility: Students who have passed Class 10 may apply.

Admission process: The application forms are issued during the last week of April or first week of May. Forms will be available at the Government and Aided Polytechnics. Almost 50 per cent of seats are reserved for SC, ST, 1A, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B and remaining 50 per cent are for general merit, which are filled based on the marks secured in Science and Maths in Class 10.

Fees: The fee is very less in Government colleges — approximately Rs 1000; while in private colleges, under the Government quota, it is at least Rs 7,000. Students can also seek admission to the colleges through the Management quota, where the fee is high.
Polytechnic colleges: Most of the Government Polytechnic institutes are well equipped and attract serious students. A few private polytechnic institutes also have a proven track record. There are many ‘Women Only’ polytechnic institutes. Before joining any polytechnic institute, a student must check the facilities like labs and libraries, which are very important for Diploma courses.

Advantages of Polytechnic Diploma:
-Purely technical course
-Students get both knowledge and skills
-Technical diploma will lead to 3-year Engineering
-Diploma pass outs have many jobs available
-Campus recruitment is also popular in many Government as well as private colleges
-Both Technical & Non-Technical Diploma courses offer self employment opportunities.

Pre-University v/s  Polytechnic Diploma

-PUC involves two years of theory, which is to basically increase knowledge; while Diploma is three years of theory with practicals linked to jobs.

-PUC has only 1 major board exam — 2nd PUC exam — conducted by the PU Board; while Diploma has board exams every six months.

-In PUC, English and any other language must be studied; while in Diploma only English must be studied during the first semester.

-Options after PUC are more than options after Diploma. After Diploma, if a student has a Diploma in Electronics, then he/she must take up a branch related to Electronics only in Engineering; while a PUC Science student can take up Engineering in any branch after completing 2nd PUC with good marks.

-PUC is good if is student has not decided which branch of Engineering to study, but if he is keen to pursue a particular engineering course and would like to learn it quicker, a Diploma is a good option.

(The writer is a career counsellor at CIGMA India, a career guidance and counselling organisation.)

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