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Schools and Universities in Asia that Accept HND Certificates, Second Class and 3rd Class for Masters Degree Programs

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A number of universities in Asia accept HND (Higher National Diploma) certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees for admission into their master’s degree programs. In countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and China, for example, many universities accept these qualifications for admission. 

In this blog post, we will dig into the schools and universities in Asia that offer these opportunities, and the eligibility criteria they require.

Eligibility Criteria For Master’s Degree Program In Asian Universities

The below are Eligibility Criteria For Master’s Degree Program In Asia:

  • Educational Qualifications: Applicants must hold an HND (Higher National Diploma), a second-class degree, or a third-class degree from a recognized institution. The specific classification requirements may vary depending on the institution and program of interest. Some universities may require additional coursework or an entrance exam to bridge the gap between the applicant’s current qualifications and the program’s requirements.
  • Proof of English Proficiency: Since English is the medium of instruction in many Asian universities for international programs, non-native speakers are often required to provide proof of English proficiency. Accepted tests usually include TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examinations. The minimum score requirements can vary by institution and program.
  • Relevant Work Experience: Certain programs, especially those that are professionally oriented, may require applicants to have relevant work experience in the field related to the master’s program they are applying to. This could range from one to several years, depending on the institution and the level of study.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants might be required to submit one or more letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to their academic or professional capabilities and potential for success in a graduate program. These letters typically come from former professors, employers, or professionals in the field.
  • Statement of Purpose: A well-crafted statement of purpose (SOP) that outlines the applicant’s academic interests, professional objectives, and reasons for choosing the specific program and institution is often a critical component of the application.
  • CV/Resume: A detailed CV or resume showcasing the applicant’s academic background, work experience, achievements, and skills is usually required. This document provides the admissions committee with a comprehensive view of the applicant’s qualifications.

It’s important for applicants to thoroughly review the specific admission requirements listed by their chosen universities and programs in Asia, as these can vary significantly. Preparing and compiling all necessary documents well in advance of application deadlines is crucial for a successful application process.

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Schools in Asia that Accept HND Certificates, Second Class and 3rd Class for Masters Degree Programs 

Finding a suitable institution for further studies can be a daunting process, especially for those holding HND certificates, second-class, or third-class degrees. However, several universities in Asia are catering to this demographic, providing an opportunity to pursue master’s degree programs. Below is a compiled list of schools and universities across various Asian countries that welcome such qualifications:

1) National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore 

Known for its flexible admission criteria, NUS considers applicants with diverse academic backgrounds for its various master’s programs.

2) University of Malaya (UM), Malaysia

As the top university in Malaysia, UM offers a range of postgraduate programs that accept applicants with HND certificates and lower degree classifications, subject to additional requirements like work experience or preparatory courses.

3) University of Hong Kong (HKU), Hong Kong 

HKU has specific programs that are tailored for professionals, accepting those with relevant work experience and lower degree classifications for certain master’s courses.

4) Tsinghua University, China

Recognized globally for its engineering and business programs, Tsinghua University offers selected master’s programs that consider applicants with lower degree classifications, particularly those who have demonstrated professional excellence.

5) Seoul National University (SNU), South Korea

SNU has programs that are open to candidates with varied academic qualifications, including HND holders and those with second or third-class degrees, depending on the department and program.

These institutions are examples of how educational opportunities are becoming more accessible and inclusive. Prospective students are encouraged to directly contact the admissions office of these universities for detailed information regarding specific eligibility criteria, application procedures, and any preparatory courses or exams that might enhance their chances of admission.

Universities in Asia that Accept HND Certificates, Second Class and 3rd Class for Masters Degree Programs 

For aspiring graduate students holding HND certificates, second-class, or third-class undergraduate degrees, the path to furthering their education is wide open at several prestigious institutions across Asia. These schools recognize the value of diverse academic and professional experiences, offering programs designed to accommodate a broad spectrum of applicants. Below are noteworthy universities that have tailored their admissions processes to include such candidates:

1) National University of Singapore (NUS)

A global leader in education, NUS offers a variety of master’s programs with flexible admission criteria that cater to students from diverse academic backgrounds, including those with HND certificates and lower-class degrees.

2) University of Hong Kong (HKU)

HKU opens its doors to professionals holding lower degree classifications for select master’s programs, emphasizing the importance of relevant work experience in the admissions process.

3) University of Malaya (UM)

Standing as Malaysia’s premier university, UM provides numerous postgraduate opportunities for students with HND certificates and lower degree classifications, often supplementing academic qualifications with work experience or preparatory coursework.

4) Tsinghua University, China

A top institution for engineering and business, Tsinghua considers applicants with lower degree classifications for its selected master’s programs, especially those demonstrating professional prowess.

5) Seoul National University (SNU), South Korea

SNU provides educational programs to students of varied academic standings, including HND holders and those with second or third-class degrees, contingent upon the department and specific program criteria.

These institutions exemplify the growing trend toward inclusivity in higher education across Asia, proving that a diverse range of academic and professional backgrounds is not only accepted but valued in the pursuit of advanced degrees.


Can I apply for a Master’s degree with my HND certificate?

Yes, you have options! While not every university accepts HNDs directly, many do, especially in applied fields related to your HND. However, it’s crucial to research and contact the specific programs you’re interested in to confirm their entry requirements, as these can vary greatly across countries and universities.

Does the University of Calgary accept HNDs for Master’s degrees?

The University of Calgary generally requires a four-year bachelor’s degree for its Master’s programs. However, they may consider applications from exceptional HND holders on a case-by-case basis, particularly if your HND is in a related field and you have relevant work experience. Contacting their admissions office directly to discuss your specific situation is recommended.

Do Australian universities accept HNDs for Master’s degrees?

Australia generally requires a bachelor’s degree for Master’s programs. However, some universities might consider strong HND candidates in specific fields and under certain conditions. Each university has its own policy, so researching individual programs and contacting their admissions offices is essential.

Do Swedish universities accept HNDs for Master’s degrees?

Sweden is generally more cautious with HNDs for Master’s programs. While some universities might consider them for specific programs, it’s less common than in other countries. Extensive research and direct contact with universities are crucial to understand their stance on HNDs.

How can an HND holder go for a Master’s degree?

For someone with an HND (Higher National Diploma) qualification who wants to pursue a master’s degree, there are a few different options. First, it is important to research which universities accept HNDs for admission into their master’s degree programs. Once a suitable university has been identified, the applicant will need to meet the university’s specific entry requirements. This may include having relevant work experience or an undergraduate degree in a related field. Additionally, the applicant will need to submit an application, including documents like a personal statement, transcripts, and references.


Overall, there are many universities in Asia that accept HNDs, second class degrees, and third class degrees for admission into master’s degree programs. However, it is important to note that the specific requirements will vary by university and program. Students should carefully research the entry requirements of the universities and programs they are interested in to ensure that they meet all of the necessary qualifications.

Additionally, students should be aware of the language requirements of the program and ensure that they have the necessary language skills to succeed in their studies. With careful research and preparation, an HND holder can pursue a master’s degree in Asia.

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