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

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In Malaysia, there are a variety of schools and universities that accept HND (Higher National Diploma) certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees for entry into master’s degree programs. 

However, Malaysia’s inclusive approach to education has paved the way for various schools and universities to offer master’s degree programs for students with these qualifications. This blog post explores the schools and universities in Malaysia that accept HND certificates, second-class, and third-class degrees for their master’s degree programs, providing a beacon of hope for students seeking to further their education.

Criteria For Admission Into Schools and Universities in Malaysia For Master’s Degree Program

When seeking admission into Malaysian schools and universities for master’s degree programs with an HND certificate, second-class, or third-class undergraduate degree, it’s important to understand the criteria that institutions commonly consider. Here’s a breakdown of these criteria to help prospective students prepare their applications:

  • An HND certificate or a bachelor’s degree with at least a second-class or third-class honors from a recognized institution.
  • Some universities may require a postgraduate diploma in a relevant field, particularly for those with third-class degrees, to bridge any academic gaps.
  • Certain programs may require applicants to have relevant work experience, particularly if the undergraduate degree or HND is not directly related to the master’s program being applied for. This can range from one to several years, depending on the field of study and the specific requirements of the university.
  • Language Proficiency:
  • Since English is the medium of instruction in most Malaysian universities, non-native speakers must demonstrate proficiency through tests like IELTS or TOEFL. The required score varies but typically ranges from 6.0 to 7.0 for IELTS or equivalent for other tests.
  • Research Proposal (for research-based programs):
  • Applicants aiming for research-based master’s programs may need to submit a detailed research proposal. This outlines the intended area of research, methodology, and how it contributes to the existing body of knowledge.
  • Letters of Recommendation:
  • Two or three letters of recommendation from former professors, employers, or professional colleagues that attest to the applicant’s academic ability, character, and suitability for graduate study.
  • Some programs may require an interview (either in-person or virtual) as part of the admission process to assess the candidate’s motivations, communication skills, and suitability for the program.
  • Motivation Letter/Statement of Purpose:
  • A well-crafted letter or essay explaining the applicant’s reasons for pursuing a master’s degree, their career objectives, and why they have chosen the specific program and institution.

Meeting these criteria does not guarantee admission, as each institution and program has its own competitive selection process. However, understanding and preparing for these requirements will significantly improve an applicant’s chances of acceptance into their desired master’s program in Malaysia.

Read Also: Australia Awards Scholarships For International Students To Study in Australia

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

In Malaysia, a range of schools and universities have broadened their admission criteria to accommodate students with diverse academic backgrounds, including those with HND certificates, second-class, and third-class undergraduate degrees. This inclusive approach aims to offer more students the opportunity to pursue advanced studies. Below is a list of schools known for accepting such qualifications for entry into their master’s degree programs:

1) University of Malaya (UM)

Renowned for its high standard of education, UM offers a variety of master’s programs that admit students with HND certificates or second-class degrees, depending on the specific requirements of each department.

2) Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)

 UiTM has a flexible admission policy for its master’s programs, welcoming applicants with HND certificates and graduates with second-class or third-class honors, especially for courses related to technology and applied sciences.

3) Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)

Known for its emphasis on research, UKM accepts applicants into some of its master’s programs with HND or lower class degrees, provided they meet other stipulated criteria such as work experience or a compelling research proposal.

4) Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)

 USM offers several master’s degree programs that consider applicants with HND certificates and lower class honors degrees, focusing on bridging the gap between academic qualifications and advanced studies.

5) Multimedia University (MMU)

MMU is recognized for its innovative programs and accepts students with HND certificates and those who have achieved second-class and third-class degrees, into a wide range of its master’s programs, particularly in the fields of multimedia and information technology.

These institutions represent just a snapshot of the educational opportunities available in Malaysia for students with various qualifications.

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


In Malaysia, there are several universities that accept Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates, including those with Second Class and Third Class classifications, for admission into Master’s degree programs.

1) Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)

UTM stands out for its commitment to innovation and technological advancement, offering a range of master’s programs that are open to applicants with HND certificates, second-class, and third-class degrees. The university is particularly welcoming to students who wish to pursue fields in engineering, technology, and sciences.

2) International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

With a focus on integrating Islamic values and knowledge with various academic disciplines, IIUM offers several master’s programs that accept students from diverse academic backgrounds, including those with HND certificates and lower class honors. Its inclusive policy is designed to cater to a wide range of interests and fields, from humanities and law to science and technology.

3) Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)

Situated on the island of Borneo, UNIMAS is known for its research-intensive programs and strong community engagement. The university offers master’s degree programs that accept HND holders and graduates with second and third-class honors, especially in areas related to biodiversity, environmental studies, and indigenous knowledge.

4) Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)

Specializing in management and business studies, UUM provides opportunities for students with HND certificates, second-class, and third-class degrees to advance their education in its master’s programs. Its approach to inclusive education emphasizes practical knowledge and industry relevance, preparing students for leadership roles in their respective fields.

5) Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP)

Focused on engineering, technology, and industrial sciences, UMP encourages applications from students with diverse educational backgrounds for its master’s programs. Recognizing the value of practical skills and experience, the university offers pathways for HND holders and graduates with second-class and third-class degrees to further their studies and enhance their career prospects.

These universities embody Malaysia’s progressive approach to higher education, opening doors for students with various academic qualifications to pursue master’s degrees in a wide range of disciplines.


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

Yes, you have options! While not all universities accept HNDs directly, many do, especially in applied fields related to your HND. However, researching specific programs and contacting their admissions offices is crucial, as their entry requirements can vary.

Can I apply for a Master’s degree with a second-class degree?

Absolutely! Universities generally accept applicants with second-class degrees for various Masters programs. The specific class (2:1 or 2:2) might have different weight depending on the program and university. Highlight your academic performance and any relevant experience in your application.

Can I do a Master’s program abroad with a second-class lower degree?

Yes, there are possibilities! Universities in some European and Asian countries might be more flexible with entry requirements compared to the UK or US. Research specific programs and contact their admissions offices directly for confirmation. Additionally, showcasing strong work experience, research experience, or a compelling statement of purpose can strengthen your application.

Can a third-class degree holder go for a Master’s degree?

While it may require more effort, some universities, especially abroad in Europe and Asia, might consider strong third-class candidates with relevant experience, a convincing statement of purpose, and exceptional potential. Research thoroughly, highlight your strengths, and connect with admissions offices to discuss your specific case.

What is the CGPA equivalent of a third-class degree?

There isn’t a direct conversion of CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) to degree classifications (like third-class) as grading systems vary globally. However, a third-class degree in the UK typically falls within the CGPA range of 50-59%.


The schools and universities in Malaysia that accept HND (Higher National Diploma) certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees for master’s degree programs provide a valuable opportunity for students from all backgrounds. These programs allow students to pursue advanced degrees while also gaining a deeper understanding of Malaysia’s rich cultural and historical heritage.

Additionally, the relatively low cost of living in Malaysia makes it an affordable option for students from around the world. For these reasons, Malaysia’s higher education system is an attractive option for those looking to further their education in a culturally diverse and affordable setting.

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