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

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Norway is home to many prestigious schools and universities that offer world-class education opportunities. For those with HND certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees, Norway has a number of excellent options. 

However, applicants often wonder about the acceptance of Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates, as well as Bachelor degrees with Second Class and Third Class honors, for admission into Master’s degree programs. This blog post delves into the specifics of how schools and universities in Norway navigate these qualifications and what opportunities lie ahead for holders of such credentials.

Criteria For Admission To Schools and Universities in Norway

Gaining admission into Master’s programs in Norway demands a detailed evaluation of one’s academic history, language proficiency, and occasionally, program-specific prerequisites. For those armed with an HND certificate or Bachelor’s degrees classified as Second Class or Third Class, the admission landscape in Norway presents unique challenges and opportunities. It’s important to navigate these with a clear understanding of what is required.

  • Educational Qualifications: Prospective students must typically hold a secondary education certificate or its equivalent, depending on the level of study they are applying for. For undergraduate programs, this often includes a high school diploma or equivalent qualification. For graduate programs, applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
  • Language Proficiency: Since many courses in Norway are taught in Norwegian, proficiency in the Norwegian language is often required for admission. Some universities also offer programs taught in English, so proficiency in English may be required instead. Applicants may need to provide evidence of language proficiency through standardized tests such as the Norwegian language test or the TOEFL/IELTS for English proficiency.
  • Specific Program Requirements: Different programs may have specific requirements beyond general educational qualifications. For example, certain fields of study may require prerequisite courses or specific subject knowledge. Applicants should carefully review the program requirements outlined by the institution they are applying to.
  • Application Process: Prospective students typically need to submit an application through the Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service (NUCAS) or directly to the institution they are applying to. The application process may involve submitting academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and other supporting documents.

While the journey may seem complex, the opportunities for advanced study in Norway’s inclusive and innovative educational landscape are well worth the effort.

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

Below is a curated list of schools that have shown a welcoming stance toward applicants with these educational backgrounds, aiming to foster a diverse and inclusive academic environment. It’s important to note that while this list provides a starting point, prospective students should always reach out directly to the institution for the most current admission requirements and procedures.

1) Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU): 

NTNU is renowned for its research-driven approach and comprehensive range of study programs. The university has provisions for assessing international qualifications on a case-by-case basis, providing a pathway for HND holders and graduates with lower class degrees to pursue further education, particularly in engineering and technology fields.

2) University of Oslo

As the oldest university in Norway, the University of Oslo offers a variety of Master’s programs in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. The university evaluates international applicants’ backgrounds comprehensively, considering various factors beyond just academic grades.

3) University of Bergen

With a strong emphasis on marine research, climate studies, and global challenges, the University of Bergen seeks motivated students from diverse academic backgrounds. They offer tailored preparatory courses for those who might need to bridge academic gaps.

4) Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet)

Known for its urban-oriented programs in health sciences, social sciences, and technology, OsloMet values practical experience alongside academic achievements. This can be particularly advantageous for HND holders and those with practical work experience in their field.

5) Nord University

Offering a range of programs in biosciences, aquaculture, and business, Nord University supports an inclusive education system. It provides opportunities for applicants with diverse educational backgrounds to prove their eligibility for Master’s programs through additional coursework or examination.

Prospective students with HND certificates, Second Class, or Third Class Bachelor’s degrees considering further education in Norway should thoroughly investigate each school’s specific requirements and available support mechanisms.

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

For international students holding HND certificates, Second Class, or Third Class degrees, the Norwegian education system offers several avenues for advancing to Master’s level studies. A number of universities in Norway are recognized for their inclusive admission policies, welcoming students with a variety of academic backgrounds and experiences. The following institutions are noteworthy for their approach to evaluating and incorporating students with diverse qualifications into their Master’s programs:

1) BI Norwegian Business School 

Known for its strong emphasis on research and business studies, BI Norwegian Business School provides opportunities for students from a broad range of academic backgrounds to join their Master’s programs, especially those interested in business, economics, and management.

2) University of Tromsø 

The Arctic University of Norway: As a leader in Arctic and environmental studies, this university offers unique programs that cater to students with varied academic histories. They evaluate international qualifications on an individual basis, making it a viable option for those with HND, Second Class, or Third Class degrees looking to specialize in fields related to environmental sciences, marine biology, and indigenous studies.

 3) Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU):

With a focus on biology, environmental, and agricultural sciences, NMBU supports an inclusive admissions policy. They value diverse academic perspectives and provide pathways for students with HND certificates and lower division Bachelor’s degrees to enroll in relevant Master’s programs.

4) University of Stavanger

The University of Stavanger is recognized for its innovative approach to education and research, particularly in energy, technology, and societal studies. The institution actively seeks students with practical experience and diverse educational backgrounds, offering programs that accommodate HND holders and those with lower class degrees.

These universities demonstrate Norway’s commitment to providing educational opportunities for students with a wide array of academic credentials. Candidates are encouraged to contact the admissions offices of these institutions directly to gain a clearer understanding of specific program requirements, application processes, and opportunities for bridging academic gaps.


Does a Swedish university accept HND for a Master’s degree?

It depends on the university. Each Swedish university has its own set of admission requirements, and some may accept HND certificates for a master’s degree while others may not. It is best to check the specific admission requirements for the university and program you are interested in to see if an HND certificate would be accepted. Generally, most universities in Sweden require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent as a minimum requirement for admission to a master’s degree program. 

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

Yes, there are possibilities! While not all universities or programs accept HNDs, consider:

  • Focus on countries and universities known for openness to HNDs: Research universities in New Zealand, Ireland, or specific programs in Germany that might be more receptive.
  • Highlight your relevant skills and experience: Emphasize your work experience, achievements, and skills related to your desired program.
  • Consider alternative pathways: Explore pre-Master’s programs or graduate diplomas to enhance your qualifications for Master’s admission.
  • Be persistent and proactive: Contact program coordinators directly to discuss your background and inquire about potential options.

Does Germany accept HND for a Master’s degree?

Similar to Sweden, individual program discretion applies. While most programs require a Bachelor’s degree, some vocational or professional programs in Germany might consider an HND if aligned with your field. Contacting program coordinators is essential for accurate information.

Is HND recognized in Europe?

HNDs are recognized in many European countries, but the level of recognition varies. Some countries might consider them equivalent to the first year of a Bachelor’s degree, while others might not directly accept them for Master’s programs. Always research the specific requirements of each country and program.

What is the equivalent of an HND certificate?

There is no direct equivalent of an HND (Higher National Diploma) certificate, as it is a qualification that is specific to the UK and certain other countries. However, in general, a HND certificate is considered to be equivalent to an associate’s degree or an undergraduate diploma in terms of level of education. In some cases, a HND may also be considered to be equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor’s degree program. I


The conclusion to be drawn from this research is that HND certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees are indeed accepted at many schools and universities in Norway for admission into master’s degree programs. Though the requirements and acceptance rates vary from institution to institution, it is clear that those with these qualifications have a wide range of options when it comes to pursuing higher education in Norway. 

With so many great schools and universities to choose from, Norway is a fantastic destination for those looking to further their studies.

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