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

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Schools and Universities in the Philippines that Accept HND Certificates, Second Class, and 3rd Class for Masters Degree Programs The quest for higher education is a journey that many embark on, seeking to further their knowledge, improve their skills, and enhance their career prospects.

However, the road to pursuing a master’s degree can seem hard, especially for those who hold qualifications that are not the conventional bachelor’s degrees, such as Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates, or have earned second class or third class honors in their undergraduate studies.

Fortunately, the educational line in the Philippines is increasingly accommodating, with various institutions recognizing the value and potential of these individuals. In this blog post, we will explore the criteria for admissions into master’s programs in the Philippines for such candidates, and list the schools and universities that welcome them.

Criteria For Admissions Into Schools and Universities in Philippines  

Here are the key admission criteria these candidates should be aware of:

  • Entrance Examination: Many schools and universities mandate an entrance examination for all prospective master’s degree students. The scope and difficulty of these exams can vary greatly, and preparation is key. Candidates should inquire about specific study guides or review sessions.
  • English Proficiency: Since English is one of the official languages of instruction in the Philippines, non-native speakers may be required to demonstrate their proficiency through standardized tests like the TOEFL or IELTS, especially if their previous education was not conducted in English.
  • Professional Experience: Some programs, particularly those aimed at mid-career professionals, value relevant work experience as part of the admissions process. Applicants should be prepared to document their work history and possibly discuss it during an interview.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Strong endorsements from academic or professional references can significantly bolster an application. These letters should attest to the candidate’s capabilities, character, and readiness for graduate-level study.

Applicants are encouraged to directly contact the admissions offices of their targeted schools and universities for the most current and specific information regarding the application process, as criteria can vary by program and institution.

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

Discovering educational institutions in the Philippines that are open to a diverse range of academic backgrounds for their Master’s programs is vital for students who are eager to advance their studies despite not holding the traditional bachelor’s degree. Here, we highlight notable schools that welcome applicants with HND Certificates, Second Class, and 3rd Class honors for their Master’s degree programs:

1) Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) 

Known for its inclusive educational policies, PUP offers several master’s programs that accept applicants with varied academic qualifications. The university emphasizes an equitable assessment of potential students’ capabilities and backgrounds.

2) Technological University of the Philippines (TUP)

TUP is another institution that values the skills and knowledge of students from diverse academic pathways. It has specific programs designed to bridge any academic gaps and prepare HND holders and those with lower class degrees for advanced study.

3) Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM)

 PLM provides opportunities for students with different undergraduate achievements to pursue master’s degrees in fields like business administration, public administration, and education. The university focuses on a comprehensive evaluation process that considers the overall profile of the applicant.

4) Mindanao State University (MSU) 

With several campuses across the Mindanao region, MSU is accessible for students from various backgrounds. Its graduate programs are structured to accommodate and support the academic growth of individuals with HND certificates or lower-class degrees.

5) Cebu Technological University (CTU)

CTU is particularly receptive to students seeking to transform their HND and lower undergraduate classifications into opportunities for advanced study. The university has made strides in integrating practical and academic learning paths within its master’s programs.

These institutions represent a promising avenue for individuals aiming to elevate their qualifications and career prospects through further education. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to the admissions offices of these schools for detailed information on program specifics, application requirements, and deadlines.

Read Also: Schools and Universities in Portugal that Accept HND Certificates, Second Class

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

In the Philippines, a number of universities have embraced an inclusive approach to admissions, especially for graduate studies. These institutions recognize the value of diverse educational backgrounds, including candidates with Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates and undergraduate degrees with second class and third class honors.

Here are some of the universities that accommodate these applicants for their Master’s degree programs:

1) University of the Philippines (UP) 

As the country’s premier state university, UP offers various master’s programs across its campuses that are open to individuals with different academic credentials. The university is known for its rigorous academic environment and comprehensive evaluation process, ensuring that all students, regardless of their undergraduate classification or diploma, are assessed fairly.

2) Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU)

 ADMU is a private university that values academic excellence and personal growth. It offers master’s programs in areas such as business, education, and social sciences, providing a supportive environment for students with HND certificates and lower undergraduate honors to achieve their full potential.

3) De La Salle University (DLSU)

With a focus on innovation and research, DLSU has programs that welcome students with varied educational backgrounds. The university’s commitment to inclusivity is reflected in its admissions policies, which consider the totality of an applicant’s experiences and achievements.

4) Mapúa University

Renowned for its engineering and technology programs, Mapúa also offers master’s degrees in business and IT, among others. The university accommodates students with HND certificates and lower class honors, recognizing the importance of practical skills in these fields.

5) University of Santo Tomas (UST)

UST, one of the oldest educational institutions in the country, provides opportunities for students with diverse academic backgrounds to pursue master’s degrees in fields like health sciences, arts, and humanities. Its holistic admissions process ensures that all candidates are evaluated on their individual merits.

These universities are examples of how the Philippine higher education system is evolving to include students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. Interested applicants should directly contact the admissions offices of these universities for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding application procedures and requirements.


What are the requirements for taking a Master’s degree in the Philippines?

To be eligible to take a master’s degree in the Philippines, you typically need to have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university or college. In addition, many universities require applicants to have a certain minimum GPA (grade point average) in their undergraduate studies, as well as passing an entrance exam. Some programs may also require letters of recommendation and a personal statement. 

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

It depends on the country and the specific university you are interested in. In the UK, for example, some universities accept HND (Higher National Diploma) certificates for admission into master’s degree programs

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

Yes, you can! While some programs might prefer First Class degrees, many accept Second Class Upper and Lower, depending on the program and university. However, a higher GPA within your Second Class might be advantageous.

Can I do a Master’s degree with a 2.2 GPA?

It depends on the program and university. Some programs have minimum GPA requirements, which might be higher than 2.2. However, other factors like your work experience, research experience, and statement of purpose can influence your application’s strength even with a slightly lower GPA.

Can someone use a Second Class Lower for a Master’s degree?

Yes, many Master’s programs in the Philippines accept Second Class Lower degrees. As mentioned earlier, a strong overall profile and a compelling application can still make you a competitive candidate.


The Philippines has many universities and schools that offer master’s degree programs, and it is possible to find schools that accept HND certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees. However, it is important to keep in mind that the requirements for admission vary by school and program. Some schools may have higher requirements than others, so it is important to research the specific schools and programs you are interested in before applying. 

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