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

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Pursuing higher education and achieving a master’s degree can significantly enhance one’s career prospects and personal development. However, many students find themselves at a crossroads due to various undergraduate outcomes like holding an HND (Higher National Diploma), or earning a second class or third class in their bachelor’s degree. 

The good news is that in Saudi Arabia, a number of schools and universities recognize the potential of these students and offer pathways to further their education at the master’s level. This blog post aims to shed light on the admission requirements and identify specific institutions in Saudi Arabia that open their doors to such candidates.

Admission Requirements For Schools and Universities in Saudi Arabia 

Below is a consolidated list of general prerequisites you might encounter when applying for a master’s degree program in Saudi Arabia:

  • Educational Credentials: Applicants must submit their official transcripts or certificates. For HND holders, an equivalency certificate may be required to align with the Saudi education system standards.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA): While specific GPA requirements vary, most institutions look for a minimum GPA that reflects good academic standing. Second and third class degree holders should verify the minimum GPA equivalent needed for their classification.
  • Proof of Language Proficiency: For programs taught in English, non-native speakers must demonstrate proficiency through standardized tests like TOEFL or IELTS. Similarly, programs offered in Arabic might require evidence of proficiency in Arabic.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Typically, two to three letters of recommendation from previous educators or professional supervisors are required, attesting to the applicant’s academic and personal qualities.
  • Statement of Purpose: A well-crafted statement of purpose that outlines the applicant’s academic interests, professional goals, and reasons for choosing the specific program and institution.

It’s important for prospective students to directly consult the admissions office of their chosen institution for the most accurate and specific entry requirements, as they can vary significantly from one program to another.

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

While the list of specific schools in Saudi Arabia that accept HND certificates, second class, and third class bachelor’s degrees for entry into master’s degree programs is subject to change and may vary by program and year, some institutions are known for their inclusive admissions policies. It is crucial for prospective students to directly contact the admissions departments of these schools for the most up-to-date information. Below, we outline a few educational institutions that have historically been more accommodating to students with diverse academic backgrounds:

1) King Saud University

Known for its comprehensive programs and research opportunities, King Saud University occasionally offers pathways for students who may not have the traditional academic credentials typically required for postgraduate studies. They have foundation and bridge programs that can help prepare students for a successful transition to a master’s program.

2) King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) 

KFUPM has a reputation for excellence in engineering and sciences and provides options for students with HND certificates and lower bachelor’s degree classifications to enroll in certain master’s programs, especially for those who demonstrate strong professional experience or academic improvement potential.

3) Prince Sultan University

Offering a range of master’s programs, Prince Sultan University looks at the holistic profile of an applicant, including work experience and academic performance. They are known to consider applicants with second class and third class degrees for their graduate programs, subject to successful completion of any prescribed preparatory courses.

4) Alfaisal University

With a focus on innovation and research, Alfaisal University extends its educational offerings to students from varied academic backgrounds. They offer a pre-master’s program designed to uplift students to the requisite academic level for master’s studies.

5) King Abdulaziz University

This university provides a variety of master’s degree programs and is known for its openness to evaluate applicants on an individual basis. Students with HND certificates or lower bachelor’s degree classifications may be admitted into certain programs if they meet other specific criteria set by the department.

Prospective students with HND certificates, second class, or third class degrees should review each institution’s admissions policies carefully, as specific requirements and available programs may vary.

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

Recognizing the need for inclusive education policies, several universities have tailored their admissions to include those with HND certificates, as well as those who have achieved second class and third class honors in their undergraduate studies. Here’s a look at some universities in Saudi Arabia that are known for their flexible admissions criteria:

1) King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)

KAUST stands out for its commitment to advancing science and technology through diverse and inclusive education. The university offers various master’s programs where students with HND certificates or lower undergraduate classifications may be considered, especially with relevant work experience or exceptional skills.

2)  Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU)

Located in the Eastern Province, IAU provides opportunities for students with a wide range of academic backgrounds to pursue postgraduate studies in areas such as health sciences, engineering, and business. They offer bridging courses for those who need to meet specific academic standards for their chosen master’s program.

 3) Najran University

With a focus on development and innovation, Najran University offers several master’s degree programs that cater to students with diverse educational histories. They have specific criteria for assessing the eligibility of applicants with HND certificates or lower degree classifications, emphasizing the importance of academic potential and personal motivation.

4) Taif University

Known for its comprehensive programs in education, sciences, and the humanities, Taif University evaluates candidates on a case-by-case basis, considering those with HND certificates and lower classifications for their master’s programs, contingent on fulfilling other admissions criteria, such as preparatory courses or exams.

These universities represent the inclusive educational philosophy that Saudi Arabia is increasingly adopting. Prospective students are encouraged to reach out directly to the admissions offices of these institutions to get the most current information on program offerings, admissions requirements, and any preparatory courses that might be necessary to bridge academic gaps. This approach ensures that all candidates receive the guidance and support needed to make informed decisions about their postgraduate education.


Can I apply for Masters with my HND certificate?

It is possible to apply for a master’s degree with a Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate, but the eligibility requirements will depend on the specific university and program you are applying to. Many universities will accept a HND as an entry qualification, but some may require additional qualifications such as a bachelor’s degree or work experience.

Does Sweden university accept HND for Masters?

Swedish universities generally do accept HND (Higher National Diploma) certificates for admission into master’s degree programs. However, the specific requirements for each university and program may vary. Some universities may require students to have a relevant bachelor’s degree or professional experience in addition to the HND certificate. Additionally, some programs may require students to complete an entrance exam or an interview.

What are the requirements for university in Saudi Arabia?

The requirements for university admission in Saudi Arabia vary depending on the specific university and program. However, most universities require students to have a secondary school certificate or its equivalent, such as a high school diploma. Additionally, students must meet certain academic standards, including minimum grade point average and English language proficiency scores. For some programs, such as engineering or medicine, students may also need to take entrance exams. 

How many years is a Master’s Degree in Saudi Arabia?

Master’s degree programs in Saudi Arabia typically take two years to complete. However, the exact duration of the program may vary depending on the specific university and program. Some universities offer accelerated or part-time programs, which may take longer or shorter to complete.

What is the age limit for Masters in Saudi Arabia?

There is no specific age limit for pursuing a master’s degree in Saudi Arabia. However, most universities require applicants to be at least 18 years old. Additionally, some programs may have specific age requirements, such as those related to medicine or engineering. It is important to check the specific age requirements for the university and program you are interested in.  


For students who might have thought their academic results limited their opportunities for further study, the options available within Saudi Arabia’s universities and colleges offer a new lease on academic and professional ambitions. Whether through preparatory programs, bridging courses, or direct admissions, there is a pathway for almost every interested candidate to pursue a master’s degree in their chosen field.

Prospective students are encouraged to diligently research and engage with the admissions departments of these institutions to understand the specific requirements and opportunities available. Taking proactive steps such as improving language proficiency, gaining relevant work experience, and thoroughly preparing application materials can significantly enhance one’s chances of admission into these competitive programs.

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