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

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Switzerland is home to some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world, and many of them accept HND (Higher National Diploma) certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees for admission into their master’s degree programs. For example, the University of Geneva offers several master’s degrees in subjects such as finance, economics, and international relations, and all of these programs accept HND qualifications.

The University of Zurich also offers a variety of master’s degrees, and accepts HND qualifications in addition to standard bachelor’s degrees. The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich is another top-ranked university that accepts HND qualifications.

In this blog topic, we will go deep into the universities and schools that accepts HND into master’s degree in Switzerland

Criteria For Admission Into Universities in Switzerland that Accept HND Certificates, Second Class and 3rd Class for  

Securing admission into a Master’s degree program in Switzerland with an HND certificate, Second Class, or Third Class degree requires understanding the specific admission criteria set by each institution. While the requirements can vary, there are commonalities across many schools and universities in Switzerland. Here is a comprehensive breakdown of the general criteria for admission:

  • Educational Background: Applicants must hold a Higher National Diploma (HND) or an undergraduate degree (Second Class or Third Class) from a recognized institution. The field of study should ideally be related to the intended Master’s program.
  • Work Experience: Some institutions may require or give preference to candidates with relevant work experience. This can range from one to several years, depending on the program and university.
  • Language Proficiency: Since courses may be offered in English, French, German, or Italian, demonstrating proficiency in the language of instruction is crucial. Commonly accepted tests include IELTS, TOEFL for English, DELF or DALF for French, and Goethe-Zertifikat for German. Specific score requirements vary by program.
  • Motivation Letter: A well-crafted motivation letter that outlines the applicant’s academic interests, career objectives, and reasons for choosing the specific program and institution in Switzerland.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Typically, two or more letters of recommendation from former professors or employers that can attest to the applicant’s suitability for graduate study.

Applicants should carefully review the specific admission requirements listed on the websites of their targeted universities or contact the admissions office directly for more detailed information. Meeting these criteria does not guarantee admission, as selection committees consider the overall quality and competitiveness of the applicant pool.

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

Switzerland is home to a variety of institutions that offer a welcoming hand to students with diverse academic backgrounds, including those holding HND certificates, Second Class, and Third Class degrees, for entry into their Master’s degree programs. Below is a list of notable schools that provide such opportunities, each with its unique set of programs and specialties.  

 1) Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)

Known for its practical approach to education, ZHAW offers several Master’s programs in areas like Engineering, Business, and Health Sciences that are accessible to students with various undergraduate achievements. The school focuses on applying knowledge in real-world scenarios, making it an attractive option for those looking to enhance their practical skills.

2)  Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

With a strong emphasis on creativity and innovation, this institution accepts students with HND certificates and lower undergraduate classifications into its Master’s programs in Art and Design, Music, and Social Work. Lucerne provides a vibrant, interdisciplinary environment for students to explore and develop their talents.

3) University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)

FHNW has a range of Master’s programs in fields such as Life Sciences, Business, and Technology. The university values diverse educational backgrounds and offers pathways for students with practical diplomas and various undergraduate degrees to advance their education.

4) Geneva School of Business Administration (HEG Geneva):

Part of the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland, HEG Geneva offers business-focused Master’s programs and is open to students with HND certificates and Second or Third Class undergraduate degrees, provided they meet other program-specific criteria. The school emphasizes international perspectives and practical experience in business education.

5) Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH)

BFH offers Master’s programs in areas like Engineering, Business, and Health. It is known for its research-driven approach and for fostering innovation among its students. BFH welcomes applicants with diverse academic records, recognizing the value of varied educational experiences in contributing to a rich learning environment.

Each of these institutions has its own application process and may require additional qualifications or preparatory courses for certain programs, especially for those with HND certificates or lower undergraduate classifications.

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

While specific universities in Switzerland have distinct admission criteria, there are several reputable institutions recognized for their openness to accepting students with diverse educational backgrounds, such as HND certificates, Second Class, and Third Class degrees, for their Master’s degree programs. The flexibility in the Swiss higher education system offers a unique opportunity for students who may not have the highest academic qualifications but possess the drive and ambition to further their education at the graduate level. Here are some universities that facilitate this path:

1) University of Bern

 This prestigious institution is known for its wide range of Master’s programs across various fields, including the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. It offers a supportive environment for students with diverse academic qualifications, assessing applicants on an individual basis.

2) University of Geneva

As one of the leading universities in Switzerland, the University of Geneva offers several Master’s programs in English and French, welcoming students from various educational backgrounds. Their inclusive admissions policy considers the overall profile of the applicant, including work experience and personal motivation.

 3) ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology):

Although highly competitive, ETH Zurich has programs that consider applicants with lower undergraduate classifications for certain Master’s programs, particularly if they demonstrate significant potential in their field of study or related work experience.

4) University of Lausanne 

Known for its research-driven programs in fields such as biology, geosciences, and social sciences, the University of Lausanne evaluates candidates on a case-by-case basis, making it an option for students with HND certificates or lower undergraduate degrees who show academic promise.

5) University of Basel 

Offering a variety of Master’s programs in life sciences, humanities, and social sciences, the University of Basel looks beyond mere academic grades, considering the full spectrum of an applicant’s background, including research and work experience, to assess their suitability for advanced study.

Applicants interested in these universities are encouraged to directly consult the admissions pages of their preferred programs for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding application requirements and processes. This proactive approach will ensure that potential candidates fully understand what is expected of them and how best to prepare their applications for consideration.


Does Sweden accept HND for Master’s degrees?

Generally speaking, universities in Sweden do not accept HND (Higher National Diploma) qualifications for direct admission into master’s degree programs. However, some universities may offer a pathway program that allows students with a HND to take additional courses in order to be considered for admission. Additionally, some universities may consider HND qualifications as part of their selection criteria, though not as a direct route to admission. 

Does Germany accept HND for Master’s degrees?

Most universities in Germany do not accept HND (Higher National Diploma) qualifications for admission to master’s degree programs. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) offers a HND program in Engineering, and the University of Freiburg offers a program in Advanced Studies in English Literature.

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

Yes! Even if not all programs accept HNDs directly, don’t give up:

  • Focus on programs aligned with your interests and HND field.
  • Highlight your relevant skills and experience in your application.
  • Research alternative pathways like pre-Master’s programs.
  • Contact program coordinators to discuss your qualifications.

Does Poland accept HND for Master’s degrees?

Generally, Polish universities require a Bachelor’s degree for Master’s programs. However, exceptions might exist:

  • Individual program discretion: Always contact the program directly to confirm their specific requirements.
  • Programs with limited applicants: In rare cases, programs with low applications might consider strong HND applicants with exceptional profiles.

What is the minimum CGPA requirement for Master’s in Poland?

There’s no single minimum CGPA requirement for all Master’s programs in Poland. Each program sets its own standards, often varying between 2.0 and 4.0 (on a 4.0 scale). Research individual programs to determine their specific requirements.


In wrapping up, the landscape of higher education in Switzerland presents a beacon of hope and a plethora of opportunities for students who come from varied academic backgrounds. Whether you hold an HND certificate, a Second Class, or a Third Class degree, the Swiss educational system’s inclusive and flexible approach opens the door to furthering your education and advancing your career through Master’s degree programs. The institutions listed in this blog post are testament to Switzerland’s commitment to diversity in education, offering a range of programs across multiple disciplines that cater to students with different qualifications.

Finally, pursuing a Master’s degree in Switzerland could be the transformative step in your academic and career journey, offering not just education but an experience that broadens your horizons. With careful planning, determination, and the right preparation, students with HND certificates, Second Class, and Third Class degrees can find their place in Switzerland’s esteemed higher education institutions, setting the stage for a promising future.

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