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

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There are a number of schools and universities in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that accept Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees for admission into master’s degree programs. 

This blog post will enlighten you into the opportunities available in schools and universities across the UAE for those holding these qualifications.

Criteria For Admissions Into Schools and Universities in UAE

For those holding Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates or undergraduate degrees with second or third class honors looking to pursue a master’s degree, it’s important to understand the admissions criteria that schools and universities in the UAE generally follow. While specific requirements can vary from one institution to another, the following list provides a broad overview of what applicants might need to prepare:

  • English Language Proficiency: Most courses are taught in English. Therefore, non-native speakers are typically required to provide proof of English language proficiency through tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, or equivalent examinations. The minimum score requirements can vary depending on the institution and the program.
  • Entrance Exams/GMAT/GRE: For some competitive fields or programs, schools may require scores from graduate admissions tests such as the GMAT or GRE.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants are often asked to submit one or more letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to their academic or professional competencies and potential for success in a graduate program.
  • Statement of Purpose/Personal Statement: A well-crafted statement of purpose or personal statement is crucial. It should outline the applicant’s academic interests, professional goals, and reasons for choosing the specific program and institution.
  • CV/Resume: A detailed CV or resume that highlights educational background, work experience, achievements, and skills is required for most applications.

It’s essential for prospective students to thoroughly research and understand the specific admissions criteria of the schools and universities they are interested in. Applicants are encouraged to reach out directly to admissions offices for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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

Navigating the educational landscape in the UAE for those with HND certificates, or second and third-class degrees looking to pursue a master’s degree can initially seem daunting. Yet, the UAE hosts a plethora of schools and universities that offer welcoming admissions policies for such applicants. Below is a curated list of educational institutions known for their inclusive approach towards admissions for master’s degree programs:

1) Heriot-Watt University Dubai

Recognized for its global campus network, Heriot-Watt University in Dubai is known to assess applications holistically, considering HND certificates and undergraduate degrees across classifications for various master’s programs, with some requiring a pre-master’s course for those with specific qualifications.

2) Middlesex University Dubai

Offering a wide range of postgraduate programs, Middlesex University in Dubai provides opportunities for HND holders and graduates with second and third-class degrees to further their education. The institution focuses on the potential of each candidate, often recommending foundation courses to bridge academic gaps.

3) British University in Dubai (BUiD)

BUiD, with its strong emphasis on research and professional development, accepts a range of qualifications including HNDs and lower undergraduate classifications for entry into several of its master’s degree programs, subject to completion of supplementary courses where necessary.

5) University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD)

UOWD is renowned for its comprehensive master’s programs and its flexible admissions policies. The university takes into consideration the entirety of an applicant’s academic and professional background, offering pathways for those with HND certificates and second or third-class degrees.

This list is not exhaustive, and prospective students are advised to directly contact the admissions offices of these institutions for the most current information regarding program availability, specific entry requirements, and any preparatory course recommendations. Each of these schools and universities in the UAE exemplifies the region’s dedication to accessible and inclusive higher education pathways.

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

The UAE boasts a robust selection of universities that offer postgraduate opportunities for individuals with diverse academic backgrounds, including those with HND certificates and second or third-class bachelor’s degrees. These institutions recognize the potential in each candidate, providing pathways to master’s degree programs that cater to a wide array of professional and academic aspirations. Here’s a concise guide to some of the universities in the UAE where such qualifications are considered for master’s degree admissions:

1) Abu Dhabi University (ADU)

Known for its commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and student services, ADU accepts applicants with HND certificates and lower degree classifications into several of its postgraduate programs, often with the recommendation of taking specific bridge courses to prepare for the rigors of graduate study.

2) British University in Dubai (BUiD)

As mentioned previously, BUiD offers an inclusive approach towards applicants with various academic backgrounds. The university’s focus on research and development makes it a prime destination for candidates seeking to enhance their academic and professional profiles through a master’s degree.

3) American University of Sharjah (AUS)

AUS is celebrated for its global outlook and multicultural environment. It provides opportunities for HND holders and graduates with lower classifications, considering the full spectrum of an applicant’s experience and achievements during the admissions process.

Applicants interested in these universities are encouraged to review the specific admissions criteria and contact the admissions offices for tailored advice and guidance on the application process. These universities underscore the UAE’s inclusive approach to higher education, aiming to cultivate a diverse and dynamic graduate student community.


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

The short answer is yes, in many cases you can apply for a master’s degree with a Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate. However, the exact requirements will depend on the university and program you are interested in. Some universities will require you to have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, while others may allow you to apply directly with your HND. 

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 abroad with a second class lower?

It is possible to pursue a master’s degree abroad with a second class lower degree, but the admission requirements will vary depending on the country and institution you are applying to. Many universities in countries like the UK, Australia, and Canada accept second class lower degrees for admission into master’s programs.   

Can someone with a third class degree go for a Master’s abroad?

The possibilities are lower, but not impossible. Universities abroad might have stricter requirements for lower classifications. However, consider these options:

  • Focus on universities with a history of accepting Third Class degrees for specific programs. Research extensively and contact program coordinators directly to inquire about their policies.
  • Improve your academic qualifications. Consider pre-Master’s programs, graduate diplomas, or higher-level certificates to demonstrate academic potential beyond your Third Class degree.
  • Compensate with exceptional experience and skills. If you have extensive relevant work experience, achievements, or research experience, emphasize them in your application to showcase your readiness for Master’s-level studies.

Can I do a Master’s with a 3rd class degree?

While it is possible to pursue a master’s degree with a third class degree, it may be more difficult to gain admission to certain universities or programs. Many universities have minimum grade requirements for admission, and a third class degree may not meet these requirements. However, it is still worth applying to your desired program, as universities may consider other factors such as relevant work experience or personal statements. 


To sum up, the United Arab Emirates has a number of schools and universities that offer master’s degree programs for students with HND certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees. These programs are offered in a wide range of fields, including business, engineering, and the arts. The admission requirements for each school vary, but most require a bachelor’s degree and some may also require additional requirements such as letters of recommendation and standardized test scores. With the many opportunities available, the UAE is an excellent destination for those looking to earn a master’s degree.

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