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

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Switzerland is renowned for its high-quality education system, which attracts students from around the globe. However, those holding an HND (Higher National Diploma), a second class, or a third class degree may wonder about their eligibility for pursuing a Master’s degree in this prestigious educational landscape. 

This blog post aims to shed light on the schools and universities in Switzerland that offer opportunities for students with these qualifications to advance their studies.

Admission Criteria for HND, Second Class, and 3rd Class Holders  

Here, we outline the typical admission criteria for students holding these qualifications:

  • Proof of Qualification: Applicants must provide official documentation of their HND, second-class, or third-class degree. This includes transcripts and certificates that indicate the level of academic achievement.
  • Relevant Work Experience: Some institutions may require or highly favor applicants with relevant work experience in their field of study. This experience can help compensate for lower academic grades by demonstrating practical knowledge and skills.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters from academic or professional referees can play a crucial role in the application process. They provide insight into the applicant’s abilities, work ethic, and potential for success in a Master’s program.
  • 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 can significantly bolster their application.
  • Language Proficiency: Since courses may be offered in English, French, German, or Italian, depending on the institution, proficiency in the relevant language is essential. This is typically verified through standardized language tests such as the TOEFL, IELTS for English, or equivalent tests for other languages.

Each institution has its specific requirements, so it’s vital to research and contact the admissions office of the schools or universities you’re interested in for detailed information.

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

Below is a list of some universities that are known to accommodate these qualifications, each with its own set of criteria and offerings. Please note, it is crucial to reach out directly to the admissions office of each institution for the most current information and specific requirements.

1) University of Zurich

Recognized for its wide range of programs across various disciplines, the University of Zurich occasionally admits students with HND Certificates and lower-class degrees into selected Master’s programs, particularly those with strong professional backgrounds or exceptional portfolios.

2) ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) 

ETH Zurich, renowned for its engineering and science programs, evaluates applicants on a case-by-case basis. Those with significant work experience and a clear academic trajectory aligned with their chosen field may be considered for certain Master’s programs despite having HND or lower-class undergraduate degrees.

3) University of Geneva

With a focus on international relations, public health, and other disciplines, the University of Geneva offers a few programs where practical experience and a strong personal statement can weigh in favor of applicants with lower academic qualifications.

4) University of Lausanne

Known for its business and economics programs, the University of Lausanne assesses applicants holistically, taking into account work experience, motivation letters, and recommendations, which can provide an edge for HND holders and those with Second or Third Class degrees.

5) University of Basel

Emphasizing research in life sciences, the University of Basel has specific Master’s programs that consider applicants with diverse educational backgrounds. The emphasis is on how the applicant’s overall profile aligns with the program’s objectives.

Each of these institutions has carved a niche for itself not only in Switzerland but on the global academic stage. Prospective students with HND Certificates, Second Class, and Third Class degrees are encouraged to carefully review the admission requirements for their programs of interest and engage directly with the universities for guidance on how to strengthen their application.

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

In addition to the notable universities previously mentioned, Switzerland is also home to specialized schools that offer unique opportunities for students holding HND Certificates, Second Class, and Third Class degrees. These institutions provide a range of Master’s degree programs across various fields, accommodating diverse academic backgrounds and emphasizing practical experience alongside theoretical learning. Below is a detailed list of some schools known for their inclusive admission policies and commitment to educational diversity:

1) Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS) 

SHMS is renowned for its hospitality management programs. It provides a pathway for students with HND Certificates and lower-class degrees, especially those who have garnered significant experience in the hospitality industry. The school values practical skills as much as academic credentials, offering a blend of theoretical and hands-on learning.

2) Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)

For students passionate about art, design, film, music, and theatre, ZHdK considers a wide range of qualifications, including HND Certificates and lower academic degrees. The university places a strong emphasis on portfolio quality and creative potential, making it a suitable choice for individuals seeking to pursue their Master’s degree in creative fields.

3)  Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

With a focus on engineering, business, art, and social sciences, this university offers programs that cater to students with practical experience and a keen interest in applied research. It recognizes the value of HND Certificates and lower-class degrees, provided the applicant demonstrates competency through work experience or a compelling personal project.

4) Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen (SFISM)

Ideal for students interested in sports science, management, or coaching, SFISM looks beyond traditional academic achievements. It considers applicants with relevant work experience and a strong commitment to sports, offering programs that combine scientific study with practical application in the sports industry.

5) Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations

This institution is an excellent choice for students with an HND or lower-class degree in fields related to international relations or political science. It values diverse perspectives and real-world experience, offering programs that prepare students for careers in diplomacy, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

These schools represent just a fraction of the opportunities available in Switzerland for students with varied academic backgrounds. Each institution has its own unique approach to evaluating applicants, emphasizing the importance of aligning one’s personal and professional experiences with the program’s objectives.


Can I do my Masters with HND certificate?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a Master’s degree with an HND certificate. However, the requirements vary from university to university, and some may require additional qualifications or work experience.

Does Sweden university accept HND for Masters?

Some universities in Sweden may accept HND for Master’s degree programs, but it is best to check with the specific university and program of your interest as their requirements may differ.

Can I do Masters abroad with second class lower?

Yes, it is possible to do a Master’s degree abroad with a second class lower. However, the requirements for admission vary depending on the university and program. Some universities may require additional qualifications or work experience.

Which European countries accept HND for Masters?

Several European countries may accept HND for Master’s degree programs, but it is best to check with the specific university and program of your interest. Some countries that are known to accept HND for Master’s programs include the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Can an HND holder go for Masters in Germany?

Yes, an HND holder can pursue a Master’s degree in Germany. However, the requirements for admission vary depending on the university and program. Some universities may require additional qualifications or work experience.


In conclusion, there are several schools and universities in Switzerland that accept HND certificates, second class, and third class for their masters degree programs. This is great news for individuals who may not have achieved the highest grades in their undergraduate studies, but still have the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue a masters degree. It is important to note, however, that admission requirements may vary between institutions and programs, and it is recommended to thoroughly research and understand the specific admission criteria before applying.

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