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

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The pursuit of higher education in the United States is a dream for many international students. However, candidates often need help with the acceptance of their qualifications, particularly if they hold Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates or undergraduate degrees with second-class or third-class honors. 

The good news is that select schools and universities in the USA are more flexible regarding these qualifications, especially for applicants aiming for master’s degree programs. This post will shed light on those institutions that open their doors to a diverse range of academic backgrounds, helping you navigate the path to furthering your education in the United States.

Criteria For Admission To Master’s Degree In Schools and Universities in the USA 

Gaining admission for a master’s degree in the United States with a Higher National Diploma (HND), second-class, or third-class honors degree may seem daunting. However, many institutions offer pathways for students with these qualifications. Understanding the general admission criteria is the first step toward achieving your goal. Here are key factors that schools and universities in the USA consider:

  • Evaluation of Foreign Credentials: Most institutions require an evaluation of your HND or bachelor’s degree by a recognized credential evaluation service. This process verifies the equivalency of your degree in terms of the U.S. education system.
  • Grade Point Average (GPA): While your classification may not directly translate, your GPA calculated from your degree can be crucial. Some schools have minimum GPA requirements, but others may offer flexibility for students with lower GPAs, particularly if you demonstrate other strengths.
  • Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT): Many programs require these standardized tests as part of the admission process. Good scores can significantly bolster your application, especially if your undergraduate grades are not as strong.
  • Proof of English Proficiency: For non-native English speakers, universities will ask for TOEFL or IELTS scores to ensure you can participate fully in your chosen program.
  • Relevant Work Experience: Especially for those with practical qualifications like an HND or for applicants whose undergraduate performance may not reflect their current capabilities, 

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

Identifying schools in the USA that welcome students with HND certificates, and second-class, and third-class degrees for their master’s programs is a crucial step for international students looking to continue their education. The following institutions have shown a willingness to consider applicants with diverse academic backgrounds for their graduate programs. It’s important to contact each school directly for the most current admission requirements and to understand how your qualifications fit within their criteria.

1) Walden University

Known for its flexibility and online programs, Walden University offers various master’s degree programs that cater to students with an array of academic qualifications, including those with HND certificates.

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2) Capella University

This university provides an array of online master’s programs and has a comprehensive evaluation process for international qualifications, including HNDs and lower class degrees, making it a viable option for students from diverse educational backgrounds.

 3) Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU)

SNHU has a reputation for its extensive support for international students and evaluates each applicant’s academic history on a case-by-case basis, potentially accepting HNDs and lower classifications for their master’s degree programs.

4) Colorado Technical University

With programs in business, engineering, and IT, Colorado Technical University assesses international qualifications like HNDs and looks beyond class rankings to consider the full profile of an applicant.

5) Northeastern University

Offering a Global Pathways Program, Northeastern University provides an avenue for students with HNDs or lower-class degrees to bridge into their master’s degree programs, emphasizing a holistic view of each applicant’s potential.

It’s essential for prospective students to thoroughly research and directly engage with the admissions offices of these schools to discuss their specific circumstances and qualifications. Each institution may have unique prerequisites or pathways for students with HND certificates, second-class, and third-class degrees, including preparatory courses or conditional admission options.

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

Fortunately, several universities have established admission frameworks that accommodate these diverse educational backgrounds. These institutions recognize the value of a broad range of experiences and qualifications, offering a more inclusive approach to higher education. Below are some universities that have made provisions for such applicants in their master’s degree programs:

 1) University of Bridgeport

This university is known for its inclusive admissions policies and offers various master’s programs that cater to international students with HND certificates or lower undergraduate honors. Their focus on individual potential and professional experience allows for a broader assessment of an applicant’s suitability for graduate study.

2) Texas A&M University-Commerce

At Texas A&M University-Commerce, there is a pathway for students with diverse academic credentials. The university has specific programs that evaluate the international degrees on a case-by-case basis, providing opportunities for students with HNDs and lower classifications to pursue their master’s degrees.

3) Florida International University (FIU)

FIU offers a range of master’s programs that are accessible to international students with HND certificates and lower class degrees. Their comprehensive review process considers the totality of an applicant’s academic and professional background, ensuring a fair assessment of their potential for success in graduate studies.

4) Eastern Michigan University

This institution offers a welcoming environment for students with varied educational backgrounds. Eastern Michigan University assesses applicants based on their overall profile, including work experience and academic achievements, providing a gateway for those with HNDs and lower undergraduate classifications to enter master’s programs.

5) California State University, Fresno

 Known for its diverse student body, California State University, Fresno evaluates international qualifications comprehensively, including HNDs and lower-class degrees. They offer a range of master’s degree programs across different fields, with flexible admission criteria that consider the full scope of an applicant’s educational journey.

Prospective students are encouraged to directly contact the admissions offices of these universities to gain detailed insights into the specific requirements and opportunities available for their unique qualifications. Each university may offer specific support services, preparatory programs, or conditional admission options to facilitate the transition into their master’s degree programs for students with HND certificates, second-class, and third-class degrees.


Does Germany accept HND (Higher National Diploma) for a Master’s degree?

Germany generally does not accept HND certificates for admission to a master’s degree program. Most German universities require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent for admission to a master’s program.

What is the minimum CGPA requirement for Masters in Germany?

The minimum CGPA (cumulative grade point average) requirement for a master’s degree in Germany varies depending on the university and the specific program. Generally, most universities require a minimum CGPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. However, some universities may have a higher or lower CGPA requirement. 

Can I do my Master’s with an HND certificate?

While some universities in the world accept HND certificates for admission to a master’s degree program, this is not the norm. Generally, most master’s degree programs require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited institution.

How many credits are required to do a Master’s in Germany?

In Germany, most master’s degree programs require 60 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits to complete. This typically takes two years of full-time study, but some programs may have different credit requirements.

What is the minimum qualification for a Master’s in Germany?

The minimum qualifications for a master’s degree in Germany typically include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of around 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. In addition to the degree and GPA, many programs also require proof of English proficiency, such as a TOEFL or IELTS test score.


In conclusion, some top-tier American universities accept students with HND certificates, second class or 3rd class qualifications. While these institutions have stringent admission requirements, they recognize the value of a diverse student body and the potential that all students possess. As a result, students from around the world can find a home at these universities, regardless of their prior academic performance. So, for those seeking to further their education, the United States remains an attractive destination. 

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