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

Are you considering a master’s degree in Ireland, but are unsure if your HND or second- or third-class degree will be accepted? Look no further! In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the different universities in Ireland that accept HNDs, second- and third-class degrees for their master’s programs. 

From Trinity College Dublin to University College Cork, we’ll explore the variety of universities available to you and the qualifications they require. So whether you’re looking for a world-class education or an unforgettable cultural experience, Ireland is the place to be.

Criteria For Admission In Ireland Universities and Schools  

When considering furthering your education with a Masters’s degree in Ireland, it’s crucial to understand the specific entry requirements of the universities and schools you’re interested in. Below, we outline the typical admission criteria for these applicants:

HND Holders:

  • Supplementary Qualifications: Some universities may require HND holders to have additional qualifications or certifications relevant to the proposed field of study.
  • Work Experience: Relevant work experience in a field related to the desired Masters’s program can be a significant advantage for HND applicants.
  • Bridging Programs: Certain institutions may offer bridging or foundation programs to help HND holders meet the academic requirements for postgraduate study.

Second and Third-Class Degree Holders:

  • Academic Performance: Many universities assess the overall academic performance, including the final year project or dissertation, to gauge the applicant’s potential for success in postgraduate studies.
  • Professional Experience: Like HND holders, applicants with Bachelor’s degrees might find that relevant work experience enhances their application, particularly if their degree classification is lower.
  • Personal Statement: A well-crafted personal statement explaining the motivation behind pursuing a Masters’s degree, how it fits into the applicant’s career goals, and why they’re applying to a specific program can be crucial.
  • References: Strong academic or professional references can significantly bolster an application, offering insights into the applicant’s abilities and potential for postgraduate success.

Remember, each university and school may have its own set of additional requirements, so it’s important to consult their admissions pages or contact them directly for the most accurate and detailed information.

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

In the realm of Irish higher education, a number of prestigious universities stand out for their inclusive approach towards admissions, specifically catering to students who may not have the typical academic background traditionally required for postgraduate study. These institutions recognize the value of diverse educational pathways, including those of HND holders and graduates with second or third-class honors degrees. The following list represents universities in Ireland known for accepting such qualifications for their Masters Degree Programs:

1) University College Dublin (UCD)

UCD, one of Ireland’s leading research universities, offers several postgraduate options for students with HND qualifications or second and third-class degrees, particularly if they can demonstrate professional experience or academic improvement.

2) Trinity College Dublin (TCD)

TCD, Ireland’s oldest university, values a holistic approach to admissions. Candidates with varied backgrounds, including HNDs and lower degree classifications, are encouraged to apply, provided they can show their potential through work experience and personal statements.

3) Dublin City University (DCU)

DCU is known for its innovative approach to education and has flexible entry requirements for several of its Masters programs. It provides opportunities for students with practical experience and a passion for their field of study.

4) University College Cork (UCC) 

UCC offers a range of postgraduate programs that accept HND and lower-classification degree holders. The university looks favorably upon applicants who have relevant work experience or have undertaken additional courses to bolster their academic credentials.

5) National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG)

NUIG has a reputation for inclusivity and offers various pathways into postgraduate education for students with HNDs and second or third-class degrees, especially those who can demonstrate their readiness and enthusiasm for further study.

6) University of Limerick (UL)

UL prides itself on its practical and career-oriented programs. The university has several postgraduate courses that are accessible to students with HNDs and lower degree classifications, emphasizing the importance of work experience and personal motivation.

These universities exemplify Ireland’s commitment to educational accessibility and recognize that a student’s potential cannot solely be judged on academic achievements. Prospective students are encouraged to directly contact the admissions offices of these institutions or visit their websites for detailed information on specific entry requirements, as they can vary by program and department.

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

Beyond the well-known universities, Ireland is home to a range of esteemed schools and institutes of technology that warmly welcome students with HND certificates, second-class, and third-class degrees into their Masters degree programs. These institutions are celebrated for their hands-on approach to learning, industry connections, and emphasis on practical skills that are directly applicable in the workplace. They provide an excellent alternative for students seeking specialized postgraduate education or looking to pivot their career direction. Here are some notable schools and institutes of technology in Ireland that accommodate such students in their Masters programs:

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1) Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin)

TU Dublin, which emerged from the amalgamation of several respected institutes of technology, offers a variety of Masters programs across disciplines. They are known for valuing professional experience and the practical application of skills in their admissions process, making them a good fit for HND holders and those with lower class degrees.

2) Cork Institute of Technology (CIT)

Now part of the Munster Technological University, CIT has a strong reputation for its postgraduate courses in engineering, science, and business. The institution has a history of accepting students with diverse academic backgrounds, including those with HNDs and lower classifications, especially if they can demonstrate industry experience or a strong motivation for the chosen field.

3) Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT)

With a focus on providing education that leads directly to employment, GMIT welcomes students into its Masters programs who have practical experience and a clear vision for their career. This includes applicants with HND certificates and second or third-class degrees, who are looking to deepen their expertise or change career paths.

4) Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT)

LIT offers a range of innovative Masters programs, particularly in the fields of art and design, business, and technology. They consider applicants with a variety of academic qualifications, including HNDs and lower degree classifications, valuing the diverse perspectives and experiences these students bring to their programs.


Does Ireland accept HND for Masters?

Yes, some universities in Ireland accept Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) for admission into their master’s degree programs. However, the acceptance of HNDs is dependent on the specific university and program. It is important to check with the individual university for more information on their specific admission requirements.

Can you do a Masters with a 2.2 in Ireland?

Yes, it is possible to do a master’s degree in Ireland with a 2.2 grade point average (GPA). There are a number of universities in Ireland that offer master’s programs for students with a 2.2 GPA, including University College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Galway, and University College Cork. 

Can I apply for Masters with my HND certificate?

While a Higher National Diploma (HND) is a valuable qualification, it may not be enough on its own to qualify for a master’s degree. Many universities require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for their master’s programs. 

What level is Masters qualification in Ireland?

In Ireland, a master’s degree is classified as a Level 9 qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). This means that a master’s degree is considered to be at a higher level than a bachelor’s degree, which is classified as a Level 8 qualification. The NFQ is a system that is used to classify all qualifications in Ireland, from secondary school level through to doctorate level. 

What is the minimum CGPA requirement for Masters in Ireland?

There’s no single minimum CGPA requirement for all Master’s programs in Ireland. Each university and program sets its own entry requirements, including minimum CGPA thresholds. Research individual programs to understand their specific requirements.


If you’re considering pursuing a master’s degree in Ireland, don’t worry if you have a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a second- or third-class degree. Many of Ireland’s universities accept these qualifications for their master’s programs.

With its rich cultural heritage, beautiful scenery, and world-class education system, Ireland is a great place to further your education. So don’t let your qualifications stop you from pursuing your dreams. Ireland’s universities are ready to help you reach your potential.

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