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

In recent years, Italy has become an increasingly popular destination for international students seeking quality higher education. Its rich history, vibrant culture, and renowned educational institutions make it an attractive option for those looking to further their studies.

Particularly for students holding Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates, as well as those who have achieved second class and third class degrees, Italy offers a range of universities and schools that provide opportunities to pursue Master’s degree programs.

This blog post explores the entry requirements for Master’s programs in Italy, lists the universities and schools that accept HND certificates, second class, and third class degrees, and offers a conclusion on the matter.

Entry Requirements for Master’s Programs in Italy

Understanding these prerequisites is crucial for a successful application. Here’s a comprehensive overview of what you might need to get started on your journey to pursuing a Master’s degree in Italy:

  • Proof of English or Italian Proficiency: Depending on the language of instruction of your chosen program, you may need to provide proof of proficiency in either English or Italian. Commonly accepted tests include IELTS, TOEFL for English, and CILS or CELI for Italian. The required proficiency level often depends on the university and the program.
  • Academic Transcripts: Your complete academic records, including transcripts from your undergraduate studies, are required. These documents should detail the courses you’ve taken and the grades you’ve achieved, providing insight into your academic background.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume: A detailed CV or resume is necessary to outline your educational background, work experience, skills, achievements, and any other information relevant to your application.
  • Statement of Purpose: A well-crafted statement of purpose that outlines your academic interests, professional goals, and reasons for choosing the specific Master’s program and university in Italy.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Typically, two or three letters of recommendation from professors or professional supervisors who can attest to your abilities, character, and potential for graduate study.

Each university and Master’s program may have its own specific requirements and exceptions, so it’s essential to consult the official university websites or contact admissions offices directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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

The Italian higher education system is known for its inclusivity and flexibility, making it a viable option for students who may not fit the traditional academic excellence mold but demonstrate potential and a keen interest in their chosen field. Below is a list of some universities in Italy known to consider applicants with these qualifications for their Master’s degree programs. Please note that specific program requirements may vary, and it’s advisable to check directly with the institution for the most current information.

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1) Politecnico di Milano

Renowned for its engineering, architecture, and design programs, Politecnico di Milano evaluates international qualifications on a case-by-case basis, offering potential opportunities for HND holders and those with lower class degrees, especially if they have relevant professional experience or have excelled in related areas of study.

2)  University of Bologna

As one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Bologna has a tradition of welcoming students from varied academic backgrounds for its wide array of Master’s programs. The institution assesses international applicants’ qualifications thoroughly, considering various factors beyond just academic grades.

3) Sapienza University of Rome

This prestigious university offers numerous Master’s programs that are open to international students, including those with HND certificates or lower second class degrees. Prospective students should demonstrate strong motivation and relevant background knowledge or work experience.

4) University of Padova

Known for its research and teaching excellence, the University of Padova has programs that may accommodate students with diverse academic qualifications. Their holistic approach to admissions considers the overall profile of the applicant, including professional accomplishments and personal statements.

5) University of Florence

 With a wide range of Master’s programs in the arts, sciences, and humanities, the University of Florence looks at the complete application package, allowing for the possibility of admission for students with HND certificates or lower undergraduate grades, provided they meet other program-specific criteria.

6) University of Pisa

This institution offers a variety of competitive Master’s programs and evaluates international qualifications on a comprehensive basis, including academic performance, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation, making it a potential option for those with HND certificates or lower class degrees.

These universities represent just a snapshot of the educational opportunities available in Italy for students with different academic backgrounds.

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

These institutions are recognized for their practical, industry-oriented approach and often provide specialized programs that cater to niche areas of study. Below is a list of such schools in Italy known to accept applicants with HND certificates, second class, and third class degrees for their Master’s programs. As with universities, it is essential to verify the specific entry requirements for each program by consulting the school’s official website or contacting the admissions office directly.

1) IED – Istituto Europeo di Design

With campuses in multiple Italian cities, IED offers a wide range of Master’s programs in design, fashion, visual communication, and management. The institute considers applicants with various academic backgrounds, focusing on portfolio strength and professional potential.

2) Polimoda

Located in Florence, Polimoda is renowned for its fashion and marketing programs. It evaluates applicants based on their creative talent and commitment to the fashion industry, making it a viable option for HND holders and those with lower undergraduate grades interested in a career in fashion.

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3) Accademia di Belle Arti

Italy’s Fine Arts Academies offer Master’s degrees in various art disciplines. These institutions value artistic talent and potential as much as academic history, providing a platform for students with diverse academic backgrounds to pursue advanced studies in art.

4) Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

While highly selective, this prestigious school offers advanced degrees in the sciences and humanities. It looks at the comprehensive profile of applicants, considering research potential and intellectual curiosity alongside academic qualifications.

5) Domus Academy

Based in Milan, Domus Academy focuses on design and fashion programs. The academy offers a project-based learning approach and is open to evaluating international qualifications, including HND certificates, for admission into their Master’s programs.

6) Scuola Politecnica di Design (SPD)

Also in Milan, SPD offers Master’s degrees in industrial and interior design, among others. The school values practical experience and a strong design portfolio, making it accessible to students from various academic backgrounds.

These schools provide an array of opportunities for further education in Italy, catering to a wide range of interests and fields of study.


Does Italy accept HND?

Yes, Italy does accept the Higher National Diploma (HND) for admission into universities and colleges. HNDs are recognized as professional qualifications in Italy, and many universities and colleges accept them as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. This means that students who hold an HND can pursue a master’s degree in Italy without having to complete an additional bachelor’s degree.

Can I apply for Masters with my HND certificate?

Whether or not you can apply for a master’s degree with your Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate will depend on the specific requirements of the university or college you are applying to. Generally, HNDs are recognized as professional qualifications in many countries, including Italy, and are accepted for entry into higher education programs.

Can I do Masters abroad with a second class lower (2:2)?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a master’s degree abroad with a second class lower, or a 2:2 degree. Many universities and colleges around the world accept a 2:2 degree for entry into their postgraduate programs. However, it is important to note that some universities and colleges may have additional requirements, such as a certain grade point average or relevant work experience.

Does Sweden university accept HND for Masters?

Most universities in Sweden will not accept a Higher National Diploma (HND) as an entry requirement for a master’s degree. This is because the Swedish university system does not recognize HNDs as equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. However, some universities in Sweden may accept HNDs as part of the application process, but only if you have completed a certain amount of additional coursework.

Can an HND holder go for Masters in Germany?

HND holders can apply for master’s programs in Germany. While the admission requirements for each program and university may vary, most master’s programs in Germany will accept HNDs as a valid qualification. That said, it is always a good idea to check with the specific program or university to confirm the specific admission requirements. Additionally, HND holders may be required to submit additional documents, such as proof of English language proficiency, in order to be eligible for admission. 


To conclude, Italy is a country with a rich history and culture, and a strong educational system. There are many universities and schools in Italy that accept HND certificates, second class, and third class degrees for admission into master’s degree programs. Italy is home to some of the oldest universities in the world, and the country offers a wide range of degree programs in various fields. The educational system is renowned for its high standards, and a master’s degree from an Italian university is highly respected internationally.

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