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

When it comes to higher education, the Netherlands has long been a leading country in Europe. With world-renowned universities such as the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, and the Erasmus University Rotterdam, it’s no surprise that many students are drawn to this beautiful country.

And for those with a Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate, there are a number of excellent options available. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the best universities and schools in the Netherlands that accept HNDs, as well as second class and third class degrees, for admission into master’s degree programs.

Eligibility Criteria For Master’s Degree In Netherlands Universities and Schools

The following outlines the general admission requirements set by most universities and schools in the Netherlands. However, it’s important to note that specific criteria may vary slightly from one institution to another:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or Equivalent: Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. For those holding an HND certificate, some universities may require a pre-master’s program to bridge the gap between HND and the academic level needed for a master’s degree.
  • Grade Requirements: While certain universities in the Netherlands have flexible grade requirements, most programs still seek applicants with upper second class degrees. However, candidates with lower classifications, like a third class, may still apply and are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Highlighting professional experience and relevant skills can strengthen an application.
  • Proof of English Proficiency: Since many master’s programs in the Netherlands are taught in English, non-native speakers are required to demonstrate their proficiency through standardized tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, or equivalent exams. Minimum score requirements vary by program and institution.
  • Relevant Work Experience: Some master’s programs, particularly those in business or engineering, may require or prefer candidates with relevant work or research experience. This can be particularly beneficial for applicants with lower academic grades, as it demonstrates practical knowledge and skills in the field.
  • Motivation Letter: A well-crafted motivation letter outlining the applicant’s academic interests, professional goals, and reasons for choosing the specific program and institution is often a crucial component of the application.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters from academic or professional referees who can attest to the applicant’s qualifications, character, and suitability for graduate study can significantly enhance an application.
  • Additional Tests or Portfolios: Depending on the field of study, some programs may require additional tests (e.g., GMAT for business-related programs) or the submission of a portfolio (for art and design programs).
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Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit the official websites of their targeted universities or schools in the Netherlands to access the most current and specific admission requirements for their chosen master’s programs.

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

Navigating the academic terrain in the Netherlands for students with HND certificates, second class, and third class degrees can initially seem daunting. However, several esteemed universities within the country offer pathways and programs tailored to embrace this diverse academic history, opening the doors to master’s degree opportunities. Here is a list of notable institutions where such qualifications are recognized, and applicants are encouraged to apply:

1) University of Amsterdam (UvA)

Known for its strong research programs and inclusive admission policies, UvA often considers applicants with HND certificates for certain master’s programs, provided they complete a pre-master’s course. Graduates with lower class degrees may also find suitable opportunities, especially with relevant work experience or an exceptional motivation letter.

2) Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) 

With a global reputation in engineering and technology, TU Delft offers specialized pre-master’s programs designed to elevate the academic level of HND holders to that required for master’s study. Applicants with lower academic grades may be considered for admission, particularly if they demonstrate significant practical experience or achievements in their field.

3) Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

TU/e is open to evaluating applications from students with various academic backgrounds for its science and engineering master’s programs. The university provides bridging courses for HND certificate holders, making it a viable option for those aiming to pursue advanced degrees.

 4) University of Groningen

Emphasizing a holistic review process, the University of Groningen assesses applicants based on academic performance, professional experience, and personal motivation. This approach benefits applicants with second class and third class degrees, giving them a fair chance at admission into their desired master’s programs.

5)  Leiden University

Offering a wide array of master’s programs across different disciplines, Leiden University looks beyond mere academic grades. Applicants with lower classifications and HND certificates are considered, especially if they exhibit a strong motivation for further study and a clear vision for their professional development.

6) Utrecht University

Utrecht University values diversity in its academic community and acknowledges the potential of students from varied educational backgrounds. It provides preparatory courses for HND holders and considers applicants with lower degree classifications on a case-by-case basis, factoring in their overall profile and potential for growth.

These universities represent just a handful of the opportunities available in the Netherlands for students with diverse academic records seeking master’s degree programs.

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

Beyond universities, the Netherlands is home to several specialized schools that welcome students with HND certificates, second class, and third class degrees for master’s degree programs. These institutions often focus on particular fields of study, offering more tailored and practical educational experiences. Here is a glimpse into some schools that embrace a diverse range of academic backgrounds:

 1) Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM)

Recognized for its prestigious business and management programs, RSM evaluates candidates on more than just their academic grades. It considers professional experience and leadership potential, making it a suitable choice for applicants with various degree classifications looking to excel in the business world.

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2) The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Known for its focus on practical and professional education, this institution offers master’s programs in fields such as International Law, Cyber Security, and Public Administration. Applicants with HND certificates might need to complete specific bridging courses, while those with lower university degree classifications can highlight relevant work experiences and skills in their application.

3) Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS)

AUAS provides a range of master’s programs designed to integrate academic knowledge with practical application. This approach is ideal for HND holders and graduates with second class and third class degrees, as the school values the blend of academic background and real-world experience.

4) Fontys University of Applied Sciences

Offering a variety of master’s programs in areas such as engineering, ICT, and health sciences, Fontys provides opportunities for students with diverse educational histories. The university has pathways for HND certificate holders and encourages applications from those with lower degree classifications who possess a strong motivation to learn and grow professionally.

5) Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen

With a strong emphasis on innovation and entrepreneurship, Hanze UAS offers master’s programs in fields like energy management, music, and fine arts. The university welcomes HND graduates and those with lower degree classifications, focusing on the applicant’s portfolio, work experience, and personal drive.

These schools exemplify the Netherlands’ inclusive approach to higher education, offering pathways to master’s degrees for students with a variety of academic achievements. Prospective students are encouraged to explore these options and consider how their unique backgrounds and experiences might align with the programs offered.


Which university in the Netherlands accepts HND for Masters?

The most notable university in the Netherlands that accepts HNDs for master’s degrees is Erasmus University Rotterdam. Erasmus University Rotterdam is a world-renowned research university that offers a wide range of master’s programs in a variety of disciplines.

Can I apply for Masters with my HND certificate?

It is possible to apply for a master’s degree with a Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate, but the requirements vary depending on the university and the specific program. Some universities may require you to have an HND with a certain grade average, while others may not require a specific grade average but may require you to have specific work experience or other qualifications. 

Does Sweden university accept HND for Masters?

In Sweden, many universities do accept Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) as a qualification for entry into their master’s degree programs. In fact, many Swedish universities consider HNDs to be equivalent to bachelor’s degrees. That said, it is always best to check with the specific university you are interested in to ensure that they accept HNDs for their master’s degree programs. 

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

It is definitely possible to pursue a master’s degree abroad with a second class lower (2:2) degree. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all universities will accept a 2:2 degree for admission. The requirements vary by institution and country, so it is best to check the requirements of the specific universities you are interested in.

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

The answer to this question is yes, you can pursue a master’s degree in Germany with a second class lower (2:2) degree. In fact, there are a number of universities in Germany that accept a 2:2 degree for admission into their master’s programs. However, it is important to keep in mind that the specific requirements for admission can vary from university to university. 


In the Netherlands, there are a number of universities and schools that accept HND certificates, second class degrees, and third class degrees for admission into their master’s degree programs. In general, admission requirements for these programs vary by institution, and some programs may have additional requirements such as work experience or a specific undergraduate major. 

However, these degrees are generally accepted as valid qualifications for entry into master’s programs. This is great news for students who may not have had the opportunity to pursue a bachelor’s degree in the Netherlands, as well as for students who may not have the financial means to complete a full bachelor’s degree program.

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