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

Switzerland is renowned for its high-quality education system, boasting some of the world’s top universities and schools. This small, yet influential country is a hub for international students, offering a diverse range of Masters Degree Programs. 

One of the unique aspects of Swiss higher education is its inclusive approach to admissions. This is particularly evident in the acceptance of Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates, Second Class, and Third Class degrees for Masters Degree Programs. In this blog post, we will explore the universities and schools in Switzerland that offer such opportunities, alongside the eligibility criteria they set.

What Are The Eligibility Criteria For Switzerland Universities and Schools 

Gaining admission for a Masters Degree Program in Switzerland with an HND certificate, Second Class, or Third Class degree involves meeting various criteria set by the universities and schools. These criteria can vary significantly across institutions, but some common requirements tend to emerge. Below, we delve into the typical eligibility prerequisites for prospective students:

  • Academic Qualifications: Applicants must present their Higher National Diploma (HND), or their Second Class or Third Class bachelor’s degree certificate. It’s crucial to note that some universities might require a degree in a related field to the Master’s program being applied for.
  • Proof of English Proficiency: Since many programs offered are in English, especially for international students, universities require proof of proficiency in the language. This is usually demonstrated through standardized tests like the TOEFL or IELTS, with minimum score requirements varying by program and school.
  • Motivation Letter: A well-crafted motivation letter or statement of purpose is often a key component of the application. This document should articulate the applicant’s academic interests, professional aspirations, and reasons for choosing the specific program and institution.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Several letters of recommendation (typically two or three) from individuals who can attest to the applicant’s academic and/or professional competencies are usually requested. These can be from former professors, employers, or professional mentors.
  • Work Experience: For some programs, especially those related to business or management, relevant work experience can be a critical factor. It showcases the applicant’s practical understanding of the field and readiness for advanced study.

Meeting these eligibility criteria is the first step toward pursuing a Masters Degree in Switzerland for those holding an HND certificate, Second Class, or Third Class bachelor’s degrees. It’s important to carefully review the specific requirements of each targeted program and institution to ensure a complete and competitive application.

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

Below is a curated list of institutions known for their inclusive admission policies and the wide range of Masters programs they offer:

1) University of Zurich

Renowned for its comprehensive range of programs in the arts, sciences, and humanities. The University of Zurich evaluates applicants on an individual basis, with certain departments willing to consider HND and lower class degree holders, especially those who show strong potential through their professional experience or academic improvements.

2) ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

One of the world’s leading universities in science and technology. ETH Zurich has specific pathways for applicants who may not have a traditional academic background but have demonstrated excellence in their field of work or research.

3) University of Geneva

Offers a wide array of programs in various disciplines. The University of Geneva is known for its research-focused programs and is open to considering applicants with diverse academic backgrounds, provided they meet the department’s criteria for admission.

4) University of Lausanne 

Particularly noted for its programs in Social Sciences and Environmental Studies. The University of Lausanne encourages applications from students with HND certificates or lower classifications in their bachelor’s degrees, focusing on the applicant’s overall profile and potential for success in graduate studies.

5) University of Basel

As the oldest university in Switzerland, it boasts a rich history of academic excellence. The University of Basel has certain faculties that are open to evaluating applicants with HND Certificates, Second Class, and Third Class degrees, especially for programs where practical experience is highly valued.

6) École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) 

Like its counterpart ETH Zurich, EPFL is a leading institution in engineering and sciences. It offers tailored admission processes for non-traditional applicants, assessing them based on their potential for innovation and contribution to their chosen field.

These universities embody Switzerland’s commitment to educational inclusion and excellence. Prospective students are encouraged to directly contact the admissions office of their chosen program to inquire about specific requirements and application procedures.

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

In addition to the prestigious universities highlighted earlier, Switzerland also hosts a variety of schools that are well-geared towards embracing students with HND Certificates, Second Class, and Third Class degrees for Masters Degree Programs. These institutions are recognized for their practical approach to education, fostering environments where diverse academic backgrounds can thrive. Below are some notable schools that cater to such students:

 1) Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

Specializing in the fields of international affairs and development studies, this institution in Geneva is keen on attracting students from various academic trajectories, appreciating the unique perspectives they bring.

 2) Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) 

For those inclined towards creative disciplines, ZHdK offers a range of Masters programs in the arts, design, and music. The university values practical experience and creative talent, making it a favorable choice for HND holders and graduates with lower classifications looking to expand their artistic careers.

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3) Swiss Hotel Management School

Recognized globally for its excellence in hospitality management education, this school offers specialized Masters programs that blend industry knowledge with practical skills. Candidates with HND certificates or lower university degrees, coupled with relevant work experience, are considered for admission.

4) University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW)

With a focus on applied sciences, FHNW values the integration of practical experience with academic learning. Their Masters programs in engineering, business, and health professions provide pathways for students with diverse academic records to advance their careers.

5) Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts

Offering programs in business, social work, art and design, and engineering, this institution emphasizes the application of knowledge in real-world settings. It is an appealing option for students with HND certificates or lower degree classifications seeking to further their education in a practice-oriented environment.

6) Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations

This specialized institution offers advanced degrees in international relations and diplomacy, valuing the varied experiences and insights students with HND certificates, Second Class, and Third Class degrees bring to the complex world of global governance.

Each of these schools provides a unique opportunity for students with non-traditional academic backgrounds to pursue Masters Degree Programs in Switzerland. Prospective students should explore the specific offerings and admission requirements of these institutions to identify the best fit for their educational and career objectives.


Can I apply for Masters with my HND certificate?

It’s possible to apply for a master’s degree with a Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate, though it depends on the university and the program you’re applying to. Some universities require applicants to have an undergraduate degree, while others may accept a HND. Some programs may also require that you have some relevant work experience. 

Does Sweden university accept HND for Masters?

While most Swedish universities don’t explicitly state that they accept Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) for master’s degrees, many do accept applicants with other types of professional qualifications, including HNDs. In fact, many HND holders have been successful in gaining admission to Swedish universities for master’s programs

Can I do Masters abroad with second class lower?

Many universities around the world accept applications from students who have a second class lower degree, also known as a 2.2. While this may not be the case at every university, there are many that do accept students with this grade for their master’s degree programs. For example, in the UK, there are a number of universities that will accept a 2.2, including the University of London, the University of Leeds, and the University of Manchester. 

Does Germany accept HND for Masters degree?

Generally speaking, Germany does accept Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) for admission into its master’s degree programs. However, the specific requirements can vary depending on the university and the program. Some universities may require you to have an additional certificate or diploma, while others may require you to complete an assessment test. 

Does Poland accept HND for Masters?

Poland does accept Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) as a valid qualification for entry into its master’s degree programs. In fact, Poland has a long tradition of accepting HNDs from foreign students. This is because HNDs are seen as equivalent to bachelor’s degrees in Poland. As such, you should have no trouble finding a master’s degree program in Poland that will accept your HND


If you’re considering pursuing a master’s degree in Switzerland, it’s important to know that most universities accept Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), as well as second and third class degrees. This makes Switzerland a very accessible option for students from all backgrounds. Additionally, many Swiss universities offer English-taught programs, which can be helpful for international students. 

While each university has its own specific requirements, in general, Swiss universities look for students who are motivated, have strong academic records, and have a genuine interest in the program they’re applying to. With a little research, you can find the perfect program in Switzerland.

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