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

The United Arab Emirates has long been recognized for its commitment to providing exceptional educational opportunities. Among these opportunities, higher education has a special place, with numerous universities and schools catering to a wide range of academic interests and backgrounds.

This extends to holders of Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates, and graduates with Second Class and 3rd Class degrees, who are aspiring to pursue their Master’s degrees in the UAE. This blog post digs into the options available for these candidates, shedding light on the eligibility criteria, and listing the universities and schools in the UAE that offer them a pathway to further their education.

Eligibility Criteria for HND, Second Class, and 3rd Class Graduates In UAE 

For HND, Second Class, and 3rd Class graduates looking to further their education with a Master’s degree in the UAE, understanding the eligibility criteria is paramount. While specific requirements can vary by institution and program, the following general criteria are often applicable:

HND Certificate Holders:

  • Accreditation: Applicants must have obtained their HND from a recognized institution accredited by the relevant educational authorities.
  • Transcript Evaluation: Universities may require a detailed evaluation of the courses covered during the HND program to assess equivalency and relevance to the desired Master’s program.
  • Additional Requirements: Some universities may mandate that HND holders undergo a bridging program or a Pre-Master’s course to bridge any gaps between their HND curriculum and the prerequisites of the Master’s program.

Second Class Degree Holders:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree with a Second Class standing, either Upper Division (2:1) or Lower Division (2:2), from a recognized university.
  • Work Experience: Relevant work experience may be required, particularly for competitive programs or those that demand specific professional backgrounds.
  • Language Proficiency: Proficiency in English, demonstrated through standardized tests such as IELTS or TOEFL, may be necessary depending on the medium of instruction.

Third Class Degree Holders:

  • Demonstrated Potential: Applicants with a Third Class Bachelor’s degree must showcase their potential for postgraduate study through additional qualifications or demonstrable work experience in a related field.
  • Pathway Programs: Some universities offer pathway programs that include prerequisite courses to qualify for admission into the desired Master’s program.
  • Language Proficiency: Proficiency in English or Arabic, depending on the program’s medium of instruction, will be assessed through standardized testing.

It’s essential for potential applicants to consult directly with the admissions office of their chosen institution for the most current and specific admission requirements. 

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

These institutions recognize the value and potential of students coming from diverse educational backgrounds and have structured their admissions processes to accommodate them. Below is a curated list of UAE universities that provide pathways for HND holders, Second Class, and 3rd Class graduates to pursue their Master’s degrees:

1) American University in Dubai (AUD): 

Known for its international perspective and diverse student body, AUD offers several graduate programs where students with HND certificates or lower-class degrees can apply, subject to fulfilling specific bridging course requirements or demonstrating relevant professional experience.

2) British University in Dubai (BUiD)

As a provider of UK-style education, BUiD caters to a wide range of academic profiles for its Master’s programs. Candidates with HND certificates or Second Class and 3rd Class degrees may be required to attend pre-Masters courses or provide evidence of significant work experience in a relevant field.

3) Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus

With a strong emphasis on building career-focused skills, Heriot-Watt accepts students from varied academic backgrounds for its postgraduate courses. HND holders and graduates with lower classifications might need to participate in foundation programs or prove their professional accomplishments to gain admission.

4) University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD)

UOWD’s flexible admission criteria allow for the inclusion of HND recipients and those with lower undergraduate classifications into their Master’s programs. Candidates may have to undergo an interview process or submit additional documentation demonstrating their readiness for graduate-level study.

5) Zayed University

Offering a range of graduate programs, Zayed University accommodates students with diverse academic records. Those with HND certificates, Second Class, or 3rd Class degrees may be admitted into certain programs, especially if they have relevant work experience or have completed additional academic courses.

Each of these universities has its own set of requirements and admissions processes, so it is advisable for prospective students to directly contact the admissions offices for the most accurate and up-to-date information. By doing so, candidates can better understand the specific criteria they need to meet, such as bridging courses, additional qualifications, or work experience, to enhance their eligibility for their chosen Master’s program.

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

While the focus is often on universities for postgraduate studies, several schools in the UAE also offer master’s degree programs that are open to students with diverse academic backgrounds, including those with HND certificates, Second Class, and 3rd Class undergraduate degrees. These institutions provide specialized programs that cater to the professional and academic growth of every student, recognizing the value of practical experience and the potential for academic development regardless of past classifications. Below are some of the notable schools in the UAE where such candidates can explore opportunities for pursuing their master’s degrees:

1) Middlesex University Dubai 

Offers a variety of master’s programs where students with HND certificates or lower undergraduate classifications may be considered, particularly if they have relevant work experience or professional qualifications that demonstrate their ability to succeed at postgraduate level study.

2) Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Dubai

Recognized for its inclusive admission policies, Manipal Academy provides opportunities for HND holders and graduates with Second Class and 3rd Class degrees to join its master’s programs, often requiring some form of preparatory coursework or evidence of professional achievement.

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3) Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Dubai

Emphasizes innovation and leadership in its graduate programs and accommodates students from various educational backgrounds. Applicants with HND certificates or lower degree classifications may need to meet additional requirements, such as interviews or portfolio submissions, to prove their readiness for rigorous postgraduate education.

4) Canadian University Dubai (CUD)

Known for its wide range of graduate programs tailored to the needs of a diverse student body, CUD welcomes applications from students with HND certificates and lower degree classifications, provided they can demonstrate their potential through professional experience or a strong statement of purpose.

5) MODUL University Dubai

Offers internationally recognized master’s degree programs with flexible admission criteria that include pathways for students holding HND certificates and those with Second Class and 3rd Class degrees. Applicants might be subject to additional assessments to ascertain their suitability for the chosen program.

These schools exemplify the UAE’s commitment to educational inclusivity and excellence, providing avenues for all students to advance their careers and academic pursuits, regardless of their initial degree classification. Prospective students should reach out directly to the admissions departments of these schools for the most current information on entry requirements and application procedures.


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), though this will depend on the specific university and program you are interested in. Many universities will require you to have a bachelor’s degree in order to apply for a master’s, so it is important to check the specific requirements of the program you are interested in. 

Does Australia university accept HND for Masters?

The answer to this question is a bit complicated, as it depends on the specific university and the type of master’s degree you are interested in pursuing. In general, Australian universities do not accept Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) as a direct entry qualification for master’s programs. However, some universities may allow you to apply for a postgraduate diploma or certificate program, which would then allow you to pursue a master’s degree.

Does Sweden university accept HND for Masters?

While most universities in Sweden do not directly accept a Higher National Diploma (HND) as a valid qualification for a master’s degree, there are some exceptions. Some universities offer special “top-up” programs for HND holders, which allow them to upgrade their HND to a bachelor’s degree and then apply for a master’s. 

Can a 3rd class do Masters?

While it is possible for someone with a 3rd class degree to pursue a master’s degree, the specific requirements will vary depending on the university and the program. Generally, a 3rd class degree is considered to be a lower-level qualification than a 2:1 or first class degree, so some universities may not accept it for admission into a master’s program. 

Can a second class lower go for Masters?

A second class lower degree can be sufficient for admission into a master’s degree program. However, the specific requirements for admission will vary depending on the university and the program you are interested in. Some universities may require you to have a minimum grade point average (GPA) or to complete a certain number of credits at the undergraduate level before being admitted into a master’s program.


UAE universities offer a wide range of opportunities for students with HND certificates, second class, and 3rd class degrees. There are a number of institutions that accept these qualifications for admission into master’s degree programs, including some of the country’s top universities.

UAE schools offer a variety of programs that are tailored to the needs of students with different levels of qualifications, and there are also many opportunities for financial aid and scholarships available to students. In conclusion, UAE universities are a great option for students with HNDs, second class, and 3rd class degrees who want to pursue a master’s degree.

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