List of Universities That Accept HND for Masters Degree Easily

HND for Masters Degree: People have always wondered if universities accept HND for Masters degree programs. The truth is that you can, but it does not come easily. This article is written for those wondering if HND is recognized abroad. The following are some crucial facts and information about HND.

What is HND?

The HND, which stands for Higher National Diploma, is a higher educational qualification available to those in the United Kingdom and a few other countries. The HND courses have been developed to be geared toward the workplace. However, the United Kingdom has stopped issuing this certificate, they issue a Bachelor’s degree in its place.

HND is admired by employers and businesses and is perfect for students looking to be increasingly “hands-on” with their studies. Learning at the HND level will help you improve your career prospects. Higher National Diploma is an extension of the National Diploma (ND-equivalent to associate degree) program, and polytechnics run both in Nigeria. Two-year ND and HND programs each have an annual vacation following the ND course to allow for the Industrial Training (IT) placement in the appropriate industry.

Higher National Diplomas are often described as the replacement for a University bachelor’s degree or 4 years of college training as the student has been able to spend 4 to 5 years studying the program. While there is an ongoing debate regarding replacing the Polytechnic HND degree with a University bachelor’s degree, the employers of labour are still split on the subject. Beginning in the very first year of OND (one can gain admission into an HND program once they have completed 2 years of OND equivalent to an associate’s degree), The student is well-prepared to work in the field. At the end of HND, the student is competent to work as a professional.

If you have an HND, you don’t need to feel guilty or believe you cannot move on until you earn an undergraduate degree. The best part is that you can take a course abroad and get a scholarship or earn a Master’s degree using your HND. In this post, I’ll share information that benefits HND holders who want to make a difference with the diploma.

After HND what next?

The most common path for HND holders is to further their education, with more than half choosing this option. Slightly less than 30% of HND holders continue working full-time, most likely in their chosen field. Another 15% of students combine the two, working and studying simultaneously.

HND was recognised in the United Kingdom as an academic level 5 degree. In contrast, a bachelor’s degree is a level 6 certification. This means you only need one year of full-time study to complete your Bachelor’s degree. Many universities now offer specialized Top-up degrees to assist you in doing so.

What is a Top-up Degree?

Top-up degrees are intended for students who have completed an HND and wish to further their education by enrolling in the final year of an honours degree program.
Although an HND is a valuable certification in its own right, you may decide that studying for a degree is worthwhile depending on your career goals. A top-up degree is earned in the final year (Level 6) of an undergraduate degree program, allowing you to advance from your current qualification to a full Bachelor’s degree.

A top-up degree fills the gap between your current Level 5 certificate and a full undergraduate Bachelor’s degree (Level 6). It is essentially the same as the senior year of undergraduate studies. A three-year undergraduate degree is typical in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, a top-up degree allows you to enter the final year of study if you already have an HND, allowing you to complete a Bachelor’s degree in just one year. Top-up degrees are treated the same as full degrees.

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Several schools in the United Kingdom offer Top-up degree programs that allow students to earn a Bachelor’s degree in as little as a year!

It is important to note that you cannot complete your top-up degree in a different field of study. You must continue to study the course you learned during your HND.

There are several benefits to advancing from your current certificate to a Bachelor’s degree. It will help you demonstrate to an employer that you have the necessary intellectual, organizational, and management skills for your chosen career path. It can open up other opportunities for you in the future.

Many graduates who want to advance their education choose to stay in the UK for another year to pursue a Master’s degree at a higher-ranked university.

List of Schools that offer Top-up Degree Programs in the UK:

HND for Masters Abroad

Seeking a master’s degree from a foreign university with an HND is much more complicated than applying for an undergraduate degree. HND is recognized in many countries around the globe, but most don’t accept HND for masters degree. Many universities located in the United States of America accept HND for masters degrees.

However, some countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain, on the other hand, do not accept HND for masters but require you to take a postgraduate course or certificate/diploma course before enrolling in a master’s degree. Each country, including the United States of America, has its method of applying. However, there are certain things you must be aware of before the process of applying for a master’s abroad using your HND.

You might be interested to find out that many US institutions consider an HND degree equivalent to an undergraduate Degree, but with a few exceptions. To be considered for a straight master’s degree at a university in the United States, you must be able to show a GMAT or GRE score in addition to an IELTS/TOEFL test score. Before offering unconditional acceptance, your GRE/GMAT or IELTS/TOEFL test scores and your work experience are considered. Do you know what this means? You have to have scored the highest score on these tests.

If you are a student with upper distinction or credit and you are a high-school graduate, you are able to pursue studies in the United States, just as having a second-class or first-class lower (2:1) grade gives students an advantage over those who have lower grades when it comes to being granted admission to the study of master’s degrees abroad. But, you have to be able to meet the diverse specifications set by the university that you’re applying to.
With an HND, Canadian institutions won’t accept students with a direct master’s degree. However, you are eligible to apply for a Post Graduate Diploma, a Certification Program, or a Post-degree Certificate.

If you plan to pursue an overseas master’s program through your HND, You will be required to evaluate your transcripts. Review your HND and OND transcripts and declare your credentials to WES or other accreditation agencies. The transcripts you receive must be submitted directly to World Evaluation Services (WES) through your school.

There are two types of evaluations that are commonly used:

Course-based Assessment

Each diploma/certificate is recognised and presented in the course by course qualification evaluation report, which assigns each record an equivalency. 

In terms of the instructional framework in the United States, it reflects schooling duration, courses, credit hours, evaluations, and degrees, similar to the general education system (or your host nation). 

It’s important to remember that semester credits and a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) are commonly used in the United States.

Document-based Assessment

This type of evaluation report depicts and lists the educational institution(s) and educational credentials(s) obtained in a foreign country via the Document Credential Evaluation Report and their US equivalents. This assessment procedure is not accepted by all universities and colleges in the US.

Countries that do not accept HND for Masters degree

We don’t know much about the countries that do not recognise HND for Masters degree. However, you should be aware that some countries do not accept HND for Masters degree.

However, HND is mostly accepted in English-speaking countries such as Europe, America, and some Asian countries.

Meanwhile, universities in Canada do not accept HND for Masters, but only for Pre-Masters, after which such students can apply for Masters.

Some of the countries that do not accept HND for Masters are;

  1. Thailand
  2. Philippines
  3. Qatar
  4. Canada
  5. Saudi Arabia

Nigerian Universities that Accept HND for Masters

With HND, you can pursue a master’s degree in Nigeria. Many universities, including those listed on this page, accept HND for Masters degree programmes.

If you have an HND and want to pursue a Master’s degree, you must first check the requirements for your course or institution to ensure that a degree is not required as a prerequisite.

However, keep in mind that the majority of Master’s degree programmes require a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite.

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Only a few Nigerian universities accept HND for Masters. However, they require a minimum of upper credit.

If you have HND and want to pursue a Master’s degree in Nigeria, the following universities will accept you as long as you meet the entry requirements:

  • Federal University of Agriculture at Abeokuta
  • Kwara State University
  • NOUN
  • Olabisi Onabanjo University
  • Osun State University
  • University of Ibadan
  • University of Ilorin

Let us talk about these Nigerian universities that will gladly accept HND for masters

1. Federal University of Agriculture at Abeokuta

The Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta is a Federal University in the Ogun State, Nigeria.

FUNAAB accepts HND for masters as long as HND holders meet the requirements for the Postgraduate/Masters programmes listed below:

  • Master in Communication Studies
  • Masters In Environment Management
  • Masters in Information and Communication Technology (MICT)

2. Kwara State University

Kwara State University is a state university in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.

KWASU offers Postgraduate college accepting HND for masters as long as they meet the requirement for their choice of course of study.

The Postgraduate Diploma is the most well-known Postgraduate programme at Kwara State University (PGD).


The National Open University of Nigeria is not a conventional university but rather an open university. This is the most preferred university for HND holders who intend to further their education while they work. NOUN accepts HND for masters for all courses of study.

4. Olabisi Onabanjo University

Olabisi Onabanjo University is another university in Ogun state, Nigeria.

HND holders who meet the requirements for the following Postgraduate/Masters programmes are accepted by OOU:

  • Master in Business Administration (MBA)
  • Professional Degrees in MBF
  • Professional Degrees in MPA

5. Osun State University

The Osun State University is a Nigerian state university located in Osogbo, Osun State.

As long as the applicant meets the requirements, UNIOSUN is one of the universities in Nigeria that accepts HND holders for all Postgraduate Diploma programmes. They accept HND for masters in the following courses;

  • Master in Disaster and Risk Management
  • Master in Environmental Management

6. University of Ibadan

UI is a well-known and highly regarded federal university in Nigeria with an excellent reputation.

This university is in Ibadan, Oya State, Nigeria. The University of Ibadan has a high global ranking and is one of the top five universities in Nigeria.

The University of Ibadan accepts HND for masters as long as they meet all of the program’s criteria, requirements, and terms and conditions.

7. University of Ilorin

The University of Ilorin is a federal university in Nigeria’s Kwara State, and it is regarded as one of the best universities in the country.

UNILORIN accepts HND for masters degree but for a limited number of Postgraduate programmes, these courses are listed as follows;

  • Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS)
  • Masters in Information Technology (MIT) Regular
  • MBA – Masters in Business Administration
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Management (PGDM)

International Countries Accepting HND for Masters

Many international countries recognise HND as equivalent to a Master’s degree. However, there are some universities in those countries that accept HND.

The top countries that accept HND for Masters in 2022 are as follows.

  • Germany
  • United States (U.S.)

Private universities in Nigeria do not accept HND for Masters degree.

HND for Masters Degree in the United States of America

Yes, you can pursue a Master’s degree if you have HND. There are universities abroad that accept HND for the Master’s degree program. Nigerian HND is equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor’s degree.

Gaining admission into American colleges is not impossible for you as long as your transcript is ready and you want to do this. 

Get your certificate and convert it into an American equivalent by sending it to one of the certificate evaluation agencies like W.E.S. (World Education Services) or Naces

In the United States, credit hours are used to determine your qualification, and to obtain a U.S. bachelor’s degree, you must have at least 120 credit hours.

Also, please Don’t believe that HND is equivalent to an Associate degree in the U.S. It takes 2 years to get an Associate degree in U.S., 2 years to get an O.N.D. in Nigeria, and at least 4 years to get an HND. I feel that O.N.D. could be an equivalent of an Associate degree. To get a BSc degree in the U.S.A., you must have completed nothing less than 120 credits. Credits are also known as units in Nigeria. When you complete HND from a good polytechnic in Nigeria, you must have taken more than 120 units if you add the units of all the courses you took from O.N.D. until you get the HND. 

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So, to all who keep asking about the equivalence of HND in the United States, it is equivalent to a BACHELOR DEGREE in the U.S. Still, it would be best if you made good grades in your HND because I don’t think any American University would give you a master’s program with a minimum of 3.0GPA. (This is based on my reasoning, so look out, cos I might be wrong).

However, there are a few things you should know. Just because your transcripts are equivalent to a U.S. degree does not mean you will not take undergraduate courses. You will be given admission for a master’s degree if you meet the requirements. However, there are some courses you must take. The courses in question are compulsory because they are required of all American graduates, and to be one, you must complete them. These courses include those about American policies, government, etc. 

List of Schools that Accept HND for Masters Degree in the United States

The list in no particular order is as follows;

  1. Arkansas State University
  2. Bowling Green State University.
  3. California State University, Fresno
  4. California State University, Pomona
  5. California State University, Sacramento
  6. Central Michigan University
  7. Clark University
  8. Cleveland State University
  9. Eastern Illinois University. 
  10. Georgia College and State University.
  11. Humboldt State University. 
  12. Illinois State University
  13. Indiana State University. 
  14. Jacksonville State University
  15. Louisiana Tech University
  16. Marshall University 
  17. Montana State University 
  18. Southern A & M University. 
  19. Southern Illinois University
  20.  TAMUK
  21. University of California, Merced
  22. University of Central Missouri.
  23. University of Detroit, Mercy
  24. University of Hawaii, Manoa
  25. University of Houston, Clear Lake
  26. University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
  27. University of Northern Colorado
  28. University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
  29. University of South Carolina.
  30. University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.
  31. Valley University
  32. Western Illinois University.
  33. Western Kentucky University
  34. Western Oregon University
  35. Wichita State University.
  36. Youngstown State University.

Quick Facts about HND for Masters in the United States of America

  • Having a distinction or an upper credit in your HND will put you ahead of thousands of other applicants, especially those with a BSc.
  • Some schools require you to evaluate your HND and ND transcripts and certificate with WES or another evaluating body.
  • The WES report on course-by-course credential evaluation identifies and describes each diploma/certificate and provides an equivalency for each document. It denotes a description of educational periods, courses, credit hours, grades, degrees, and overall academic performance in the United States educational system (or your host country). On average, semester credits and a grade point average, or GPA, are used in the United States.
  • If you are able, register for the GRE or TOEFL.

Prepare any other relevant and required documents, and apply as soon as possible!

Advantage of HND Over Bachelor’s Degree

The fact that the degree is vocation-based is a massive plus for HND holders. You may be able to find work while studying because of the vocational and practical aspects of an HND. When you combine work experience and education, you will learn the skills employers are looking for and make contacts that will help you in your job search after graduation.

Unlike Bachelor’s Degree holders, HND holders are not restricted to administrative positions. Students with an HND are preferred over their Bachelor’s counterparts in the US because they value the practical expertise that the HND provides. And this makes it easier for HND holders in the US to find jobs that allow them to combine their studies with their work than for Bachelor’s degree holders.

The simplest way to make the most of your HND is to emphasize the value of your professional training and work experience, which many university students lack. When applying for jobs, it is critical to highlight professional experience; emphasizing your career-based and academic skill set earned during your HND will undoubtedly place you on a high pedestal.


As we gather more useful information, we will continue to update more international universities that accept HND for Masters.

Generally, these are the Universities in Nigeria that accept HND for Masters and the international Universities that accept HND for Masters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use HND for Masters degree in Canada?

Can an HND holder pursue a master’s degree in Canada? Canadian educational institutions (universities/colleges) currently do not accept HND degree holders directly into master’s programmes. In Canada, however, you can apply for a Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD), a Post-degree certificate, or a Top-Up Degree.

Do Business Schools accept HND for Masters (MBA programme) in Nigeria?

MBA is a professional training programme for students. Higher National Diploma (HND) graduates with at least upper credit from a reputable polytechnic in Nigeria are eligible to apply for this programme.

How long is the HND top-up?

The programme is typically offered part-time (weekend) for one, two, or three years.

How can I upgrade my HND to BSC?

HND conversion: One good option for converting your HND to BSC is to enrol in an HND conversion programme at one of Nigeria’s universities.
Conversion programmes can last up to three or four academic sessions.
Consider ICAN: ICAN ATS 3 certificate holders can apply for direct entry into the 200 level.

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