Study Abroad with an HND (Nigeria)

People have always wondered if it is possible to study abroad with an HND, or if it is even acceptable. The short and positive answer is, ‘YES’. The long answer is, ‘Yes you can, but like several other good things, it does not come easy.’ I write this article for those who have been searching for information concerning what to do with an HND, and if the degree is accepted abroad. Below are some important information and facts about HND.

What is an HND?

The HND, which is short for ‘Higher National Diploma’, is a higher education qualification that is accessible in the United Kingdom and a few other countries. HND assignments have been designed with the workplace in mind. As a result, HND courses are highly recognized by businesses and employers, and they are ideal for students who want to become more “hands-on” with their studies. Studying at the HND level can help you advance in your profession. A higher national diploma is an extension of a National Diploma (ND-equivalent to associate degree) program, both of which are administered by polytechnics in Nigeria. The two-year ND and HND programs each feature a one-year vacation after the ND course for an Industrial Training (IT) placement in appropriate industries. Higher National Diplomas are sometimes referred to as the replacement of a University bachelor’s degree or four years of university education because the graduate would have spent 4 to 5 years completing the curriculum. Although there has been a long-standing debate about the replacement of a Polytechnic HND degree and a University bachelor’s degree, employers of labor continue to be divided on the issue. From the first year of OND (one can only get entry to an HND program after finishing two years of OND, which is equal to an associate degree), the student is indeed prepared to practice in the field, and by the final year of HND, the student is qualified to practice in the field.

If you hold an HND, you do not have to beat yourself up or think you can not go further until you get a Bachelor’s Degree. The great news is, you can study abroad, get a scholarship and even get a Master’s Degree with an HND. In this article, I share all this information which is extremely beneficial to HND holders who wish to do something worthwhile with the degree.

Higher Diploma Degree

What to do with an HND

The most common path for HND holders is to continue their education, with over half opting for this option. In comparison, an HND provides a platform for slightly under 30% of students to continue full-time employment, most likely in their chosen field. Another 15% of students choose to mix the two, working and studying at the same time.

In the United Kingdom, an HND is a two-year course that leads to academic level 5. A bachelor’s degree, on the other hand, is a level 6 certification. This indicates that you only need one more year of full-time study to obtain your Bachelor’s degree. Many universities now offer specialist Top-up degrees to help you do just that.

What to do with an HND

What is a Top-up Degree?

Top-up degrees are for students who have finished an HND and desire to continue their education by enrolling in the last year of an honors degree program.
Although an HND is a valuable certification in its own right, depending on your career goals, you may decide that studying for a degree is worthwhile. A top-up degree is the final year (Level 6) of an undergraduate degree program that allows you to upgrade your current qualification to a complete Bachelor’s degree.

A top-up degree bridges the gap between your existing Level 5 certificate and a complete undergraduate Bachelor’s degree (Level 6). It is, in essence, the equivalent of the senior year of undergraduate studies. A three-year undergraduate degree in the United Kingdom is typical. A top-up degree, on the other hand, allows you to enter the final year stage if you already have an HND, allowing you to complete a Bachelor’s degree in only one year of study. Top-up degrees are accepted in the same manner as full degrees.

Several schools in the United Kingdom have Top-up degree programs that facilitate earning a Bachelor’s degree in just a year!

Note: You can not do your top-up degree in a different field of study. You have to maintain the course you studied during your HND studies.


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

There are several advantages to upgrading your present certificate to a Bachelor’s degree. It will first assist you in demonstrating to an employer that you possess the intellectual, organizational, and management skills required for your chosen career path, and second, it may open up other chances for you in the future.
Many graduates who seek a top-up degree choose to stay in the UK for another year to study for a Master’s degree at a higher-ranked university.

Can I do a Master’s Abroad with HND?

In all honesty, applying for a master’s degree program at a foreign institution with an HND is more difficult than applying with a bachelor’s degree. HND is recognized in several countries around the world, however, most of them do not accept it as a certificate for a master’s degree. Many institutions in the United States of America accept HND for Masters. However, countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain, on the other hand, would require you to complete a postgraduate course or a certificate/diploma program before enrolling for a master’s degree. Every country, particularly the United States of America, has a different process.  There are, however, a few things you should know about applying for a master’s degree abroad with your HND.

It might pique your interest to learn that several US institutions regard the HND certificate as equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree, however with some exceptions. To be considered for a straight master’s program in the United States, you must have a GMAT/GRE score as well as an IELTS/TOEFL score. Before making an unconditional offer to you, your GRE/GMAT and TOEFL/IELTS test scores, as well as your professional experience, are taken into account and you know what this means? You must have scored a high point in those exams.

If you have upper credit or distinction, you will have the opportunity to study in the United States, just as having a first-class or second-class upper (2:1) grade provides students an advantage over applicants with lower grades in being given admission to study for a masters degree abroad. However, you must still meet all of the various requirements established by the school you are applying to.

With your HND, Canadian institutions will not admit you for a direct master’s degree program, however, you can apply for a Post Graduate Diploma, a Certification Program, or a Post-degree Certificate.

If you want to apply for a master’s degree abroad with your HND, you will be expected to assess your transcripts. Examining your HND and OND transcripts, as well as making a declaration with WES or other accrediting agencies. Your Transcripts must be sent to World Evaluation Services (WES) via your school. There are two types of assessments that are often used:

Course-based Evaluation

Each diploma/certificate is recognized and presented in the course by course qualification evaluation report, which assigns an equivalency to each record. It reflects schooling duration, courses, credit hours, evaluations, and degrees, similar to the general education system in terms of the instructional framework in the United States (or your host nation). It’s vital to remember that in the United States, semester credits and a 4.0-grade point average (GPA) are commonly used.

Document-based Evaluation

Through the Document Credential Evaluation Report and their U.S. equivalents, this type of evaluation report depicts and lists the educational institution(s) and educational credentials(s) gained in a foreign country. This evaluation exercise is not accepted by all universities and colleges in the United States.

Professional Work Experience Evaluation

Professional work experience evaluations are frequently utilized for immigration purposes, especially by people seeking to work and study in the United States. This kind of credential evaluation is not allowed in schools or for licenses.


Schools that accept HND for Masters in the United States of America

Status and Benefits of an HND

A huge plus for HND holders is the fact that the degree is vocation-based. Because of the vocational and practical aspects of an HND, you may be able to obtain work during your studies. If you combine work experience with your education, you will not only learn and polish the abilities that employers seek, but you will also make contacts that will help you in your job search after graduation.

Unlike Bachelor’s Degree holders, HND holders are not limited to administrative positions. Students with an HND are favored over their Bachelor’s counterparts in the United States because they value practical expertise, which the HND offers. This makes it easier for an HND holder in the US to find jobs that you can combine with your studies than it is for Bachelor’s degree holders.

Benefits of HND

The easiest way to make the most of your HND is to emphasize the importance of the professional training and work experience you have acquired – something that many university students lack. When applying for jobs, highlighting professional experience is critical; stressing both the career-based and academic skill-set you earned during your HND will undoubtedly place you on a high pedestal.

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    1. Hi, feel free to leave your questions and comment below. It is easy for the writer to respond to them here. Also, this helps other people to learn from the communication.

  1. I’m holding UK HND in Nautical Science.
    Planning to continue my studies in The United States but they keep asking about GPA which isn’t on my transcript.
    Is there any way I could know my GPA?

    1. You can calculate your current GPA if you know or have access to your GPA so far…

      you can calculate your GPA so far or (Cumulative GPA) by adding the total quality points (TQP) for all semesters to date and dividing it by the total credit units… Google might actually explain further

  2. Thank you for the post. I have an HND and OND. but I had an extra year for both programs. I hope this will not drop the overall G.P.A after WES evaluation

    1. well @mathias an extra year is not bad and if it will affect it, it has already affected it.

      there calculation will be on a lower percentile for the repeated year I.e (B) isn’t of (A) though there’s a difference, but not much depending on whether you had a B when repeating the year. if so there shouldn’t be much difference

  3. In previous articles, including this one, Germany isn’t listed among the top five countries where one can obtain a top up degree with a HND.
    I am wondering if I can explore the option of the top up degree academic pursuit with my HND in Germany.
    Can anyone kindly provide some information on the possibility of obtaining a top up degree in Germany using a HND and how to go about it?

  4. thanks for this post, it really helpful for me too. I guess what I will rather do is to send my transcript to WES for evaluation and use it to process my admission to the school I want.
    after the evaluation what next pls?

  5. Thank you for the info given. It’s really helpful. My concern now is that I’m really confused on which country or university I should be looking out for base on further studies. You mentioned some universities in the US but I don’t if they are affordable. I’m researching on them though.

  6. Based on what I read online that there are no HND Top up courses in Germany but The country would require to complete a post graduate course before enrolling for masters degree. Is The post graduate course the same as Top up Programming?.

    1. @Justus I do not think HND top-up courses or degrees apply to Germany. You either have the required qualification or not. HND is accepted for a Bachelor’s degree in Germany, and I think nothing more.

  7. Thank you so very much for this write-up. I’m an HND holder with an upper credit. I want to ask what is the criterial for a PGD program in Canada with a dependent(spouse), no children? I looking at the 2024 admission, I know you might say its still a long time, but pls I need to know this. so I can start now to gather all the required documents and forecast an estimated cost for the trip. Advise(s)/opinion is welcomed pls. Thank you

  8. Pls what school can I apply for that accept HND for master In I’m,with a upper credit I want to know the schools with affordable Sch Fees and if they offer scholarship if fully funded or not

  9. Pls what school can I apply for that accept HND for master In UK with a upper credit, I want to know the schools with affordable Sch Fees and if they offer scholarship if fully funded or not

  10. Thanks a lot for this information. please I have a little confusion. I want to process the USA with my HND. but I did my OND and HND in different schools, please how do I send my transcripts to WES