By CanadaWiz Team | Updated: May 04, 2020

This “HND Top Up Degree in Canada” article was done based on request by our Nigerian readers. However, if you have an HND degree from any other country e.g. Ghana, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Pakistan, etc… The information provided here also applies to you too.

Do you have a Higher National Diploma (HND) from an educational institution outside Canada (including a Nigerian educational institution), and you want to know your study options in Canada? Read on!

What is a Higher National Diploma (HND)

In Nigeria, an HND is a continuation of a National Diploma – ND (equivalent to an Associate Degree in Canada) program. ND/HND are offered by polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of agriculture accredited by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

What is a “Top Up” Degree?

A “Top Up” degree program allows holders/graduates of the Higher National Diploma (HND) to ‘top-up’ their knowledge and skills and gain a bachelors degree from a University in one academic year.  Students with relevant Higher National Diploma can expect to accomplish the required courses within 1 year and be awarded with a bachelor degree upon satisfactory performance.

Is there HND Top Up Degree in Canada?

There is no “top-up” degree in Canada. Top up degree programs are mostly associated with educational institutions in the United Kingdom (UK).

Is it possible for a Nigerian student with an HND to gain admission to a Canadian school?

Yes, it is possible to gain admission to a Canadian school with a Higher National Diploma (HND), depending on what level of study you are interested in.

What is an HND degree equivalent to in Canada?

According to the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS), an HND generally compares to the completion of a three-year postsecondary Diploma.


Can an HND holder apply for Masters degree in Canada?

At this time, Canadian educational institutions do not accept HND graduates directly into their Master’s program. Therefore, HND holders do not have direct access to Canadian master’s degree programs.

If you are a Higher National Diploma (HND) graduate and you are interested in studying in Canada, you have two (2) options:

OPTION 1 – Convert your HND to BSc degree in Canada:

You may use your HND to pursue an undergraduate degree in Canada. This may be referred to as the UK equivalent of HND “Top Up” in Canada.

In this case, you apply to an undergraduate program at a Canadian educational institution. In order for you to get transfer credit (that is, have the university/college waive some courses that you have done in the past), your intended program of study in Canada has to be in the same or related discipline as your previous HND studies, and there is an expectation that you meet a minimum grade for each course that you want to be waived.

You will be given up to a maximum of two (2) years’ advanced standing. So, depending on how many courses that were waived for you, and therefore how many additional courses that you will have to take at the Canadian educational institution, you will spend between two (2) to three (3) years to obtain an undergraduate degree in Canada.

Want to learn more about how to secure an undergraduate admission in Canada with an HND? Check out: The Ultimate Guide to Study in Canada with HND ->



  • How to secure admission into Canadian educational institutions (Colleges/Universities/Institutes) as an HND graduate.
  • Simple Do-It-Yourself (DIY) steps for conversion of HND to BSc degree and HND to PGD in Canada.
  • Comprehensive list of colleges to apply for PGD in Canada, with high acceptance rate and work permit.
  • Detailed list of school/course options for PGD in Canada, based on your HND program of study.
  • How to increase your chances of being offered admission at Canadian schools, even with HND lower credit or pass.
  • Scholarship at Canadian schools for HND applicants.
  • How to make extra income by working in Canada as an international student.
  • How to increase your chances of approval for Canada study visa/permit.
  • How to legally remain in Canada after your studies and become a Canadian Permanent Resident (PR) and citizen.

Comprehensive information on the above topics and many more are contained in “THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO STUDY IN CANADA WITH HND” eBook

OPTION 2 – Pursue a post-HND degree in Canada:

As a HND graduate, although you are not eligible to seek admission directly into a Masters program in Canada. You can apply for any of the following programs at a Canadian College:

  • Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD), or
  • Post-Degree Certificate/Diploma, or
  • Advanced Certificate in Canada.

Some Canadian Universities have PGD programs, however, most of these universities do not accept HND holders into their PGD programs. Instead, they reserve the spot for bachelor degree holders who do not meet the requirements for direct entry into the university masters program. For example, those with Second Class Lower (2:2).

So, as an HND graduate who wants to pursue a PGD in Canada, in order to increase your chances of getting admission into a PGD program, you should consider seeking admission into a Canadian College PGD program instead of that at a university. Also, depending on the intended course of study, some of these programs require HND candidates to have at least upper credit in their HND and a period of post qualification work experience.

Wondering what the difference is between a Canadian College and University? Learn more {Coming Soon}.

Can I secure admission into a Master’s program in Canada with an HND certificate?

HND + Canadian PGD (with good grades) = Canadian Masters!

HND plus a postgraduate diploma (PGD) from a Canadian College or University gives access to Master’s degree programs afterwards.

An HND graduate who gets a Canadian post-degree diploma/certificate program, along with good grades (usually a minimum of B average), should be able to secure an admission into a masters program afterwards.

It should be noted that most Canadian educational institutions do not accept HND plus a foreign PGD (that is, PGD from any Country outside Canada) for acceptance into their master’s program, it must be a Canadian PGD in order for it to be considered.

For example, say you have an HND from a Nigerian polytechnic and you later went to the United Kingdom (UK) and did a top-up degree, you will still not be able to secure direct masters to a Canadian educational institution because Canadian educational institutions require an HND graduate to have a PGD degree from Canada to be considered for admission into a masters program in Canada.




  • Do you need personalized one-on-one help to secure admission into a Canadian college, feel free to Contact Us!
  • Are you an HND graduate and have been successful in securing admission at a Canadian educational institution (college/university)? Comment below with any tips or suggestions, so that others can learn from your experience.