By CanadaWiz Team | Updated: August 06, 2020

HND top up degree in Canada universities, allows Higher National Diploma (HND) graduates to ‘top-up’ their education and obtain a bachelors degree from a Canadian university or college.

In Canada, HND certificate holders with related Higher National Diploma (HND) can expect to complete the necessary courses within two to three academic years and be granted a bachelor degree upon achieving satisfactory grades.

For example, if you have an HND in Civil Engineering from outside Canada, most Canadian universities will give you admission into the 2nd or 3rd year bachelors programs in an engineering program. The decision as to whether you’ll start in the second or third year depends on the number of transfer credits that is accepted from your previous HND degree.

As you may have noticed, the numbers of years it takes to “top up” degree in Canada is significantly longer when compared to the United Kingdom (UK).

In the UK, a HND graduate can “top up” their degree and gain a bachelors degree from a University in one (1) academic year. This makes Canada not to be a popular destination for international students who want convert their HND to BSc in Canada.

Can an HND holder apply for a master degree in Canada?

An HND holder can certainly apply for a masters degree in Canada. However, it is not likely that the student will be offered an admission directly into a masters program in Canada, if the student has only an HND certificate.

Canada is a popular destination for international students looking to pursue a masters program. Due to the high demand, most Canadian universities reserve spots in their masters program for students with a least a second class upper (2:1) or better, bachelors degree and not HND.

On the other hand, if the student has an HND and also a Post-HND degree, it increases the chances that the student will be offered admission into a masters program in Canada.

Universities in Canada that accept HND for masters

Canadian universities do not generally accept HND nor Third Class undergraduates, directly into their Master’s program. A student with a HND certificate will have to first consider furthering their studies in Canada through any of the below options:

  • Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD), or
  • Post-degree certificate/diploma, or
  • Advanced certificate.

Schools that accept HND for masters in Canada

At the moment, we are not aware of any school that accept HND certificate directly for masters in Canada.

If you have an HND and you intend to pursue a masters program in Canada, below is the approach we recommend:

  1. Apply for a Post-Graduate Diploma (PGD) course at a Canadian college. The course should be related to your previous HND course of study, which should also be related to the masters program you intend to study later in Canada.
  2. Commence the PGD course in Canada and make sure you have good grades (usually a minimum of B average).
  3. Once you are close to completing your PGD studies in Canada, apply for a related masters program in Canada.
    At this point, there is a high chance you’ll be accepted into a masters program in Canada, as most Canadian universities and colleges give preference to HND certificate holders that have a PGD degree from within Canada.

Using Carleton University as an example, below is the minimum admission requirements for their master’s program:

  • Four-year honours bachelor‘s degree or equivalent.
    Students who have only a National Diploma (ND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) are not eligible for admission into Carleton’s masters program. Students who present a Post-Higher National Diploma (Post-HND) may be eligible for admission to a master’s program.
  • Minimum requirement overall: 60-69% or 2nd Class (upper division).

Carleton University’s Qualifying-Year Programs

Students who do not have a 4-year honours degree may be eligible for admittance into a qualifying-year program at Carleton university. Qualifying-year programs are specific to a few number of specific master’s programs. Even after completing a qualifying-year program, the student will need to submit an application to the master’s program and admission into the master’s program is not guaranteed.

If you are a student interested in completing a qualifying-year program at Carleton university, you’ll have to get in touch with the academic department offering the master’s program that you are interested in applying to, to find out if a qualifying-year program is offered. If available, you’ll be provided with further application instructions.

Canada Schools accepting HND degree for international students

There is a long list of Canada schools accepting HND degree for international students for any of the following two routes:

  • Conversion of HND to BSc in Canada, or
  • for a Post-Higher National Diploma (Post-HND) e.g. Postgraduate diploma (PGD)

As an international student looking to use your HND certificate to study in Canada, there are two fundamental considerations you should look into when deciding on picking a school:

  1. Apply to a school that has a high acceptance rate for international students: This is important so that you do not waste your time and money in applying to schools that would not offer you admission.
    Keep in mind that Canada schools require upfront payment of a non-refundable application fee, which ranges from $90 CAD to $300 CAD (depending on the school). This payment will not be refunded back to you if you are not offered a spot in the program you apply to.
  2. Apply to a school participating in the Post Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP): As an international student looking to study in Canada, we bet that you also want the opportunity to remain in Canada after your studies.
    If this is the case, you want to make sure that you apply to only Designated Learning Institutions (DLIs) that participate in the PGWPP. This is very important, so that you have the opportunity to remain in Canada after your studies with an open work permit and you subsequently apply to become a Canadian permament resident (PR) through the Canadian Express Class (CEC) Express Entry Immigration pathway.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO STUDY IN CANADA WITH HND eBook, has exclusive information with our top recommendations of schools that meet the two above requirements. See details below.



  • 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


What is HND equivalent in Canada?

In Canada, an HND is equivalent to a three-year undergraduate advanced diploma.

Is HND accepted in Canada?

HND is accepted in Canada but with limited options. At this time, Canadian universities do not accept HND nor Third Class undergraduates, directly into their Master’s program. So, you will have to consider first going for a post-graduate diploma (PGD) or post-degree certificate/diploma or an advanced certificate in Canada.




  • Do you need personalized one-on-one help to secure admission into a Canadian school, feel free to Contact Us!
  • Are you an HND holder and have gotten success in gaining admission at a Canadian school for either a qualifying year program or a master’s program? Please share by commenting below.