April 11, 2024

If you want to come to Canada for a Masters Degree but have a low grade (like 2:2 or Second Class Lower) in your first Degree, or OND, or HND, then this is for you.

I regularly get questions from many people who heard Canadian schools do not accept 2:2 CGPA or HNDs and want to know their chances.

The first thing to know is that admission into Graduate programs (Masters/PhDs) in Canada is undoubtedly competitive. A 70-75% CGPA is the common minimum grade required. This is about 3.5/5.0 CGPA scale. Also, successful applicants and those offered entrance funding are usually those with grades higher than this minimum, and those going for a research-based program.

Some reasons for these:

  • There are just about 100 Universities in Canada
  • Not all the universities offer Masters/PhDs
  • Not all the universities with Masters/PhDs have your own course or program
  • Those offering your program will have a quota of students to admit
  • And more students apply than the quota available

I have written extensively on the admission application process and how to find schools in Canada here.

Canadian schools also typically do not accept HNDs for a Masters/PhD. You will find that the Masters Degree admission requirement is usually a 4-year BSc Degree. And in addition to your overall BSc grade, some universities will also focus on grades in the last 2 years of your BSc Degree.

So, let me tell you some things to do to beat the odds and still study in Canada if you have a low BSc grade, or OND/HND.

If you are looking for an “easy” route to come to Canada to study with your OND/HND, or a 2:2 CGPA/lower BSc Grade, your best bet is to look for a Graduate Certificate (GC) or equivalent. In some schools, this may also be called Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) or Post Baccalaureate Diploma or Graduate Diploma.

Graduate Certificate programs are great options for those with low undergraduate grades, or those who have ND/HND. The programs are eligible for a postgraduate work permit (PGWP) and other benefits that other international students can get. If you are coming to Canada for a Graduate Certificate program or a PGD, you can also come with your family.

Note, however, that the Graduate Certificate programs or PGDs are different from Ordinary Diplomas or Advanced Diplomas.

The Ordinary Diplomas or Advanced Diplomas are for high school holders alone, and if you already have a BSc or OND/HND, Ordinary Diplomas or Advanced Diplomas shouldn’t be your choice, because it is harder to convince a Visa Officer that you are coming for a program for high school holders when you have a Degree or Post-secondary study already. So, look for a Graduate Certificate program or a PGD instead.

If you want to go the harder route and still try your best for a Masters/PhD with your 2:2 grade, you can! It is not totally impossible, but it is highly competitive and uncertain.

Some people have done this in the past, but to be completely honest with you, they often have more than just grades. I will give you a summary of some things they did to complement the low grade and position themselves for the opportunity.

Some things to do to get into a Masters in Canada with a low B.Sc CGPA:

  • Build a research and publications portfolio (and do your best to get a Supervisor for a research-based Masters program)
  • Get related work experience to show that you have related professional experience
  • Apply to lower-ranked schools
  • Write standardized tests and pass (i.e. GMAT/GRE…if it is required for your course of interest)
  • Prepare other Documents strongly (CV, SOP, Reference letters)

Also, some Canadian schools that have accepted students with low grades for Masters Degrees in the past are:

  • Royal Roads University
  • Bishop’s University
  • University of Canada West
  • Saint Mary’s University
  • University of Regina
  • Mount Saint Vincent University
  • Memorial University
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • Saint Paul University
  • Crandall University
  • University of Prince Edward Island
  • Canadian Mennonite University
  • Brandon University
  • York University (for some professional Masters programs)

And as earlier mentioned, the students who were admitted mostly came to the admission table with more than low grades alone. So, check some of these schools, check their admission requirements, improve your profile, and see what you can do to improve your chances as well.

Lastly, Graduate Certificate programs are not for those who have ND/HNDs alone, or just because of low BSc grades. They are also programs that are very practical and offer hands-on training. Because of this, even students with 2:1 (Second class upper), and First Class CGPAs can go for them if they don’t want a Masters Degree.

Graduate certificate programs are most common in Canadian Colleges. And some Canadian universities offer them too or offer them as Post Graduate Diplomas. You can search for the Colleges in Ontario here. And you can search for Colleges in other provinces on Google.

The duration of the programs can be one year or two years, depending on the program you are doing, and the school where it is offered.

And as a matter of fact, recent statistics from the Government showed that we have more international students doing College programs in Canada.

One last and important thing to note!

Importantly, as an international student it is highly recommended that you apply to an approved Designated Learning Institution, and an Institution that would make you eligible for a Post-graduation work permit if you plan to stay back and work in Canada after your study.

To apply for a study permit, you need an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution. A designated learning institution is a school approved by a provincial or territorial government to host international students.

To check if a school is a designated learning institution and if their programs are eligible for a Post-graduation work permit, check here.

I hope you will find the post useful in some ways, and I wish you all the best in your application!

If you have questions on Career & Personal Development, Education Decisions, Global Opportunities, Building a Personal Brand, or related discussions, and want to reach out to us, click here.

NB: The posts and information on this website are not legal advice.

© Olu of Canada

54 thoughts on “How to study in Canada with 2:2 Grades, OND, and HND.

  1. Dear Olu

    Thank you so much for the content that you relentlessly put out, I have been helped greatly. I would like to know in depth what the funding options are for someone with a low grade, no research experience and who is applying for coursework (rather than a research degree). What are the options for them?

    Thank you

      1. Dear Olu, thank you so much for these vital information. And thank you for being kind hearted.

        My question is, are there schools that offers scholarship for post graduate causes/ student?

  2. God bless you mr olu for this its so helpful,I have a 3yrs Nd certificate has a dental assistant and am planning to relocate to Canada..I think I can work things out now

  3. Dear Olu,

    I sincerely appreciate your effort in putting this write up out for us.
    My question is can one apply to like 3 different schools at the same time or its just one at a season.

  4. You put out an information that is so timely for me. May God bless your unique and selfless effort. Your kind is rare. Please keep being real and so will I if opportuned.

  5. Thanks for this information.I heard that if an Hnd student upload there transcript on Wes that it’ll be the same as the degree over there and can go for masters.

          1. Good day Mr Olu. Thanks for all the enlightenment.
            My question- I have a 2.2 in Bsc Plant Biology, a PGD in Banking and Finance and an Msc in Banking and Finance in Nigeria. Which do I present for admission application into a Canadian college? I want to apply for PGD in Global business management.

  6. Thank you Mr Olu for this information…Please like you advised that it is better to go for a 2yrs diploma so one can get a 3yrs work permit but most PGD courses in Canadian colleges are 1year(8months)..kindly advise on what to do.I have an HND in accounting…Thank you sir.

  7. Sir please in this case I believe one will have to apply for study permit extension. My question is how considerate will the visa officer be in extending your study permit? Do you still have to go through the same hustle and bustle like you did from your home country?

    1. Extending study permit within Canada is straightforward. As long as you din’t violate the terms of your first study permit (i.e you didn’t over work more than allowed, dropped out of school without leave, etc), you are good to go.

  8. Hello Olu, I have just been offered a Canadian college diploma admission in Conestoga. I don’t think this is a PGD program. I already have an HND in Nigeria. I hope the program will not affect my visa application?

  9. Please what is your advise in terms of best program to someone that just graduated with third class mechanical Engineering with no experience yet and will love to study in Canada

  10. Dear Olu,
    Thanks for this useful information. Im really blessed. My own question is, is there any stipulated age for applicants?

  11. God bless you Mr Olu for giving so much info. I have a BSc 2.2, which should I search for Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Advance Diploma? Most of the colleges are Diploma and am a bit confused as to knowing what to chose most times.

  12. Good day Mr olu, I have a CGPA of 3:23 in social sciences . What are my chances of getting admission into graduate certificate program

  13. Sir, I got into my Bsc program through direct entry, hence I started from 200l . total of 3yrs . is this Bsc accepted for Msc program in canana? Since it’s not up to 4yrs.

  14. Hello Olu,
    Please I have a 2.2 and I’m applying for the Graduate Certificate program in Calgary, Canada. But the person assisting me said they don’t always renew the study permit after the one year. So my question is, if you do the 1year GC program and decide to enrol for another just as you explained in one of your responses, will they renew your study permit immediately and extend your stay or there is another process you have to go through?

    1. You will get a study permit extension. There is nothing like “they don’t always renew study permit after the one year.” Submit the relevant documents for your renewal, and you are good to go.

  15. Mr Olu,thanks for the information but I am wondering if this is still valid as of now,I mean do schools in Canada still accept HND?

  16. Dear OLU
    Please can one apply for a BSC degree in Canada with a OND CERTIFICATE??
    Please do one go about it?? The article didn’t talk about this.

  17. Thank you so much Mr Olu. You are so honest and sincere in your submissions and responses. The very manner with which your work is arranged speaks volumes.

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