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 any comments, questions, feedback, or need clarifications, and want to reach out to us, click here.
NB: The posts and information on this website are not legal advice.
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