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Step by Step Guide on How To Apply for Scholarships as a Second Class, HND or Third Class Degree Holder

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Are you a university graduate or graduated from a polytechnic looking for easy ways on how to apply for Scholarships abroad?

Here is a step-by-step guide on scholarship application for Masters and Ph.D. Degrees.

Good news!!!

If you have a second-class honors degree or an HND with distinction, a scholarship application for either master’s or Ph.D. may be an option to explore.

How To Apply for Scholarships as a Second Class, HND, or Third Class Degree Holder

However, before you start, you need to note the following!

1. What is the nature of your certificate?

A. Generally, a three-year degree is usually the basic requirement for either master’s or PhD application.

B. But some institutions do not accept coupled certificates such as ND + HND while others do.

C. If what you have is an HND, you should search for Universities that accept the Diploma, those should be your target.

Let’s proceed!!!!

2. What is your class of Degree?

Your class of degree will guide you on what you already have and what more you could do to make your application very competitive.


1. A second-class lower degree that is coupled with a quality experience, publications, and fantastic results from standardized exams stands a chance.

2. Unfortunately, most government/mission funded scholarships such as the Commonwealth may prioritize people with higher honors.

3. Focus more on internal scholarships/funding.


1. Good for direct Ph.D. application.

2. The ingredients to make your application very enticing such as publication (not compulsory), standardized exams (depending on the school), and experience will really help.

3. Your CGPA is directly proportional to your chances of successful application. The higher the better.


1. Scholarship or funding is not automatic.

2. A second-class upper degree holder with advanced experience may be considered for a Ph.D. scholarship ahead of you (no discouragement intended).

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3. Savor your excellent result as much as possible in relevant areas.

4. You are qualified for any form of scholarship/funding except if age or regional selection is against you.

HND (Distinction)

1. You can apply for direct master’s or PhD

2. You must have remarkable contributions or knowledge in that field.

3. Your application document must be very attractive like the new Naira notes.

3. How do you identify the School or Scholarships you want to apply for?

A. Once you know what certificate you have and the course that interests you, that prunes down your options.

B. The ideal school is the school where you have better chances.

E.g. Havard has an admission rate of less than 15%, don’t just throw your document anywhere because of the noise or prestige. Love letters (rejections) may be plenty.

3. Check the acceptance rate of each school (applicable to US schools but not the UK), and available funding. Don’t waste your time where none exists.

4. Fortunately, some professors make publications on Twitter calling for students to join them on fully funded projects, this is another way to start.

5. Option 4 above is also common on LinkedIn.

6. You can search through opportunity platforms (I have made a post about 10 of these recently).


1. Scholarship application process may not be entirely free. Some Universities charge application fees (not for scholarships, but for the course).

2. Don’t target a school where you cannot pay the application fee (most UK Universities do not charge application fees).

3. If a school is bent on standardized exams as part of the requirement and you cannot afford to write one, please move on to the next.

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4. Some Universities especially in the UK would give a 30-50% discount on fees, you can go for these if you are from a rich background and can conveniently afford the balance.

5. For Ph.D. funding

1. Go to the University’s website, and navigate to your desired department.

2. Check all of the faculties and their area of specialization.

3. If you identify a professor in your field, click on his/her name and check her page.

4. You will see all of her ongoing projects, contact information, and publications.

5. Some of them have adverts for new graduate student recruitment. If you find one, copy her email address and register your interest with them.

6. If positive, proceed to application.

7. If not positive, I will advise you to proceed only of the application is free.

6. For Master’s scholarship

1. You are most likely going to be interacting with the graduate school directly, not a supervisor (except in a few cases).

2. Navigate through the University website and identify your course of interest.

3. Click on it and check for country-specific information (it will tell you all requirements for people from your country of origin).

4. If you meet requirement 3 above, search for the scholarship page and check those that are available for international students.

5. You will see the list. For Universities in the UK, you can also identify if the University is a partner of Chevening, Commonwealth of the Commonwealth.

6. If anything is not clear, copy the graduate school or department’s email address and send a message of inquiry.

Note: They don’t get angry for asking them questions, they are always willing to help. You should get a response within days.


1. Make sure all of your documents are available in soft copies (on a phone or PC).

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2. I will list some essential ones again;

Academic CV
International passport
Recommendation letter (some will request for it directly online).

3. Apply as much as you can

Ordinarily, I advise people to submit 15 applications.
You should get one.


1. Email any new or updated document to the graduate school so that they can add it to your file (it could be a new publication etc.)

2. Keep your life busy with other important things.

3. For Ph.D. applicants with a potential supervisor, keep them engaged with your progress.


1 . Congratulations if you made the list, but it is not yet over.

2. You need a document from the University to apply for Visa (this may come with your admission or may be delayed until after scholarship approval so that it can reflect on your document.

3. This process could be delayed so you’ll need to send multiple emails to the graduate school.

4. If your program is partially funded and you need help to meet up costs, identify the help that you need, but make sure you ain’t chasing shadows.

5. Go for all necessary medical tests and paperwork.

6. Fly to school

7. Resume to your program.

8. Be a good ambassador for your country.

Note: If you were able to read through this, you have the resilience and patience to go through a scholarship application process.

In all, I wish you the very best.

I am glad to answer any questions that you may have

Feel free to share and help others with this information.




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