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University and Polytechnic in Nigeria, which is the best



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For many secondary school leavers, when faced with option of choosing between university and polytechnic in Nigeria, there’s a problem as many find it difficult to make a choice, the questions many of them ask include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Which is best between HND and BSc?
  2. Who is richer between HND and BSc graduate?
  3. Which is best between university and polytechnic in nigeria?
University and Polytechnic in Nigeria

                                        University and Polytechnic in Nigeria

For questions like these and others, it is very difficult to answer because while we agree that your degree is a major factor to personal development but it’s not the only factor, there are many secondary school leavers richer than graduates, so it can’t be explained with a blanket explanation. But before we proceed, let’s look at the major differences between HND and BSc.


S/N Point University (B.Sc, B.A, B.Tech etc.) Polytechnic (HND)
1 Duration University program is minimum of three years for direct entry students and minimum of four years for UTME students. Courses in university have duration between 4 to 7 years barring any other eventualities. Polytechnic programs are divided into with separate admissions.

First is 2 years of OND and another 2 years of HND after industrial training (IT) of 2 year making a total of 5 years.

2. Courses University offer almost all courses provided they are accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC), in fact, today we have many universities of technology and university of agriculture offering courses out of what many believe they offer e.g. Ladoke Akintola university of Technology offer Medicine and Surgery.

University offer courses on life sciences, mathematical sciences, pure and social sciences, commercial and art courses. The JAMB brochure is always an helping tool regards universities and courses they offer.

Unlike universities, polytechnics offer limited number of courses. Polytechnics don’t offer biomedical sciences, law and some other courses.

See jamb ibass JAMB website for list of courses offered in University and Polytechnic in Nigeria.

3. Teaching Except in the case of some courses e.g. Medicine and Surgery, most university courses are theory based Most Polytechnic courses are practical based and many manufacturing companies prefer hiring them e.g. Nestle, Flower Mills because of their practical experience.
4. JAMB Cut off marks Admission into the university is stricter than into the polytechnic. Most universities accept between 200 to 160 as the minimum cut off mark for admission.

See here on minimum cut off marks for admission.

Most polytechnics accepts between 120 and above for admission.

Note: Tertiary institutions in Nigeria operates different cut off marks, you are advised to read this post and also check the schools website for admission guidelines.

5. Admission There are basically two modes of entry into the university, UTME for secondary school leavers and Direct Entry for graduates of OND/ND, NCE or university graduates in some cases who wishes to study another university course.

For both modes of entry, admission is processed only once.

Admission into the polytechnic is in two levels, first you gain admission for your Ordinary National Diploma (OND/ND) which is to run for two years.

After successful completion follows the one-year industrial training (IT).

After successful completion of the IT, the ND graduate then seeks admission into either polytechnic for HND or university for his bachelor’s degree.

7. Certification As stated earlier, university programs admission are ran only once with one certificate on graduation. Polytechnic graduates who end up with two certificates, one for National diploma and the other for higher national diploma or bachelor’s degree.

These two certificates serves as two degrees overseas which helps in boosting comprehensive ranking system (CRS) of applicants processing migration to overseas.

8. Post graduate University graduates are eligible to apply for masters after their first degree provided they graduated with cumulative grade point average not less than second class lower. Polytechnic graduates however have to do post graduate diploma (PGD) before they can apply for masters in the university.
9. Labour Market Governments and most private organizations pay university graduates higher than polytechnic graduates. Some private organizations prefer hiring polytechnic graduates due to their assumed practical experience in school.
10. Projection Over years, the possibility of ending the BSc and HND dichotomy has been extensively discussed on the floor of the senate and most likely shall end soon going by recent events.  

Read: How to Upload WAEC Result To JAMB Portal

How to gain Admission into any University in Nigeria 2020/2021


  1. What does HND and B.Sc mean?

HND means Higher National Diploma and Bachelor of Science

  1. Are HND holders regarded as graduate

Yes, they are regarded as graduates.

  1. Choosing between University and Polytechnic in Nigeria

If you have your way, we will advise you seek the university admission first but if it’s not forthcoming, there’s no need to waste another year, proceed with the polytechnic admission and after your ND, you decide if it’s BSc next or HND. Whichever you chose between university and polytechnic in Nigeria, all you need is hard work and good luck.

  1. Is HND certificate good enough in the labour market

Even though your certificate is a catalyst for your chances of employment in the labour market but your productivity is the main factor.

Government parastatals, agencies and private organizations as at the time of writing this article still operates different salary scales for B.Sc. and HND.

It is worthy of note that relevant bodies and organizations are seeing to making the certificates equal.

  1. Is HND a degree

No, HND is not a bachelor’s degree but its regarded as almost its equivalent in Nigeria.

  1. Can I apply for masters after my HND program

Yes, but that will be after successful completion of a post graduate diploma (PGD) from a university.

There are reports that HND graduates are not allowed to lecture in the university unless they get a university degree, if you have more information on this, please use the comment box to share with us.

  1. What Certificate do I get after successful completion of my program

For University graduates, you get a bachelor’s degree though there are many of them Bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery (M.B.B.S), Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Technology, Bachelor of Science Education, Bachelor of Education etc.

On the other hand, Polytechnic graduates get National Diploma (ND) and then the Higher National Diploma (HND).

  1. Can I do inter-institution transfer from polytechnic to university

Yes, you can after completion of your ND or HND. To do so you will have to obtain a Direct Entry (DE) UTME form.

  1. I have completed my HND, what do I need to do to get admitted into the university

Obtain the JAMB Direct Entry form and also the Direct entry form of the institution of choice and follow up the process as you are directed.

Note: Some universities organize entrance examination like post jamb while some don’t, you will get the information during your course of application.

  1. I graduate with a low CGPA e.g. Third class or Pass, can I apply for Masters?

No, bachelor’s degree with cumulative grade point average lower than second class lower is not allowed into master’s program directly.

Graduates with such certificate will have to obtain a post graduate diploma (PGD) before proceeding for master’s program.

  1. Can I convert my HND to a degree

Yes, there are some universities who offer top-up programmes for conversion or upgrading of HND to a bachelor’s degree.

  1. What next after completion of HND and B.Sc.

After completion of either your HND or B.Sc., for graduates below the age of 30 of 30 years’ age will go for the compulsory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

For graduates above the age of 30, they are to obtain their certificate of exemption from the NYSC programme.

It is worthy of note that the process is the same for both polytechnic and university graduates.


While it’s good to get a very good grade and course from a reputable institution, attention is shifting in the global community to what you can do from what you should be able to do. Employers are no longer focusing on grades and university reputation, they now focus on your employability which is a factor of your set skill. I graduated from a particular University and Polytechnic In Nigeria is no more a leveraging opportunity any more.

Overall, the most important factor is being educated and improving oneself by constant engaging in training and retraining, doing these your employers or prospective employers will not really be interested in whether you have graduated from a polytechnic or university, neither whether your qualification is B.Sc. or HND, all they will be interested in is what you can offer from the word go with little or no on-job training.

Please do note that the above submissions are totally our personal view on the topic “which is the best between polytechnic and university in Nigeria.” We totally will welcome contributions from you on either corroboration of our submissions or call for amendment of any part of this publication, our door is always open for discussion.

Please feel free to use the comment box below to share your views with us and also use the share buttons to share this friend with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Telegram and others.

Thank you for reading we do hope you will tell your friends about this.


Hi, I'm Ogundare Abdulahi, an educator, content developer and web programmer. I love helping people and disseminating information. At my leisure time, I like reading and surfing the web.

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