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Getting to grips with the Canadian grading system

Learn more about the Canadian university grading system, how it compares to other grading scales and explore what you’ll need in order to apply to a university in Canada.

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So, you’re thinking about studying in Canada and making an application, but are a little confused about the university grading scale. The Canadian university grading system is the way in which students are evaluated during their degree and also stands as the barometer for entry requirements. We take you through how the Canadian grading system compares to other countries, the calculation of results, GPA percentage calculation and the systems as it applies to different states.

 

 

What is the university grading scale?

 

The university grading scale is the manner of measurement that denotes your level of academic achievement during the course of your degree. The grading scale is the deciding factor of whether you will be awarded a degree at the end of your studies, how well you achieved academically and whether or not you will be permitted to continue on to postgraduate studies.

 

Importantly, for international students, the university grading system is the benchmark against which your academic results are measured, to determine if you qualify for admission to a university course. This is especially true when transferring from a university in one country to another, or lodging an application using high school results from one country with a view to studying abroad.

 

Unlike the grading system in the UK, the Canadian university grading system does not make use of a classification system, but rather a combination of letter grades and grade point average (GPA). Further, the GPA scale in Canada is not identical to the system that is applied at universities in the USA and other countries.

 

Why not make some enquiries at these well-known Canadian universities?

 

 

What is the international grading system?

 

The international grading system refers to a scale of measurement for the academic achievement and results for both secondary and university level students. Although it does differ from country to country, the intention remains the same. This to award a score, percentage or grade, that will determine if you pass a course or degree and if you are eligible to study a particular subject or qualification, for example a master’s degree. In its simplest form the grading system can be summarised as:

 

Percentage

Letter grade

Description

80 - 100%

A

Excellent

70 - 79%

B

Very good

60 – 69%

C

Good

50 – 59%

D

Average

49% & lower

E / F

Unsatisfactory

 

What is a good GPA in Canada?

 

The answer to this question may depend on the state that you are studying in, but Canadian GPA scores are usually marked out of 4.0, however in the case of certain states this can be as high as 9.0, for the most part you will find this to be the case in Ontario. To gain admission as an international student you’ll usually need a minimum of a letter grade B or GPA above 2.67:

 

UK Grading System

Percentage

Letter Grade

Canadian GPA

1st

70% +

A+ / A

3.67 to 4.00

2:1

60% to 70 %

B+ / B

2.67 to 3.33

 

The measurement of what is considered to be a good GPA score in Canada can be summarised as:

 

  • GPA above 4.0 = Excellent
  • GPA above 3.5 = Very good
  • GPA above 3.0 = Good
  • GPA above 2.5 = Satisfactory

 

Don’t forget that you can read more about universities in Canada in our analysis of best institutions per state.

 

University grading scales GPA calculator Canada

 

If you’re considering studying in Canada and want to verify if you meet the entry requirements of your chosen university, then you’ll need to know how to calculate your GPA from the academic results you have. It’s less complicated than you think and you’ll soon understand what a 2:1 degree in GPA terms is.

 

Canadian university grading scale

 

In order to calculate your GPA, you’ll need to confirm the letter grade / percentage of your courses and the related credit hours. In most cases the course hours can be calculated at either four months or eight months, as this usually aligns with either a two semester or year long credit. A course that is four months long carries a weighting of three credit hours and it is double that for eight months.

 

Next multiply your grade (the associated GPA score) by the credit hours of each course.  Once you have done this calculation divide this by the total number of credit hours and you’ll have your benchmark Canadian GPA.  Let’s look at an example:

 

Course

Letter grade

Credit hours

GPA value

English

A (4)

3

12

Mathematics

C (2)

6

12

Total

 

9

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

GPA score

2.66

 

Explore courses at some of Canada’s other universities for international students and see what the GPA requirements for your desired course are:

 

 

The Canadian grading system per state

 

As mentioned you will find variations in the Canadian grading scale depending on where you choose to study. Canada has a total of ten provinces and three territories. These are:

 

  • Yukon
  • British Columbia
  • Alberta
  • Manitoba
  • Nunavut
  • Northwest territories
  • Saskatchewan
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island

 

Of these Canadian provinces and territories, the simplest university grading system belongs to Saskatchewan.  The province makes use of percentages and letter grades to judge academic performance and set entry requirements. If you have your heart set on studying in some of the provinces favoured by international students like Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta the grading system is that of the 4.0 score scale.

 

You’re all set now to see whether your grades match up with the entry requirements of your chosen course at a Canadian university. Remember you can find out more about studying in Canada with our take on the top five jobs for graduates,  our guide to post-study work permits in Canada and the top five things to do in Canada.