Understanding & Converting German Grades – SSAG (2023)

For those who studied or will be studying in Germany and other German-speaking universities, understanding the grading system might be rather confusing for those used to the UK and US system of grading; this is made worse by the fact that very few people in Singapore are truly familiar with the grading system in German-speaking universities. For this reason, after conducting much research and comparisons, we have put together some useful in-depth information to give you a better understanding of the German grading system!

1. Die Noten– Understanding the German and the UK/US Grading Systems

Generally speaking, the German grading system is one that is based on banding and each individual grade (calledNote) are usually awarded based on the following banding descriptors, which range between 1,0 to 5,0. A 0,3 or 0,7 is usually added to the individually listed grades for finer differentiation within the grade band (e.g. a 1,3 is better than a 1,7 although both grades fall under the same band). For this reason, the following individual grades (Note)may be awarded: 1,0; 1,3; 1,7; 2,0; 2,3; 2,7; 3,0; 3,3; 3,7; 4,0; 4,3; 5,0. The best possible attainable grade is a 1,0 and 4,0 is generally the lowest passing grade, with some universities awarding a 4,3 whilst others do not. Additionally, some universities may also have an additional 6,0 to denote a complete failure (i.e. no re-sits possible).

In addition, anEuropean Credits Transfer System (ECTS) grade, established as part of the Bologna Process to facilitate the transfer of credits between European institutions, is awarded in addition to the German grade. The ECTS grade is usually added in the Diploma Supplement, a certificate which provides detailed information about the programme and the university in which the degree was awarded. It is important to note that the ECTS grade is a ‘relative’ rather than an ‘absolute’ grade, and students are awarded the grade based on their class position in a test or examination as seen in the table below.Based on information provided by theHochschulrektorenkonferenz, or theAssociation of Universities and other Higher Education Institutions in Germany,and theECTS User’s Guide,this is the recommended guideline for the awarding of ECTS grades in relation to German grades:

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ECTS Grade% RankGerman GradeGerman DefinitionEnglish Definition
ATop 10%1,0 – 1,5HervorragendExcellent
BNext 25%1,6 – 2,0Sehr GutVery Good
CNext 30%2,1 – 3,0GutGood
DNext 25%3,1 – 3,5BefriedigendSatisfactory
EFinal 10%3,6 – 4,0AusreichendSufficient
F/FX4,1 – 5,0/6,0Nicht BestandenFail

As seen from the table above, “Mit Auszeichnung” is considered the topmost band where the best grades are awarded, whilst “Befriedigend” is the minimum for a pass grade. However, the use of “Mit Auszeichnung” or “Befriedigend” may differ from university to university and from degree programme to degree programme, with several universities using “Sehr Gut” as the top band instead with a different set of grade requirements (see examples from Universität Mannheim(Page 14), Universität Heidelberg,LMU München, and the Karlsruhe Institut von Technologie). As such, it would be best to refer to the examination regulations (Studienordnung) for the specific degree programme to understand the grading system used for the ranking of students.

Generally speaking, most conversion tables from organisations such as the British Department for Education or the National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC) recognise grades within the top band as being equivalent to a First Class Honours grade, grades within the second band as being equivalent to a Second Class (Upper Division) or 2:1 grade, with the remaining passing grade (namely all grades up to the “Befriedigend” or “Satisfactory” band) generally recognised as being equivalent to a Second Class (Lower Division) or 2:2 grade (Click here for more information).

However,the most important thing to take note about grading in Germany is that just like its education system, grading is highly decentralised and may vary even within a university depending on the faculty or even professor, where some even make it clear that they do not give out the top grade of ‘1,0’ unless they deem a work to be particularlyexceptional! In fact, top-tier and more competitive universities in Germany are well-known for being rather harsh in terms of grading at times, so much so that several reputable UK universities such asImperial CollegeandUniversity of Warwickmake it clear in their graduate and postgraduate application websites that they would lower their grade expectations for applicants who graduate from such universities. Most universities, including the so-called “Elite” German universities, typically state a minimum grade of 2,5 to 3,0 (i.e. a grade within the “Gut” or “Befriedigend” band, depending on the university and degree programme in question) for entry into most Masters courses, although the grade expectations may be higher for more competitive graduate NC-courses such as Psychology (2,3 or better).

2. Comparing German Grades against UK and US Grading Systems

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Whilst it is very difficult to generalise the way German grades are awarded due to the aforementioned reasons in this section, we have nonetheless done some extensive research and put together the information we gathered in a table to help those who are unfamiliar with the German system to get a feel of what each German grade is roughly equivalent to.

As mentioned earlier, do note that most UK and US universities also often take the reputation of the individual German universities into account as top tier universities are usually well-known for being harsher in the awarding of grades – for this reason, some leeway and a lowered grade expectation are granted for graduates from such universities. Information for this section have been sourced from and compared against those provided by the following organisations’ and universities’ websites:UK National Recognition Information Centre (UK NARIC), the University of Aberystwyth’s EU Qualifications Comparability Calculator (that is based on UK NARIC’s International Comparisons and Grading Transfer System),the University of St Andrews,King’s College London (KCL)andWorld Education Services (WES). The first four sources provide a comparison based on the UK system, whilst WES is aa third-party verification agency in the US that is used by many US universities – such as the Harvard Business School, amongst others– for transcript conversion purposes.

Table Comparing German University Grades to UK, US and Singaporean Grades

1,0A+A+A(Until 1,5)UK First Class Honours(Until 1,9)
1,7A-A-A(Until 2,5)
2,0B+B+ / BSecond Class Honours, Upper Division (Until 2,8)
2,7B-C+B(Until 3,5)
3,0C+CSecond Class Honours, Lower Division (Until 3,9)
3,7D+D+C(Until 4,0)
4,0DDThird Class Honours

**N.B.The WES and UK NARIC comparisons are for the overall averaged-out grades for German degrees (i.e. Durchschnittsnote orGesamtnote), whilst the German grades compared against the NUS, NTU and SMU grade conversiontables are for grades awarded in individual course modules. Therefore, when converting a degree as a whole (e.g. for purposes of Honours classification), the WES and UK NARIC reference should be used as a guideline. Alternatively, you can calculate your GPA by first converting the German grades into the Singaporean grade equivalent before checking to see how they correspond to the Honours/Cum-Laude & Merit Awards system using the guidelines provided by NUS, NTU and SMU respectively.

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Degree with Honours and Classification?

Due to education being under the purview of the individual Federal States (Bundesland) rather than the Federal Government (Bundesregierung), Germany generally does not have an Honours system nor a degree classification system akin to that of the UK or Singapore. For this reason, with the exception of certain courses such as Law or postgraduate courses, honours – be it latin honours or degree classifications – are very rarely given out at German universities. Some universities might award special distinctions (e.g. “Mit Auszeichnung” or “cum laude”) to students whom they consider exceedingly exceptional (viz. a final grade of 1,1 and better), but this is extremely rare and far between for those completing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

Having said that, theUK Department forEducationrecognises the German Bachelor degree as being equivalent to British Honours degrees, meaning that a German BA or BSc is equivalent to a British BA (Hons) and BSc (Hons). This is also the casefor other German qualifications such as theStaatsexamen, DiplomorMagister. For this reason, you should have no worries about having your degree recognised as an Honours degree in Singapore as well as most Commonwealth countries!What is interesting to note is that unlike Singapore and UK system where only certain Honours students are given the option of writing a thesis or dissertation (called aBachelorarbeitorMasterarbeit),allGerman university students are expected to write one without exemption as part of their course requirementin addition to attending a colloquium or viva prior to graduation – this is a practice carried over from the former 4 to 5-yearMagister/Diplomsystem that has now been phased out. In view of this, you can be assured that the regular Bachelor or Master course in German universities are definitely as rigorous as those courses with Honours back in Singapore or the UK – if not more!

Having said that, the conversion of the overall grade or classification of a German degree for graduate or postgraduate admissions is often done on an individual, case-by-case basis as many Anglophone universities are cognisant of the highly subjective German grading system which may be particularly harsh on students who come from more renowned traditional universities – such a practice is commonly followed by top universities such as Oxford, Cambridge and UCL who have replied to our members’ queries in the past.This is largely due to the widely acknowledged fact that the Universitäten(Unis) and Technische Universitäten(TUs) are notorious for being harsher and more stringent in the awarding of grades in comparison to the Fachhochschulen,even though the latter also award degrees that are technically recognised as being equivalent to those awarded by the traditional universities (See this article for more information).

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For holders of German degrees who would like to further their studies outside of Germany, Austria or Switzerland, the following universities have provided some rough guidelines as to how the grades of the German degrees would be converted:

  • University of Edinburgh (Business School), Scotland (UK): An overall grade of 2,5 or better that falls within the “Sehr Gut” or “Gut” band is generally accepted as meeting the university’s expectation ofan Honours degree from a good university, with anexcellentorvery goodclassification that is equivalent to a First Class or Second Class (Upper Division) degree classification.
  • University of Brighton, England (UK): An overall grade within the first band (i.e.”Sehr Gut”) is considered equivalent to a First Class Honours degree classification, whilst a grade in the second and third bands (i.e. “Gut” and “Befriedigend”) are considered as 2:1 and 2:2 equivalents respectively.
  • University of Warwick, England (UK): A score of 2,0 – 2,4 is considered as a 2:1, while a score of 2,5 – 3,1 is considered as a 2:2.
  • University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada: An overall grade classified as “Gut” according to the German banding system is considered equivalent to a Second Class (Upper Division) degree classification or 4.0 CAP according to the Singapore university grading system (NUS/NTU/SMU), aSecond Class (Upper Division) or 2:1 degree classification according to the UK system, or a B+ average on a 4-point GPA scale according the Canadian or US system. Further individual comparisons can be made on the UBC website which allows users to toggle between the various international qualifications vis-à-vis the expected grades for admission into a UBC graduate or postgraduate course.
  • University of Sydney (Business School), Australia: An overall grade of 3,0 according to the German system is considered as being equivalent to a ‘Credit’ or an overall score of 65% in the Australian system.

Do note that the overall grade and degree classification conversions were provided by the various universities as rough guides and are not meant to serve as an absolute reference for cut-off scores – these are subject to further individual considerations on a case-by-case basis, as well as possible future changes to the conversion agreements!

3. Grading System for Courses graded throughStaatsexamen

In the case of courses such as Medicine and Law where candidate sit for theStaatsexamenorStaatsprüfunginstead, a different grading system may be used from the aforementioned. In these instances where a point-based system is used instead of the usual grading system,it is best to refer back to the individual German universities’ websites for explanation on the grading system. For most medical courses that are recognised by the Singapore Medical Council, however, the usual German grading system that is explained earlier on in this section is generally used for most module examinations as well.

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How do you convert grades to German grading? ›

Grades in Germany are based on a linear grading scale from 1.0 to 6.0.
German Grading Calculator.
PercentageGerman GradeDetails
80-90%1.6-2.5Good (gut)
65-80%2.6-3.5Satisfactory (befriedigend)
50-65%3.6-4.0Sufficient (ausreichend)
0-50%5.0-6.0Failed (nicht bestanden)
1 more row

What is 75% in German grade? ›

Chinese grading system
Grade A85 -100%
Grade B75-84%
Grade C60-74%
Grade D0-59%
Aug 27, 2021

What is a 4.0 GPA in Germany? ›

Primary & Lower Secondary (1st-10th grade)
GradeScaleGrade Description
3-3.30 - 3.69Satisfactory (Befriedigend)
4+3.70 - 3.99Sufficient (Ausreichend)
44.00 - 4.29Sufficient (Ausreichend)
4-4.30 - 4.69Poor (Mangelhaft)
11 more rows

Is a 3.0 average considered a good grade in Germany? ›

As you can see there's no equivalent of the “D” in the US grading system in the German grading system. In general, students with a mark of 3.0 or above in German universities are considered to be A or B students in the American grading system, whereas anything between 4.1 and 4.9 is a good academic standing.

How do you convert the grading system? ›

Common examples of grade conversion are: A+ (97–100), A (93–96), A- (90–92), B+ (87–89), B (83–86), B- (80–82), C+ (77–79), C (73–76), C- (70–72), D+ (67–69), D (65–66), D- (below 65).

How do I calculate my grading scale? ›

First, add the number of standard points the student earned. Then, divide that sum by the total number of points possible. Once you have that percentage, you can convert it using a traditional grading scale as pictured above. This method works for the common 1-4 scale as well as for 1-3 or 1-5 scales.

What is 3.0 GPA in Germany? ›

CGPA (Best: 4.0, Worst: 2.0)German Grading System (Best: 1.0, Worst:5.0)
3.32.05 (Good)
3.22.20 (Good)
3.12.35 (Good)
3.02.50 (Good)
17 more rows

What is 80 in German grading system? ›

Frequently Asked Questions About Grading scale in Germany
Indian PercentageGerman GPA GradeDescription
90-100%1 - 1.5Sehr Gut (Very Good)
80-90%1.6 - 2.5Gut (Good)
65-80%2.6 - 3.5Befriedigent (Satisfactory)
50-65%3.6 - 4.0Ausreichend (Sufficient)
1 more row

What is 70 percent in German GPA? ›

So, if you were an average student at a such a college, your CGPA/ Percentage would be 7.0 or 70%. Using above conversion table, your GPA on German scale would be 2.80.

Is 2.7 A good grade in Germany? ›

These are awarded the grade 'TN = Teilnahme' which means the student has participated in the module and passed.
German university grades.
1.7Gut (good) +pass
2.0gut (good)pass
2.3Gut (good) –pass
2.7Befriedigend (satisfactory) +pass
9 more rows

Is 1.7 A good GPA in Germany? ›

Tertiary education

1.0–1.5 sehr gut (very good: an outstanding achievement) 1.6–2.5 gut (good: an achievement which lies substantially above average requirements) 2.6–3.5 befriedigend (satisfactory: an achievement which corresponds to average requirements)

Is 76% an A or B? ›

PercentLetter Grade
80 - 82B-
77 - 79C+
73 - 76C
70 - 72C-
8 more rows

What is a 7 in German grades? ›

Table 1. German grades to Dutch grades
GermanDutch (unrounded)Dutch (rounded)
6 more rows
Dec 8, 2021

What is the German grading scale? ›

The grades awarded in the German school system range from 1 to 6. The lower the grade, the better it is: a 1 is an excellent grade, whereas 5 and 6 are fail grades. Universities use a slightly modified version, which only goes from 1 to 5.

How to convert European grades to American grades? ›

International Grade US Equivalent Note: A (91-100) A A- (86-90) B+/A B+ (81-85) B+/A B (76-80) B/B+ B- (71-75) B C+ (66-70) C+ C (61-65) C+ D (50-60) C+ E (<50) F F (nonattendance) F Credit equivalencies are equal to US credits.

What is 70% on a grading scale? ›

Letter GradePercentage RangeMid-Range
A+90% to 100%95%
A80% to 89%85%
B+75% to 79%77.5%
B70% to 74%72.5%
6 more rows

How is GPA calculated in Germany? ›

You need to convert your CGPA to German GPA.
Information that you need to provide in order to convert to GPA:
PercentageGPA in GermanyValue
80-90%1.6-2.5“Gut” – Good
65-80%2.6-3.5“Befriedigend” – Satisfactory
50-65%3.6-4.0“Ausreichend” – Acceptable
0-50%5.0“ungenügend” – Insufficient
1 more row
Aug 30, 2022

How do I convert my GPA to ECTS? ›

How do you calculate ECTS? To calculate your ECTS in a particular subject, Add up your credit hours for the subject in 1 week, then multiply it will total weeks for the subject. Finally, Divide it with 30 (1 ECTS = 30hrs). That will be your total ECTS in the subject.

What is a 2.1 German grade? ›

If you need to write about your grades in more detail, you could write: "Average grade: 2.1 (on a scale of 1-5 (university level), where 1 is the best grade; approximately equivalent to an overall "B" grade).

What is a good grade for a master in Germany? ›

At the end of the course, students will be awarded a grade based on their achievements. A good grade for this course in Germany is 1.0-1.5 (Sehr Gut), while 1.6-2.5 qualifies as Gut.

What grade is a 2.2 on a 4.0 scale? ›

A 2.2 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to a C letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale. This means is equivalent to a 73-76%.

What is a 2.4 GPA on a 4.0 scale? ›

Let's take a look. A 2.4 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to a C+ letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale. This is equivalent to 77-79%.

What grade is a 2.4 on a 4.0 scale? ›

A 2.4 GPA is considered a C+, and is right on the cusp of a B- average, which is much more marketable to colleges and universities.

Is 80 grade A or B? ›

A - is the highest grade you can receive on an assignment, and it's between 90% and 100% B - is still a pretty good grade! This is an above-average score, between 80% and 89%

What letter grade is a 67%? ›

Grade Scale
PercentageLetter Grade
9 more rows

What letter grade is a 75%? ›

Grade Scale
A+= / >100%
B= / >80%
B-= / >75%
C+= / >70%
C= / >65%
10 more rows

What is a 60% on a GPA scale? ›

GPA Scale
Letter GradeGrade PointsNumerical Grade
9 more rows

What GPA is a 84%? ›

2.9 GPA = 84% percentile grade = B letter grade.

What GPA is a 81%? ›

2.6 GPA = 81% percentile grade = B letter grade.

What GPA do you need to get a PHD in Germany? ›

Check the formal requirements

A university degree is a general prerequisite to qualify for admission to doctoral studies. Usually, a final grade point average of at least 2.5 on the German grading scale (which equals good or B+) or an examination graded "cum laude" is required.

What is the minimum GPA for Masters in Germany? ›

What is the minimum CGPA required for MS in Germany? The minimum CGPA required to do an MS in Germany is 7 or 70%. However, if you want to get admission to a world-class university, you need the best score in IELTS, and your CGPA must be around 8.5.

Is GPA important in Germany? ›

As others have said, I have the same opinion. Your grades don't matter, all that matters is the skills required for the specific job you are applying for. If you have done projects and taken subjects in similar field you are applying for then they will call you for an interview, provided you apply in German.

What is a 2.5 grade equivalent to? ›

A 2.5 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to a C+ letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale, and a percentage grade of 77–79.

What is the German equivalent of grades? ›

Germany uses a 5- or 6-point grading scale (GPA) to evaluate academic performance for the youngest to the oldest students. Grades vary from 1 (excellent, sehr gut) to 5 (resp. 6) (insufficient, nicht genügend).

How do you convert GPA to ECTS? ›

How do you calculate ECTS? To calculate your ECTS in a particular subject, Add up your credit hours for the subject in 1 week, then multiply it will total weeks for the subject. Finally, Divide it with 30 (1 ECTS = 30hrs). That will be your total ECTS in the subject.

What grade is B German? ›

Below is a rough guide to how German grades correspond to grades awarded by universities in the USA: (1.0) – outstanding, rarely achieved (A+) (1.3) – very good (A) (1.7 to 2.3) – good, seen as a relatively good result (A- to B) (2.7 to 3.3) – satisfactory (B- to C)

How does the German grading system work? ›

The grades awarded in the German school system range from 1 to 6. The lower the grade, the better it is: a 1 is an excellent grade, whereas 5 and 6 are fail grades. Universities use a slightly modified version, which only goes from 1 to 5.

What is a 3.8 GPA in Germany? ›

CGPA (Best: 4.0, Worst: 2.0)German Grading System (Best: 1.0, Worst:5.0)
3.91.15 (Very Good)
3.81.30 (Very Good)
3.71.45 (Very Good)
3.61.60 (Good)
17 more rows

How do you calculate German grade to percentage? ›

For Indian students this means, you will have to convert their CGPA or percentage to German grade.
German Grade Conversion from Indian Percentage: German GPA Calculator.
Indian PercentageGerman GPA GradeDescription
50-65%3.6 - 4.0Ausreichend (Sufficient)
0-50%4.1 - 5.0Mangelhaft (Not sufficient)
3 more rows

What is 12th grade called in Germany? ›

Gymnasium: At the end of the 12th or 13th grade, students take examinations known as the Abitur and if successful graduate from secondary school with a certificate of advanced secondary education, entitling them to study at a university or at a university of applied sciences.

What grade is 70 percent in Germany? ›

So, if you were an average student at a such a college, your CGPA/ Percentage would be 7.0 or 70%. Using above conversion table, your GPA on German scale would be 2.80.

How do I calculate my ECTS score? ›

To calculate your ECTS in a particular subject in Germany, candidates are required to add up their total credit hours for the subject in 1 week, then multiply it by the total weeks for the subject. Finally, divide the value by 30 (1 ECTS = 30hrs) to get your total ECTS for the particular subject.

What is 120 credits ECTS equivalent to? ›

A typical 'short cycle qualification' typically includes 90-120 ECTS credits. A 'first cycle' (or bachelor's) degree consists of either 180 or 240 ECTS credits. Usually a 'second cycle' (or master's) degree equates to 90 or 120 ECTS credits.

What percentage is grade C in ECTS? ›

Grade C is awarded to next 30 % of students. It implies their work is generally sound. However, they have made notable errors. Grade D is given to next 25 % of students.

What is B2 level German? ›

The Goethe-Zertifikat B2 is a German exam for young people and adults. It certifies that candidates have acquired advanced language skills and corresponds to the fourth level (B2) of the six-level scale of competence laid down in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

What is the passing grade of B1 German? ›

To pass the Deutsch Zertifikat B1 exam you must have achieved 60% of the maximum points in both the written and oral tests. This equates to 135 points in the written and 45 points in the oral test.


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