How to Convert U.K. Grades For Master’s Degrees In Other Countries

If you’ve studied in Britain and want to enrol in a university from another European country, you will discover that grading systems can be very different. Some use letters, others use numbers or percentages, and scales vary from 1-5, 1-10, 0-20, and so on.

To make things easier, we’ve done some research and listed the main characteristics and conversions of British marks to grades from other countries. Keep in mind that our conversions aim to give you a general idea, and they are not rules. Universities and colleges make the conversions, and they are able to offer more information about this process.

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Every university can use its own conversion system. For example, European universities can use the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). But they are not obligated to do so. It’s also common practice to convert the number of credits, instead of actual grades. But the credit system in the US, for instance, is different from the European one. That’s why converting grades and GPAs is not as simple as you might think.

Still, there are similarities between grading systems, and they can help you understand what a good, average, or bad grade is in different countries.

The British grading system

The British undergraduate grading system

In the UK, universities offer two types of undergraduate (Bachelor’s) degrees: Honours and ordinary (regular) degrees.

Honours degrees are the most popular. You can complete an Honours degree with different marks or grades. Based on your marks, you can receive 4 types of Honours qualification when you graduate:

  • First-Class Honours (First or 1st). Equivalent to grade A. You need to complete your studies with an overall mark of 70% or above. It is a great academic achievement and represents an advantage when applying for a Master’s degree or a job.
  • Upper Second-Class Honours (2:1). Equivalent to grade B. You need an overall grade of 60-69% to receive it. This degree type is a common admission requirement when applying for a Master’s programme.
  • Lower Second-Class Honours (2:2). Equivalent to grade C. To obtain this degree, you need a mark of 50-59%. It is not as prestigious as the First or 2:1 degree but is still accepted by certain Master’s programmes.
  • Third-Class Honours (Third or 3rd). Equivalent to grade D. It is offered to students who finish their studies with an overall mark of 40-49%. While it is still a pass, it will be very difficult to compete with other students when applying for a Master’s degree.
  • You fail if your overall mark is lower than 40%. Equivalent to receiving an F.

Ordinary degrees are less popular but are offered as individual degrees by certain universities. They can also be awarded to students who complete an Honours degree, but without meeting the minimum requirements to receive one of the Honours qualifications.

The British postgraduate grading system

The grading system for Master’s degrees is similar to the Honours, but with some differences. The minimum passing mark is 50% instead of 40%. The full qualifications look like this:

  • Distinction: 70-100%
  • Merit: 60-69%
  • Pass: 50-59%
  • Fail: Below 50%

Converting British grades into French grades

In France, they use a numerical grading system with a 0-20 scale. The minimum passing grade is 10. Usually, it’s not very common for students to receive grades higher than 16. Here’s the conversion of British marks into French grades:

  • + 70% (A) = 16-20
  • 60-69% (B) = 14-15.9
  • 50-59% (C) = 12-13.9
  • 40-49% (D) = 10-11.9
  • Below 40% (F) = lower than 10 (fail)

Here are a few universities from France we recommend:

  • Université de Lyon
  • KEDGE Business School
  • Institut Polytechnique de Paris

Converting British grades into Spanish grades

Like France, Spain also uses a numerical grading system, but with a 0-10 scale. The minimum passing grade is 5. Here’s the conversion of British marks into Spanish grades:

  • +70% (A) = 9-10
  • 60-69% (B) = 7-8.9
  • 50-59% (C) = 6-6.9
  • 40-49% (D) = 5-5.9
  • Below 40% (F) = lower than 5 (fail)

Here are a few universities from Spain we recommend:

  • University of Deusto
  • TBS Business School
  • EU Business School
Group of students in a coffee shop

Converting British grades into Dutch grades

The Netherlands uses a 0-10 grading system. Grades 9 and 10 are rarely given, and the minimum passing mark is 6. You can learn more about the Dutch grading system on the official Study in Holland website. Here’s the conversion of British marks into Dutch grades:

  • +70% (A) = 8-10
  • 60-69% (B) = 7-7.9
  • 50-59% (C) = 6-6.9
  • 40-49% (D) = 5-5.9 (fail)
  • Below 40% (F) = lower than 5 (fail)

Here are a few universities from the Netherlands we recommend:

  • Maastricht University
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Converting British grades into American grades

In the US, the grading system uses letters A-F (without E) to evaluate students. D is the minimum passing grade.

  • +70% = A
  • 60-69% = B
  • 50-59% = C
  • 40-49% = D
  • Below 40% = F (fail)

Converting British grades into GPA

American universities and colleges generally use a GPA (Grade Point Average) to evaluate the overall performance of students. The GPA is calculated using your grades and the number of credits of each course you take. A rough conversion of British grades to GPAs looks like this:

  • +70% = 4.0
  • 60-69% = 3.3-3.9
  • 50-59% = 2.7-3.2
  • 40-49% = 2.0-2.6
  • Below 40% = 1.0-1.9 – This is not necessarily a failure; at some universities, it might be equivalent to receiving an ordinary degree in the UK.

You can also check out:

  • The academic credit system in the US
  • Interesting facts about the US grading system

Here are a few universities from the US we recommend:

  • Columbia University
  • Boston University
  • University of California, Irvine (UCI)

Converting British grades into Canadian grades

Canada does not have a standard grading system; each region is free to establish rules, and that’s why grading systems vary a lot from one region to another. Individual universities can also make modifications to the regional system, which makes things even more complicated.

Because of this, we’ll only take a few examples and show the conversions between British marks and Canadian grades:

Grading system in British Columbia

  • +70% = A (86-100) and B (73-85)
  • 60-69% = C+ (67-72) and C (60-66)
  • 50-59% = C- (50-59)
  • 40-49% = F (0-49) – fail
  • Below 40% = F (0-49) – fail

Grading system in Alberta

  • +70% = 7-9
  • 60-69% = 6
  • 50-59% = 5
  • 40-49% = 4
  • Below 40% = 3,2,1 (fail)

Grading system in Saskatchewan

  • +70% = A+ (90-100) and A (80-89) and B (70-79)
  • 60-69% = C (60-69)
  • 50-59% = D (50-59)
  • 40-49% = F (0-49) – fail
  • Below 40% = F (0-49) – fail

Here are a few universities from Canada we recommend:

  • University of Toronto
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • York University

Check out more information about the grading systems in Canada.

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