The grading system in Canadian higher education is largely similar to the US grading system. Here, too, there are provincial differences. In some cases, Canadian universities that are located in the same province use different grading systems.

In addition to using letter grades, some colleges also use a percentage system as their grading system. 50% represent the minimum for a “pass”, 90% to 100% mean “excellent”. When using the percentage system, it is often common to also note the course average on the transcript in order to better classify the individual’s performance. The grade point average is given in GPA (Grade Point Average), with each individual grade being given a point value on which the average is calculated.

The following scheme shows the approximate ratio of the individual ratings to one another. Not all universities in Canada also use the intermediate levels + / -. However, these are only guidelines! The German universities often have their own conversion tables, which you should use as a guide.

Staves in comparison
Letter grade In percent German equivalent Grade Points
A + 90-100 1 (very good) 4 or 4.3
A. 85-89 1 (very good) 4th
A- 80-84 1.3 (still very good) 3.7
B + 77-79 1.7 (better than good) 3.3
B. 73-76 2 (good) 3
B- 70-72 2.3 (still good) 2.7
C (+/-) 60-69 2.7 – 3.3 (Satisfactory) 2.3 – 1.7
D (+/-) 50 – 59 3.7 – 4 (sufficient) 1.3 – 0.7
F. 0 – 49 5 (failed) 0

Credit Point System in Canada

The grades result on the one hand from the grade points achieved and the number of credit points awarded for a course. The credit points express the time required for the course taken. If a course that has a value of three credits (three credits normally correspond to three hours of teaching) is completed, for example, with a B (= 3 grade points), the student receives 9 (3×3) grade points.

Conversion of Canadian credit points into ECTS points

There is no binding regulation for the recognition and conversion of credit points acquired in Canada into ECTS points. In general, the following formula applies to converting Canadian credits:

60 ÷ (CP ÷ J)

  • 60 = ECTS that must be acquired at a German university in one year
  • CP = total number of credit points that must be acquired for a corresponding course of study at the foreign university
  • J = the total length of the program in years


  1. At a Canadian university with a semester system, 120 credit points must be acquired for a bachelor’s degree program. The course lasts four years. So 30 credits have to be earned per year. Accordingly, the conversion factor is 2. Here, a typical course with, for example, three credits is converted into six ECTS points. This means that a German student would have to take five courses during his semester abroad to get 30 ECTS points.
  2. At a Canadian university with a trimester or quarterly system (a quarter / term generally corresponds to ten to twelve weeks of teaching, with only three terms officially taught), students must acquire 180 credits within four years, i.e. 45 credits per year. The conversion factor would be 1.333 and three credit points would then correspond to four ECTS points. At this university, a typical course is worth four credits (around 5.5 ECTS). During one term, a German student would generally have to attend four courses (22 ECTS) in order to receive the required number of credit points.

However, it is always at the discretion of the home university how many ECTS points it ultimately awards based on the course description and so it may well be that completing four or three courses during the semester / quarter in Canada is sufficient. In principle, you should always have your planned course selection during the semester abroad in Canada “approved” beforehand by the relevant office at your home university. In this way you can be sure that you will get the number of credit points recognized that you need in order not to delay your studies.

Examination and Study Achievements of Canada

In Canada, a major country in North America listed on cachedhealth, students generally do not attend more than five events per semester. This is because the courses at Canadian universities are much more labor-intensive than we know in Germany. Regular performance assessments take place throughout the semester, which are usually also graded and included in the final grade. The following examination and study achievements are common:

  • Quiz: Short written test, usually at the beginning of a session, to check that students have read the preparatory texts
  • Journal: seminar diary
  • Paper: Short term paper of up to five pages that is written to accompany the course
  • Presentation: Presentation that is given either alone or in a group during the course
  • Midterm Exam: Exam in the middle of the semester
  • Term Paper / Research Paper: Longer term paper that is submitted in the last session
  • Final Exam: Written exam at the end of the semester

In the first two to three weeks, students have the opportunity to attend the courses without obligation. After that, however, they have to make a decision. A course that is abandoned in the middle of the semester is usually marked as “failed” on the certificate.

Grading System in Canada

Grading System in Canada
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