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


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 system? ›

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

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.
2.0gut (good)pass
2.3Gut (good) –pass
2.7Befriedigend (satisfactory) +pass
3.0Befriedigend (satisfactory)pass
9 more rows

What is a 4.0 GPA in Germany? ›

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

Is a 1.5 GPA in Germany Good? ›

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)

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).

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

Does scoring a 2 in Germany mean you are a better than average student? ›

2.0 – Overall very good. However, you need to work more in specific study areas. 3.0 – Good. Your achievement is satisfying, but there is room for improvement.

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 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.

Is 2.4 GPA good in Germany? ›

The minimum grade requirements in German universities may vary depending on the courses, universities etc. However, the minimum grade required for a middle profile course is GPA 2.5, GPA 1.5 for high profile study programs and there are no specific requirements for low profile courses.

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 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 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.

What is an excellent grade in Germany? ›

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.

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 the grading formula? ›

The Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated by Multiplying the credits for each course by the grade points associated with the grade earned and totaling the points earned for all courses dividing the total points by the number of credits will give you your grade point average.

What are the four steps of the grading process? ›

There are four major roles of the grading process – evaluation, communication, motivation and organization.

How many A's is a 3.8 GPA? ›

A 3.8 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to an A- letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale. This means is equivalent to a 90-92%. The national average GPA is 3.0 which means a 3.8 is far above average.

How do you convert ECTS to GPA? ›

To calculate the GPA:

Divide the total by the total ECTS credits to find the grade per ECTS, the Grade Point Average -> 690/180=3.83.

What is a 2.9 GPA equivalent to? ›

A 2.9 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to a B- letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale. This means is equivalent to a 80-82%. The national average GPA is 3.0 which means a 2.9 is a solid GPA, just a tiny bit below average and with a few quick tips can easily be improved to stand out from the crowd.

Is B2 enough to study in Germany? ›

You will need an official language certificate from a recognised language centre, such as the Goethe-Institut or a telc-certified institute. Depending on the German federal state, level B1 or B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is required.

How are German scores calculated? ›

Note: This German grade calculator uses the Modified Bavarian Formula
  1. 1.0–1.5 = “sehr gut” (very good: an outstanding achievement)
  2. 1.6–2.5 = “gut” (good: an achievement which lies substantially above average requirements)
  3. 2.6–3.5 = “befriedigend” (satisfactory: an achievement which corresponds to average requirements)

How good is B2 level German? ›

B2 is the first level that means that you can speak really fluent and understand 80% of the situations that you find yourself in repeatedly. You can prepare yourself for the exam and even see a sample of the language level here.

Is PhD difficult in Germany? ›

Finding a PhD degree in Germany is a bit more difficult than finding an undergraduate or a master's degree. That's mainly because PhD degrees in Germany are not only offered by universities but also from licensed companies engaged in the industrial sector.

Can I get a PhD with low grades? ›

While there are no hard limits, we suggest a minimum GPA of 3.5 for serious contention, especially at top schools. If your GPA is below 3.0 then you will likely not get admitted into any PhD programs. The reason for this is that PhD programs are a lot of work.

How many years is PhD in Germany? ›

In Germany, studying for a doctorate primarily means working intensely on a specific subject or research project for a long period of time. It typically takes five to six years to obtain a doctorate, though the length of time can vary.

What is 85 percent in German grades? ›

In the 5 scale grading system, the following grades can be as below.
Chinese grading system.
Grade A85 -100%
Grade B75-84%
Grade C60-74%
Grade D0-59%
Aug 27, 2021

What is a 7 in German grades? ›

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

Is 70% an F? ›

C is anywhere between 70% and 79% D - this is still a passing grade, and it's between 59% and 69% F - this is a failing grade.

What is the minimum GPA for Germany? ›

In general, the admission requirements are as follows: at least 55% marks or CGPA 2.5 (out of 4.0) in 4 years Bachelor degree from Nepal or India. an overall score of 6.0 or 6.5 in IELTS or equivalent test. some basic knowledge of German language (A1 level is highly recommended)

Which master degree is most valuable in Germany? ›

Do you want to study in Germany? Here are the top courses to study in Germany to avail more opportunities in the global market:
  • Medicine and Dentistry.
  • Law.
  • Industrial Engineering.
  • Engineering.
  • Mathematics and Computer Science.
  • Natural Sciences.
  • Business and economics.
  • Architecture.
Aug 22, 2022

Is 2 GPA Good for Masters in Germany? ›

Your graduation percentage and CGPA required for masters in Germany are two critical factors for your admission to MS. Calculated in GPA, the minimum GPA for masters in Germany requirement is 2.5.

What is the German equivalent of a master's degree? ›

German academic degree, often equivalent to a Master's degree (less often to a Bachelor's degree). Awarded to graduates in the Natural Sciences, Engineering, Economics and Social Sciences.

What does a 2.1 GPA translate to? ›

A 2.1 GPA, or Grade Point Average, is equivalent to a C letter grade on a 4.0 GPA scale. This is equivalent to a 73-76%. The national average GPA is 3.0 which means a 2.1 GPA is below average and leaves room for improvement.

What is the German equivalent of a bachelor's degree? ›

According to World Education Services, a German Diplom is equivalent to having earned both U.S. bachelor's and master's degrees.

What is B2 2 level German? ›

German B2. 2. Language level B2 is the fourth level of proficiency according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The aim of this learning stage is the ability to speak the language independently. It certifies that the candidate is an independent user of the German language.

Which university accept low GPA for masters in Germany? ›

Universities for Masters in Germany with Low GPA'

Hannover Medical School : ranked 293. University of Paderborn : ranked 1006 in Best Global Universities Rankings by U.S. News. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology : ranked 136 in QS World University Rankings. University of Rostock : ranked 736 in Best Global Universities.

How hard is it to get into a German university for masters? ›

German admissions are highly competitive. Subject matter experts with strong academic backgrounds, research or work experience are given high preference for admissions. That's why students with a good GRE score tend to have an additional advantage over students without a GRE/GATE score.

Can I do masters with low GPA? ›

Can I get into graduate school with a low GPA? In short, yes. It is possible to get into a grad school with a low GPA, but you will need to work harder on other aspects of your application to compensate for your low GPA.

How do you calculate degree equivalency in Germany? ›

The ZAB maintains a database (anabin) where you can see whether your degree is recognised in Germany. You can directly apply for the recognition of your certificates at ZAB. For more information, check the www.kmk.org.

How to convert CGPA to GPA? ›

NOTE: There are substantial queries regarding the GPA obtained by the topper to calculate the 4-point GPA from CGPA.
Converting 10 point CGPA to 4 point GPA (S to cgpa converter)
10 Point CGPAEquivalent 4 Point GPAUSA Grade Equivalent
87 more rows

What is 10th grade Germany? ›

Realschule. The Realschule (grades 5-10 in most states) leads to part-time vocational schools and higher vocational schools. It is now possible for students with high academic achievement at the Realschule to switch to a Gymnasium on graduation.

Is Grade 7 an A or B? ›

The highest grade you can get is a 9, with 1 being the lowest. This system was introduced in 2017, replacing the old GCSE grading system that awarded students letter grades from A* to G.
What's the GCSE grading system?
Old GradesNew Grades
A* A9 8 7
B C6 5 (Strong Pass) 4 (Standard Pass)
D E F G3 2 1
Sep 21, 2021


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