University Grading System In Australia

university grading system in australia

The method of academic grading varies from one country to another. International students in Australia can find the grading system very complex and difficult to comprehend at first. The ‘D’ grade, which they consider to be a low grade, is also emphasised by many overseas students. But literally, it means a grade of distinction. It is very important to note that every single entity or state in Australia may have a different grading system. Therefore, it is often recommended that they review the grading systems they adopt with the particular educational institute or university. What is the grading system in Australia? This article will highlight the common grading scale university grading system in Australia for colleges, high schools, and providers of vocational education around the nation discussed in this blog.

What Is The Australian Education System Like?

Before delving into the university grading system, let’s first understand the Australian education system. The Australian education system officially encompasses the following levels of education:

  • School Education consists of primary school from kindergarten to grades six or seven, secondary school from grades seven to 10 or eight to 10, and senior education from grades 11 to 12.
  • Tertiary education is the level pursued after graduating from school and includes both higher education or vocational education and training.
  • What distinguishes Australian education is the 1995-established Australian Qualifications Framework, which regulates certificates for school graduates and tertiary education qualifications. The AQF links all accredited tertiary education institutions into one cohesive system, allowing for seamless movement and transfer between institutions.
  • Study durations vary based on the type: foundation years are typically one year; Vocational Education and Training ranges from one to four years; undergraduate programmes last three years, with an optional fourth year for honours; postgraduate programmes span one to three years; and doctoral studies take three years, with an additional review year.

Facts And Figures

Australia’s tertiary education has an impressive 43 universities, with six of them securing prestigious positions among the top 100 universities globally. Remarkably, the Australian education system itself is ranked eighth worldwide. Australia is further enriched by the presence of seven world-class student cities, which proudly feature among the top 100 student cities internationally. Some of the most esteemed areas of study offered in Australia are Arts and Humanities, Clinical and Pre-Clinical Health, Engineering and Technology, Life Sciences and Social Sciences.

Simple University Grading System In Australia

“How does the grading system work in Australia? The table below illustrates the general grading system common among most universities in Australia, specifically in the context of grades at uni. It’s important to note that while these universities generally follow this grading scale, there might be slight variations. This university grading system in Australia is applicable to both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Additionally, similar American and British grades are provided for reference.

Australian GradeGrade NamePercentage (%)GPA ScaleUS EquivalentUK Equivalent
HDHigh Distinction83 to 1007A+First Class
DDistinction73 to 82.996 to 6.99ASecond Class – Upper Division
CCredit63 to 72.995 to 5.99BSecond Class – Lower Division
PPass50 to 62.994 to 4.99CThird Class
NFail0 to 49.990 to 3.99FFail

Different Grading Scales Across Universities

It’s important to bear in mind that while the fundamentals of the grading system remain consistent across universities in Australia, the specifics may vary among institutions throughout the country. Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the grading scale employed by your desired or current university is paramount to achieving academic success. Two commonly used grading systems are:

HD/CR/P/F System

Within this system:

  • High Distinction (HD) corresponds to a numerical range of 85-100.
  • Credit (CR) falls within the range of 75-84.
  • A Pass (P) represents a range of 50-74.
  • Any score below 50 results in a Fail (F).

Numerical Grading Scale

This scale offers a more precise breakdown:

  • 85-100: High Distinction (HD)
  • 75-84: Distinction (D)
  • 65-74: Credit (CR)
  • 50-64: Pass (P)
  • Below 50: Fail (F)

Basic Australia Grading Scale

Most Australian universities use the same broad grading system. It’s vital to keep in mind that different universities’ grading systems could vary a bit from one another. Undergraduate and graduate programs can both use the following university GPA conversion in Australia. 

Following is a table showcasing the grading system in Australia University for UG & PG courses:

Australian GradeGrade DescriptionPercentageAustralia GPA ScaleGPA Grade
HDHigh Distinction83-1007A+

Honours Degree Grading

In addition to this, while pursuing an honours degree, the grades can look different. The honours degree requires an extra year of study as opposed to a regular undergraduate degree. Here’s what the grades for honours degrees look like:

GradeGrade NamePercentage (%)
H1First Class Honours80 and above
H2ASecond Class Honours – A Division74 to 79
H2BSecond Class Honours – B Division70 to 74
H3Third Class Honours65 to 69
PPass50 to 64
NFail49 and below

Vocational Course Grading Scale

The Diploma, Advanced Diploma, and Certificates are all part of Australia’s vocational education system. Competency levels are the foundation of vocational courses. The grades offered by the Vocational Education Institutes are displayed in the table below:

Australian GradeGrade DescriptionPercentage
NYCFail (Not Yet Competent)0
CPass (Competent)100

Systems Of Grading In Various Australian States And Territories:

1. New South Wales

A popular study destination in Australia is the state of New South Wales. It is home to many well-known universities, such as the University of New South Wales, Newcastle University, Sydney University, and Macquarie University. The following table shows the grade scale adopted by New South Wales’ educational institutions:

GradeGrade NameGrade Scale (%)US Equivalent
HDHigh Distinction85 to 100A +
DDistinction75 to 84.99A
CRCredit65 to 74.99B
P or PWPass50 to 64.99C
FFail0 to 49.99F

2. Victoria

Worldwide, Victoria is recognized for its renowned education system. There are roughly nine separate universities, including Monash University, Deakin University, Melbourne University of Technology, Swinburne University of Technology, and La Trobe University. The following table shows the ranking system adopted by Victoria’s educational institutions:

GradeGrade NameUS Equivalent
A A+
EThe lowest grade needed to passD

 3. Queensland

Queensland has some of the world’s top-ranking colleges, including Griffith University and Queensland University. The following table shows the grade scale adopted by Queensland’s educational institutions:

GradeGrade NameGrade ScaleUS Equivalent
HDHigh Distinction7A+
DDistinction6 to 6.99A
CRCredit5 to 5.99B
PPass (the lowest passing grade)4 to 4.99C
FFail1 to 3.99F

4. Southern Australia

The state of South Australia, which includes the University of Adelaide, Carnegie Mellon University, Flinders University, and the University of South Australia, has some of the best universities in Australia. The table below shows the grade scale adopted by South Australia’s educational institutions:

GradeGrade NameGrade ScaleUS Equivalent
HDHigh Distinction85 to 100A+
DDistinction75 to 84.99A
CCredit65 to 74.99B
P1Pass Level 155 to 64.99B-
P2Pass Level 250 to 54.99C
F1Fail Level 1 (the lowest passing grade)40 to 49.99C-
F2Fail Level 230 to 39.99F

5. Western Australia

Several universities such as the ones mentioned above, are there in the state of Western Australia. Some of them are Western Australia University, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University, and Murdoch University. The following table shows the university grading system harder in Australia:

GradeGrade NameGrade ScaleUS Equivalent
HDHigh Definition80 to 100A
AExcellent Achievement80 to 100A
BHigh Achievement70 to 79.99B
CSound Achievement60 to 69.99C
DLimited Achievement (lowest grade needed to pass)50 to 59.99D
EFail0 to 49.99F

6. Tasmania

There is only one university, the University of Tasmania, located in the island state of Tasmania. The grading system used by these educational institutions is presented in the table below:

Australian GradeGrade DescriptionGrade Scale
EAExcellent Achievement4
HAHigh Achievement3.5-3.99
CACommendable Achievement3-3.49
SASatisfactory Achievement2.5-2.99
PAPreliminary Achievement2-2.49

What Defines Your Academic Success In Australia: Grading Criteria

Achieving higher grades requires a comprehensive understanding of how your performance is evaluated. Grading criteria often include:

Assignments and Projects

Assignments, research projects, and group work are integral components of your assessment. Meeting deadlines and delivering high-quality work are essential.


End-of-semester exams are common practices in Australian universities. Effective preparation and time management are key to success.

Calculating Your GPA

The Grading Point Average (GPA) serves as a quantitative representation of your academic performance, playing a significant role in evaluating your overall success during your studies. Understanding how GPA is calculated can help you track your progress and set realistic academic goals.

Assigning GPA Points

Each grade you receive for a course is associated with specific GPA points. In the Australian grading system, these points are typically assigned as follows:

  • High Distinction (HD): Often assigned a GPA point of 7.0, this grade signifies exceptional performance.
  • Distinction (D): A Distinction is usually allocated a GPA point of 6.0, indicating excellent performance.
  • Credit (CR): A Credit grade typically corresponds to a GPA point of 5.0, representing above-average performance.
  • Pass (P): Earning a Pass grade is typically associated with a GPA point of 4.0, signifying satisfactory completion of course requirements.
  • Fail (F): Failing a course is typically assigned a GPA point of 0.0, as it represents insufficient performance.

Weighted Average Calculation

Your overall GPA is not a simple average of these GPA points; it is a weighted average that takes into account the credit value of each course. This means that courses with a higher credit value have a more significant impact on your GPA. The weighted average formula for GPA calculation is as follows:

GPA = Total Weighted Points / Total Credit Value

To calculate your GPA:

  1. Assign the appropriate GPA point to each grade received for individual courses.
  2. Multiply the GPA point for each course by the credit value of that course.
  3. Sum up the total weighted points for all courses.
  4. Sum up the total credit value for all courses.
  5. Divide the total weighted points by the total credit value to obtain your GPA.

What Constitutes A Passing Grade?

Excel in the Australian university grading system by implementing these proven strategies:

Active Participation

Regularly attend classes and engage actively in discussions and group activities.


Don’t hesitate to reach out to professors for clarification or guidance whenever needed.

Time Management

Effective time management ensures you stay on top of your coursework and assignments.

Seek Support

Take advantage of academic support services offered by your institution when necessary.

Balance Your Life

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for overall well-being and academic success.


Q1. What is the grading system in Australian universities?

Ans: The grading system in Australian universities typically uses letters, with ‘HD’ indicating a high distinction, followed by ‘D’ for distinction, ‘C’ for credit, ‘P’ for pass, and ‘F’ for fail.

Q2. How is a high distinction (HD) grade achieved?

Ans: A high distinction (HD) grade is achieved by demonstrating exceptional understanding and performance in coursework or assessments, often requiring a score above 85% or equivalent.

Q3. What is the significance of a distinction (D) grade?

Ans: A distinction (D) grade represents a strong level of achievement, indicating a thorough understanding and above-average performance in the subject.

Q4. What does a credit (C) grade indicate?

Ans: A credit (C) grade reflects a satisfactory level of understanding and performance, showing competence in the subject without reaching the highest levels of excellence.

Q5. What is a pass (P) grade in the Australian grading system?

Ans: A pass (P) grade signifies a satisfactory performance, indicating that the student has met the minimum requirements for the subject, although not achieving higher levels of distinction or credit.

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university grading system in australia

University Grading System In Australia

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