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Academic Grading System in Canada

Academic Grading System in Canada. varies by province, level of education (e.g., elementary, secondary, tertiary), by institution, and faculty. The following are commonly used conversions from percentage grades to letter grades, however, this is not necessarily meaningful, since there is not a uniform scheme for assigning percentage grades either.

Most international students are interested to know what the grading system is before proceeding with the application process for tertiary education in Canada. It is vital to comprehend that the grading system in Canadian higher education institutions differs from other countries. All the ten provinces of Canada have a special grading system and each of them assigns its own system. Schools of two provinces Quebec and British Columbia do not include the grade “D”, thus making the grade “C” as the lowest grade for passing the threshold. The education system in Canada, along with the grading system are unique and represent diverse pathways to students’ success.

Academic Grading System in Canada

Academic Grading System in Canada

Being aware that each level of education has a different grading system helps those who aim to study in Canada convert their native grades into Canadian ones. The majority of students come with the hope of meeting the same grading system, but later on get disappointed by finding out that the university grade requirements differ significantly. Prior knowledge on the grading system of Canada and the letter grades used by Canadian universities is quite essential before moving to any of its provinces. But so is the GPA of a student. If your Grade Point Average meets the criteria of Canadian universities then, you are more than qualified to continue your tertiary education in Canada.

Canadian Provincial Grade Framework

As we mentioned, each province of Canada has its own grade system, and this is what makes the education institutions of this country special. To have a clearer image, we have shown how the grading system in two provinces of Canada work, and these are:

  • Alberta
  • Quebec


To be more specific, the province of Quebec includes a number of universities that share the same grading system such as: McGill University, Université of Montréal, Université of Québec, Bishop’s University, Concordia University, Université Laval, Université de Sherbrooke, Sir George Williams University, and Loyola College.

Students of any university of the Quebec province can pass the exams if they have completed 60% or 64% of the questions correctly. Thus, making us understand that the passing grade is “C” since the above percentage indicates such grade. However, with the compromise of professors, one can get the grade C in the range of 56-59%. To have a clearer image of the grading system of this province, consult the table below.

Letter Grade Percentage Description
A+ 95-100% Exceptional
A 90-94% Outstanding
A- 85-89% Excellent
B+ 80-84% Very Good
B 75-79% Good
B- 70-74% Average
C+ 65-69% Satisfactory
C 60-64% Pass
C- 55-59% Low Pass
D 0-54% Fail


Continuing with the other provincial grading system, the Alberta territory includes the well known University of Alberta, MAcEwan University, The King’s University and Concordia of Edmonton, University of Calgary, Ambrose University, Mount Royal University, St.Mary’s University, Burman University and every single one of them follows the same academic grading which comes down to what we have been stating on the top of this article. With some marginal differences, this is the grading system in the province of Alberta:

Letter Grade Percentage
A+ 90-100%
A 95-89%
A- 80-84%
B+ 77-79%
B 73-76%
B- 70-72%
C+ 67-69%
C 63-66%
C- 60-62%
D 55-59%
D 50-54%
F 0-49%

How to Calculate Your GPA Before Applying to a Canadian University

To ease this process, international students should know that the GPA used in Canadian universities distinguishes from the common GPA employed in other states. Most of the countries have a GPA of 5.0, whereas for other countries it might go up to 20. Notwithstanding, Canadian universities have a wide array of grading systems, as well as different criterias of GPA. That’s why we are here to assist and explain each of them thoroughly.

Many students panic and worry whether their GPA is sufficient to get them into a great school. That’s why it is important to estimate your GPA before deciding to enroll in any Canadian university, and check if you meet that specific criteria. To do that, you have to use the GPA Formula, which is:

GPA= Total Grade Points earned multiplied by with the credit hours for each course
The total number of credit hours

What is a 4.0 GPA in Canada?

You can only get the answer to your question by knowing in which state you want to study, since the Canadian GPA differs slightly from the territory of a university to another. Although, the commonly known GPA or Grade Point Average in Canada ranges from 0.00, which indicates the F grade letter, up to 4.00, inferring the highest grade, A. Overall, almost every university of Canada uses a combination triangle in the grading system, which starts with the letter grades, persisting with the percentage, and the GPA, but this is not consistent in all Canadian Universities.

The grading system in Manitoba applies another criteria when it comes to the grade point average and it can be seen on the table below.

Letter Grade Description GPA
A+ Exceptional 4.5
A Excellent 4
B+ Very good 3.5
B Good 3
C+ Satisfactory 2.5
C Adequate 2
D Marginal 1
F Failure 0

However, if we rely on the first statement, we can explore different ranges of GPA in Canada, including a GPA out of 9.0. For this reason, we have included this alternative of the grading system, which is also employed in Canadian universities.

Letter Grade Percentage GPA
A+ 90-100% 9
A 80-89% 8
B+ 75-79% 7
B 70-74% 6
B- 65-69% 5
C+ 60-64% 4
C 55-59% 3
C- 50-54% 2
D 40-49% 1
F 0-39% 0

Canada Grading System Compared to UK Grading System

Students are always on the flow of the native grading system but they might flounder when they decide to study in other countries. However, the grading system of Canada is quite similar compared to the United Kingdom’s. In terms of the UK higher education, most of its universities use letters to evaluate the success and the academic achievement of students. Just as the Canadian grading system uses the letter F to indicate a failure, and the letter A to show that someone has exceptional knowledge, so does the UK grading system. On the other side, depending on the undergraduate’s academic achievement, degrees are sorted into these categories:

  • First-class Honours (1st)
  • Second class Honours, upper division (2:1)
  • Second class Honours, lower division (2:2)
  • Third class Honours (3rd)
  • Ordinary Degree (pass)