UK To Canada Grade Conversion

Last Updated on May 13, 2024 by Team College Learners

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.

The British grading system and the Canadian grading system differ in terms of the scale used to assess students’ academic performance. In the UK, letter grades ranging from A* to U are commonly used for GCSEs and A-levels, with grading based on final exams and coursework. In Canada, provinces typically use letter grades like A, B, and C, or percentage marks to evaluate student achievement.

Canadian universities do not have consistent grading schemes, which makes a comparison to the university grading systems in the UK even more difficult. In Canada, universities use percentages (for instance, 65% or 78%), as well as letter grades (such as C or B+) and GPAs. These GPAs can be on scales anywhere between 4.0 and 13.0. So, even within your own country, it can sometimes be difficult to transfer and translate academic results.

UK To Canada Grade Conversion scale

The grading scale that is used in UK universities is different to that which is used in Canada. Canadian students are given an official document that details these differences to send with applications for further study or to employers.

UK percentageUK classificationCanadian percentageCanadian classification
70% First class80%A
60% Upper second class (2:1)70%B
50% Lower second class (2:2)60%C
40% Third50%D
39% and under Fail49% and underFail

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%

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

You want to make sure you pass the IELTS test with a good score? Take a course. We’re offering you a 20% reduction.Start preparing for IELTS today!

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.

Find Masters in Europe

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%

University Grading In The UK Compared To Canada

One of the most common concerns Canadian students have about studying in the UK is the grading scheme, which varies considerably from the Canadian system. Indeed, navigating university grading in the UK can be challenging. But don’t despair! Once you understand the basics, entry requirements and the grades you receive while a student make much more sense.

Canadian universities do not have consistent grading schemes, which makes a comparison to the university grading systems in the UK even more difficult. In Canada, universities use percentages (for instance, 65% or 78%), as well as letter grades (such as C or B+) and GPAs. These GPAs can be on scales anywhere between 4.0 and 13.0. So, even within your own country, it can sometimes be difficult to transfer and translate academic results.

List of Grading Schemes in Canadian Universities


Percentage System


  • 65%

  • 78%



Letter Grades System


  • C

  • B+



GPA Scales


GPA ScaleRange
4.00-4
13.00-13


If you are applying for an undergraduate program in the UK right out of high school, you will need to understand how UK students are assessed in high school; if you are applying for a graduate level program, you need to understand how undergraduate degrees are classified in the UK.

Students applying to LLB programs in the UK will need to provide both high school and university transcripts (if they already hold a Canadian undergraduate degree), and therefore may need to understand both systems.

Undergraduate entry requirements

When applying to a UK university, you might see entry requirements described as “ABB” or “Upper Second”. These terms — or similar ones — describe the level of results a student receives for A-Levels, which are a series of qualifying tests in specific subject areas at the secondary (high school) level. In the UK, students typically take A Levels in three major areas, hence the three letter sequence.

For Canadian students, the subject areas under consideration will vary depending on the program, but the grades that will be reviewed are those from the last year of secondary school (typically Grade 12 U or M courses).

  • An “AAA” ranking means that a student scored within the A-range for all three exams. In the Canadian system, this equates to results between 80-100% area.
  • An “AAB” ranking would equate to mixed results, so approximately 73-79%). 
  • An “ABB” is slightly below that, with a spread of approximately 63% or 64% to 72% (mid- or high C to a low B).

Postgraduate degree language

When you graduate from a UK undergraduate program, your degree will be given a “class” based on your results. Typically, these classes are:

  • “First,” which represents results in the 80%+ area;
  • “Upper Second,” which represents results from the mid- to high 70s;
  • “Lower Second,” referring to the mid-60s to the low 70s;
  • “Ordinary Pass,” which encompasses everything else considered a passing grade; and
  • “Fail,” which falls under the 50% pass threshold.

How your grades convert into the UK system will depend on the grading scheme from which they arise. If, for instance, you are in a school with a 4.0 grade scale, an Upper Second degree would encompass GPAs between 3.00 and 3.33. If you were on a 12.0 grade scale, then you would fall into the 8.0-9.0 range for this degree class.

Receiving Grades: Expect to be shocked!

Many of the graduate programs in Britain use a sliding scale based on 85 points rather than 100 for percentages, with 70 being the cut-off point for distinction (with the distinction being akin to an honours or “A” in Canada). So, remember: if you get a 68, don’t panic! That’s actually a solid grade. If you get a 72, even better! It might feel odd at first to see numbers we associate with lower grades, but you’ll get used to it.

The best thing you can do to be sure of how your grades convert and how they fit within the requirements for your application is to consult with an Across the Pond Personal Advisor; our team is fully trained in working with these conversions and do so on a daily basis!

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

Differences between studying in the UK and Canada

It is important to be aware of a number of differences between studying in the UK and studying in Canada. Some of these differences include:

Entry

In the UK, students do not require a prior degree before undertaking a law degree and can apply to an undergraduate law degree programme immediately after high school.

Canadian students who have met our entry requirements for the high school diploma can apply to study our three-year Law LLB programme immediately after high school. Students who already have an undergraduate degree can apply for the fast-track two-year Law (JD Pathway) LLB programme.

Applying

In the UK, applicants submit one online application to a central service (UCAS) and the application is then dispatched to the university (or universities) that the applicant selects. Applicants can apply to up to five universities. Applications are usually considered as soon as they arrive, and are not stored and assessed at a panel.

Grading scale

The grading scale that is used in UK universities is different to that which is used in Canada. Canadian students are given an official document that details these differences to send with applications for further study or to employers.

UK percentageUK classificationCanadian percentageCanadian classification
70% First class80%A
60% Upper second class (2:1)70%B
50% Lower second class (2:2)60%C
40% Third50%D
39% and under Fail49% and underFail

Transfers

In the UK, students tend to start and complete their degree at the same university and do not transfer between institutions. Additionally, it is often not possible to transfer into the second year of a degree programme or to use Canadian university credits towards your UK law degree.

Definitions: Courses

In Canada, the series of teaching sessions relating to a particular topic is called a ‘course’, whereas in the UK, ‘course’ will refer to the complete degree programme as a whole. In the UK, the series of teaching sessions relating to a particular topic is referred to as a ‘module’.

  • For more definitions of relevant British words and phrases, see our glossary.

Structure of university degree programmes

In Canada, a student’s degree programme may be made up of a major as well as a number of classes in different subject areas to earn a required number of credits per semester. 

At Leicester Law School, first-year students follow a set curriculum of purely law modules. This is also the case in the second year for students on the two-year Law (Graduate Entry) LLB programme. For those students on the three-year Law LLB programme, there are a number of core and option modules that students will study, all of which are law modules. This is the case at many other UK universities too.

Term dates

In the UK, semester dates run in a similar format to this:

  • Late September to mid-December – teaching
  • Mid-December to mid-January – Christmas vacation
  • Mid-January to the end of January – examination period
  • End of January to the end of March – teaching
  • End of March to early May – Easter vacation
  • Early May to mid-May – teaching
  • Mid-May to the end of June – examination period

For exact dates for the University of Leicester, see our term dates.

In order to comply with University and UK Border Agency visa regulations, students must be in Leicester during all teaching and examination periods.

Registration and module (‘course’) selection

Whereas in Canada registration and module (‘course’) selection occurs during the summer, in the UK this tends to occur during the last two weeks of September, and is done online. For law degree programmes, students are not required to select modules, as all first-year modules are compulsory. Information regarding registration is sent out in late August as part of a joining pack.

Reading lists and timetable

In the first year, reading lists and timetables are generally not provided until the first week of term.

The qualification

A law degree from a UK university is not the same as a law degree from Canada. 

Similar Posts