October 21, 2022

What is the Grading System for Canadian Universities?

The grading system used in Canada is quite intricate. There is no standardised grading system in place throughout Canadian universities. It really is dependent on the college’s location. 

So, it’s best to familiarise oneself with the Canadian grading system before making a move north for university. The universities use a system that combines numerical grades, letter grades, and scaled scores (numerical). It is important to be familiar with their grading system, which uses a range from 4.0 to 9.0, before enrolling in any of their institutions.

The grading systems in British Columbia, Alberta, and Newfoundland are all teacher-centred. An ‘A’ here could mean either 4.0 or 4.3, depending on the instructor’s judgement. Saskatchewan, on the other hand, employs a percentage-based grading system. 

When compared to the traditional system, where the emphasis is placed on the teacher, this one is much simpler. In both British Columbia and Quebec, the lowest possible grade is a C rather than a D. Plus, learning the ins and outs of the grading scale will help you gauge your performance in the course more accurately.

Provincial Grading Scales In Canada

A key feature of Canadian schools is the fact that each province uses its own grading system. Two Canadian provinces’ grading systems have been illustrated for your convenience:

  • Quebec
  • Alberta
  • Saskatchewan Grading System

1. Quebec

To be more specific, many universities in the province of Quebec use the same grading scale, including McGill University, Université de Montréal, Université de Québec, Bishop’s University, Concordia University, Université Laval, Université de Sherbrooke, Sir George Williams University, Loyola College, and Université Laval.

College or university students in Quebec who get 60% or 64% on their exams will be considered successful. Since the above % reflects a “C” grade, we can deduce that this is the minimum required for graduation. A C, however, can be obtained with the cooperation of teachers if the final mark is between 56% and 59%. See the table below to get a better idea of how this province assigns grades.

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

2. Alberta

As with the other provincial grading systems, all of the universities in Alberta’s territory adhere to the same academic grading system, which boils down to what we have been saying at the top of this article: the University of Alberta, MAcEwan University, The King’s University and Concordia of Edmonton, University of Calgary, Ambrose University, Mount Royal University, St. University, Mary’s and Burman University. As a whole, this is how Alberta’s grading system works:

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%

3. Saskatchewan Grading System

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Parkland College, and St. Thomas More College are just a few of the prestigious educational institutions located in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan’s universities and colleges use the grade point average system outlined below.

Grade Percentage
A+        90–100%
A 80–89%
B         70–79%
C          60–69%
D          50–59%
F 0–49%

How To Estimate Your GPA Prior To Applying To A University In Canada

It would help if international students were aware that the Canadian university system uses a different grade point average (GPA) than is often used in the United States. The average GPA is 5, while certain countries may reach 20, depending on the grading system. Regardless, Canadian colleges and universities employ a wide variety of grading schemes and GPA criteria. That’s why we’re here to help and break it all down in detail for you.

Many students fear that they do not have a high enough grade point average to get into a good university. Thus, before selecting to enrol in any Canadian university, you should estimate your GPA and verify that you match that precise need. The GPA Formula  is as follows:

Grading Scale Equivalent: Credit Hours (Multiplying the cumulative GPA by the number of clock hours for each course)

What Does A 4.0 GPA Indicate In Canada?

Since the Canadian GPA varies slightly from one jurisdiction of a university to another, the only way to acquire the answer to your query is to know in which state you intend to study in Canada. However, in Canada, a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) can be anywhere from 0.00 (the equivalent of an F) to 4.00 (the equivalent of an A). Most Canadian universities utilise a grading system that combines letter grades, percentages, and a grade point average (GPA); however, this is not universal across the country.

Manitoba uses a different scale to calculate GPAs, as seen in 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 go off of the first assertion, we can evaluate several scales of grade point average in Canada, such as a GPA of 9.0. This grading system is used in Canadian universities. Therefore we’ve included it here for reference.

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

Canadian Grading System Based On GPA, Credits, & Credit Hours

There are some similarities between the American and Canadian grading systems. There is a set amount of time each week that you must devote to each course you take during a given semester. Credit hours or semester hours are the common terms for these durations of time. Students can put these credits towards fulfilling course requirements and earning a passing grade.

Credit hours for each class are set by the instructors and listed on the schedule. Earning 15 credits every semester is necessary for a bachelor’s degree, and 24 credits per semester are necessary for a master’s degree.


1. Why is the Canadian education system regarded as the best?

The quality of education offered in Canada for international students is widely regarded as among the best in the world. There is a wide range of worldviews represented among institution and university faculty. The professional and technical training it provides prepares students for successful careers.

2. Is 60% a passing grade in Canada?

A grade D will be regarded as a passing grade. A failing grade is below 60%, whereas a passing grade is between 60% and 69%.

3. What grades do Canadian universities look at for international students?

Many Canadian universities have a minimum GPA requirement of 70% for international students. The more successful you are academically, the more options you will have for choosing from Canada’s top universities.

4. What is a good GPA in Canada?

These are Canada’s minimum grade point average requirements:

  • GPA > 3.5: Very good.
  • GPA > 3.0: Good.
  • GPA > 2.5: Satisfactory.
5. What’s the minimum GPA required to get admission in a Canadian University?

B grade or a GPA of 2.67 or higher is often required for international students seeking admission to universities in Canada.