Academic grading systems very obviously tend to differ across country and region. This is observed in a country such as Australia as well. The Australian system can be quite complicated to new overseas students to understand as there is a strong difference in comparison to other grading systems in the world. Students will often get stressed at first when they find out they have earned a ‘D’, which is actually a high Distinction grade!
In this guide, we will take a look at the grading systems that form the foundation of Australian education. As Australia is a large and diverse country, the grading systems tend to differ across different regions. It would be further advised to check with the specific university or educational institute websites as grading systems can be altered.
General Grading Scale in Australia
Below is a compilation of the basic grading system that is common to most universities (which have their own minor variations). This is applicable to both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. The British and American equivalents are detailed next to the Australian grade as well.
|Australian Grade||Grade Description||GPA Scale||Percentage||UK Division||US Equivalent|
|HD||High Distinction||7.00||83.00-100.00||First Class||A+|
|D||Distinction||6.00-6.99||73.00-82.99||Second Class, Upper Division||A|
|C||Credit||5.00-5.99||63.00-72.99||Second Class, Lower Division||B|
However, Degrees with Honours tend to have a different grading scale. Honours degrees usually include an additional year of study to the standard undergraduate degree.
|H1||First Class Honours||80% and above|
|H2A||Second Upper Class Honours (2:1)||75-79%|
|H2B||Second Lower Class Honours (2:2)||70-74%|
|H3||Third Class Honours||65-69%|
|N||Fail||49% and below|
Australian Capital Territory
The two dominant tertiary institutions of higher education include the Australian National University and the University of Canberra, both of which follow a grading system similar to the one given below.
|Grade||Scale||Grade Description||US Grade|
|A||85.00-100.00||Extremely high standard of achievement||A|
|B||70.00-84.99||High standard of achievement||B|
|C||50-69.99||Acceptable standard of achievement||C|
|D||25.00-49.99||Limited standard of achievement||D||Lowest passing grade|
|E||0.00-24.99||Very limited performance||F|
|S||Status||Unavoidable circumstances prevent student from being awarded grades A-E|
One of the most popular study destinations in Australia, the state of Victoria has around 9 different universities in its region. These include the University of Melbourne, Monash University, La Trobe University, Swinburne University of Technology and Deakin University.
|Grade||Grade Description||US Equivalent|
|E||Lowest grade required to pass||D|
New South Wales
Home to the city of Sydney, the state of New South Wales is an alternatively popular study destination in the country. Universities in this state include the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, Macquarie University and the University of Newcastle.
|Grade||Scale||Grade Description||US Equivalent||Notes|
|P||50.00-64.99||Pass||C||P or PW|
|PC||Pass conceded||Usually granted to allow progression to another course under extenuating circumstances|
Australia’s Northern Territory is home to only one tertiary institution which is Charles Darwin University, which follows a grading system similar to the one below.
|Scale||Scale 2||Grade Description||US Grade|
Universities in Queensland include the University of Queensland, Bond University and Griffith University.
|Scale||Grade Description||US grade|
|4.00-4.99||Pass||C||Lowest passing grade|
The state of South Australia’s tertiary institutions follows a grading system based on the table below. Universities include Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and Flinders University.
|Grade||Scale||Grade Description||US Grade||Notes|
|P1||55.00-64.99||Pass Level 1||B-|
|P2||50.00-54.99||Pass Level 2||C|
|F1||40.00-49.99||Fail Level 1||C-||Lowest passing grade|
|F2||30.00-39.99||Fail Level 2||F|
Universities in the state of Western Australia follow a grading system similar to the table below and include institutions such as Curtin University, Murdoch University, Edith Cowan University and the University of Western Australia.
|Grade||Scale||Grade Description||US Grade||Notes|
|D||50.00-59.99||Limited achievement||D||Lowest grade required to pass|
Use of the Grade Point Average (GPA System) and the ATAR in Australia
Although not very common, GPA scores tend to be used in relation to Law and Medicine courses in Australian universities.
GPA = (Sum of all grade points x Course unit values) / Total number of credit points
ATAR scores or the Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks are also a strong component of the education system. Government-sponsored positions and opportunities are offered to students who surpass a certain ATAR threshold.
The value, as expected, will correspond to academic performance. For example, an ATAR score of 80.00 explains that a student with such a score has performed better than 80% of all other students in that cohort.
I hope that this article on grading system in Australia was helpful. If you are interested, I highly suggest going to Grading System Category!