Convert German GPA To US GPA

Last Updated on August 29, 2023

Many students from Germany want to go to the US for further education. If this is you, you may need to convert your GPA from a German grade point average system to a 4.0 scale. This article will give you information on how to do that, as well as background knowledge on why it can be tricky to convert a GPA from a European grading system.

The best possible Grade Point Average(GPA) in the United states is a 4.0. On the other hand, the worst passing grade in Germany is a 4.0. We are quite sure you now understand the absolute need for accurately converting your grade. That said,

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american gpa to german gpa calculator

Do you have a dream university list on your mind?

Do you know what it takes to get admits from these universities?

American to German Grade Conversion – Welcome to Germerica

No, I don’t mean the broad understanding, I mean specifically – what is the required GRE score, what is the minimum GPA, how long should your SOP be?

Understanding your dream university’s requirements accurately helps you clinch an admit by enabling you to make more informed & timely decisions.

Broadly speaking, the parameters upon which the universities assess your application are :

  1. Your academics (CGPA/GPA, Projects etc)
  2. Your Scores (GRE/GMAT/TOEFL/IELTS etc.)
  3. Practical Exposure/ Professional Experience and Co-curricular
  4. Statement of Purpose and LoRs

While these aren’t the only factors to consider, it’s a good starting point.

If you wish to understand where you stand in the race for your MS, you can get your complete profile evaluated by admissions experts now.

German 2.7 GPA conversion into US GPA -

How Important Is Your CGPA In Getting A Top University Admit?

Your academic performance tells the university a lot about your potential as a prospective student there. Apart from qualitative aspects of your academic profile such as your projects and internships, they will look at your marks to assess your capabilities in handling their course-load and adapting to their academic regime.

In India, we calculate CGPA on a ten point scale, 10 being the maximum attainable CGPA. Some universities also use a system of percentages where students are scored out of 100.

german grading system for non eu students

Similarly, various universities abroad also have their own marking system to evaluate the incoming international applications.

Let’s look at some of the major study destinations one-by-one.

How to Convert Percentage to GPA

How Do US Universities Calculate Your CGPA?

Universities in the US assess your scholastic abilities in terms of GPA.

However, there is no official standardized or uniform grading system there and it is left to the individual university or other regulatory bodies to choose and follow a set method of evaluating their applicants.

Commonly, a four-point grading system is followed by universities. This means that a student is graded on a scale of 0 to 4, with 4 being the maximum attainable CGPA.

However, some universities have been known to follow a nine or ten-point grading system as well, e.g: Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan, till 2013, after which they also switched to the more widely used four-point system.

So, do you really have to convert your CGPA?

The University of Columbia is an exception as it asks you to convert your score into the four-point scale.

There are also a set of universities that require you to get a third-party evaluation of your transcripts (official statement of your marks) from agencies such as WES (World Education Services), who will report your CGPA/GPA for you, after converting it into the University’s prescribed form, for a fee.

For example,

WES also provides a credible free online evaluation of your scores, which you can use to plan your options.

NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) is an association with several member organizations and agencies that provide such services, these include International Education Research Foundation Inc. (IERF) and Educational Credential Evaluators Inc among several others.

Universities often suggest one or the other Third-Party with whom they are affiliated for such evaluations.

So, third-party evaluation is definitely one credible way to convert your CGPA into the scale accepted by the university.

Fall 2020: How to convert your CGPA to GPA for USA, Germany & Canada |  GREedge Blog

American to German Grade Conversion

The best possible GPA in the U.S. is a 4.0. The worst passing grade in Germany is a 4.0. You can see why accurately converting your grade when applying to schools in a different country is important.

Unfortunately, converting grades between different countries is confusing. I first encountered this confusion when I was applying to Master’s programs in Germany, and I wanted to make sure my American GPA was high enough for the programs to which I was applying.

Note: German grades are on a scale of 1.0 (best possible grade) to 4.0 (lowest passing grade). 5.0 is a failing grade. Most Master’s programs in Germany require a GPA of 2.5, although this varies by program.

One of the first resources I came across in my research was the Wikipedia article on “Academic Grading in Germany.” There you will find a very confusing chart and a quick description of the Modified Bavarian Formula, but not much else. So, I will try my best to make this all a little bit easier to understand.

In general, the Modified Bavarian Formula is the standard method for converting foreign grades from any country into the German system. Here is what this formula looks like:

Modified Bavarian Formula

Nmax = highest possible grade in your home country’s grading system
Nmin = lowest possible passing grade in your home country’s grading system
Nd = the grade you want to convert

When using the Modified Bavarian Formula to convert American grades, it would (typically) look like this (using 3.5 as the GPA to be converted):

Nmax = 4.0
Nmin = 2.0
Nd = 3.5

Modified Bavarian Formula for 3.5 GPA

Do the math, and you will find out that an American 3.5 converts to a German 1.75.

For quick reference, I created the following chart using the Modified Bavarian Formula (Nmax=4.0; Nmin=2.0; note that some American universities do grade differently). This will give you a rough idea of what your American GPA or American letter grade would convert to in the German system:

german grade conversion

When applying for a degree at a German university it is almost one hundred percent sure that you’re going to submit your academic scores taken during previous education. In that case, your grades will be compared to the German grading system and then after it will be assessed if you meet specific entry requirements.

Imagine another uncomfortable situation. You sit an exam in a particular subject and you get a 1.5 score. So you’re left wondering how well you did and did you pass it at all?

These are only two main reasons why it is so important to properly understand the German grading system. You would not like to see your excitement about studying in Germany diminish right away when you’re told that your grades leave much to desire.

To avoid any of these embarrassing results, we’re going to help you to understand the German grading system in order for you to know what to aim for in terms of your grades.

Grading System in German Universities

Universities in Germany apply a 1 to 6 (or 5) point grading system to assess their students’ academic performance. 1 and 6 signify both extreme ends of your achievement. If you get 1 on your exam it means you successfully completed between 90 and 100% of your task. On the other hand, if you got 6 it means your performance has not satisfied the least minimum required to pass.

Given below are marks in the German grading system and their translation in terms of your academic achievement

1.0  –  Excellent. You have successfully completed between 90 and 100% of the material required in the exam.

2.0  –  Overall very good. However, you need to work more in specific study areas.

3.0  –  Good. Your achievement is satisfying, but there is room for improvement.

4.0  –  Adequate.

5.0  –  Sufficient to pass the exam, but very poor otherwise.

6.0  –  Insufficient. You have shown insufficient knowledge to pass the exam you sat.

Note that there are some universities which use a 5 point grading scale to mark their students’ academic achievement. If that is the case with your chosen university in Germany, here’s what every grade means:

1 to 1.5 – Very good. You have successfully completed a major part of your exam, but there are some minor areas you must improve.

1.6 to 2.5 – Good. You have shown decent academic performance by correctly completing a considerable proportion of your exam.

2.6 to 3.5 – Satisfactory. Your performance was a bit more than sufficient and you need to work in several areas.

3.6 to 4.0 – Sufficient. You have reached the minimum score to pass the exam, but your performance leaves much to desire.

4.1 to 5 – Fail. Your performance lies behind the minimum score.

German grades compared to British and American grades

In order to be given a place at a German university your grades you have taken during previous education will play a significant role. Since the German grading system might be quite different from the grading system universities in your home country apply, your grades must be converted to the German grading system first. Only then the admission board at your favorite university in Germany can decide if you meet specific entry requirements set in place.

At this point, you must be aware of one important thing. The setting of grading system is a responsibility of individual federal states in Germany, therefore you might encounter some differences. On some occasions, the grading system may also change according to the university of your choice. It is also common for some universities to apply Provided that, we highly recommend you reach your university well on time to get genuine information over this issue.

To give you a general idea as per what your current grades translate into the German grading system, we provide a handy conversion table. Taken into account the fact that the US and the UK grading systems are more popular, we’ve put the German grading system against their American and British equivalent.

German GradeGrade DefinitionUS grade
1 -1.5Sehr Gut (Very Good)A
1.6 – 2.5Gut (Good)A/B
2.6 – 3.5Befriedigend (Satisfying)C
3.6 – 4.9Ausreichend (Sufficient)F
5.0 – 6.0Nicht ausreichend (Insufficient)

As you can see there’s no equivalent of the “D” in the US grading system in the German grading system. In general, students with a mark of 3.0 or above in German universities are considered to be A or B students in the American grading system, whereas anything between 4.1 and 4.9 is a good academic standing.

What is the ECTS Grade?

The acronym ECTS stands for European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. ECTS is a common European grading framework designed on the purpose of facilitating the academic exchange among EU countries.

The number of EU students who choose to study abroad elsewhere in the continent is high, and the interpretation of the national grading system often times changes depending on the university.  Thus, the need for such a mutual grading system has been inevitable.

ECTS enables higher education institutions throughout EU countries to easily assess and compare the academic scores of their EU students. That being said, keep in mind that ECTS is not developed to replace the corresponding grades at the German university you want to enroll, but to further ease the assessment of your actual academic credits.

Therefore,  ECTSs are optional and universities are allowed to use them in full compliance with their own grading policies. Usually, when applied, ECTS grades are given in a particular column in your grade transcript alongside national grades.

The table below shows grades in German higher education and their equivalents in the ECTS system.

German GradeGrade DefinitionECTS grade
1 – 1.5Sehr Gut (Very Good)A
1.6 – 2.5Gut (Good)B
2.6 – 3.5Befriedigend (Satisfying)C
3.6 – 4.9Ausreichend (Sufficient)D
5.0 – 6.0Nicht ausreichend (Insufficient)E

How to Convert Your Grades Into The German Grading System?

There are different grades’ conversion formulas applied from German universities. For that we highly recommend you contact your university in person to check which method they use. One of the most commonly applied is the so-known “Modified Bavarian formula”.

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