The Ultimate Guide to University Grading Systems in Australia | Study Abroad 2023

Tuesday 19 September 2023
Get an in-depth understanding of the diverse university grading systems in Australia across different states and institutions. From GPA calculations to understanding the ATAR scores, we've got you covered in this comprehensive guide. Ideal for both future students and educational counselors.
The Ultimate Guide to University Grading Systems in Australia | Study Abroad 2023

Complete Guide to the University Grading System in Australia

Australia's academic grading system is quite distinct and varies considerably compared to other countries. It exhibits diversity not just on a national level but also within its states and territories. In this detailed guide, we dissect the grading system in Australian universities to help international students navigate this aspect of studying in Australia.

A Comprehensive Overview

As an international student in Australia, understanding the grading system is pivotal to not only excel in your course but also plan for your future studies in the region. It is essential to note that the grading system is not uniform across the country; each state has its own grading system that is influenced by various factors including the historical, cultural, and educational landscape.

General Grading Scale for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Courses

At the majority of universities, the grading scale generally looks something like this:

  • High Distinction (HD): 85-100%, GPA: A+
  • Distinction (D): 75-84%, GPA: A
  • Credit (C): 65-74%, GPA: B
  • Pass (P): 50-64%, GPA: C
  • Fail (F): below 49%, GPA: F

Honours Degree Grading Scale

Honours degrees come with their own grading scale, which distinguishes levels of honours:

  • First Class Honours (H1): 80-100%
  • Second Class Honours (H2A): 75-79%
  • Second Class Honours (H2B): 70-74%
  • Third Class Honours (H3): 65-69%
  • Pass (P): 50-64%
  • Fail (N): below 49% 

Grading for Vocational and Trade Courses

Vocational courses employ a binary system, which is either Competent/Satisfactory (100%) or Not Yet Competent/Not Satisfactory (0%).

Diving Deep into State-wise University Grading Systems

To truly grasp the nuances of the Australian grading system, it is important to delve into the grading scales employed by universities in various states and territories.

Australian Capital Territory

Home to renowned universities such as the University of Canberra and Australian National University, this territory employs the following grading scale:

  • A: Extremely High Standard of Achievement (85-100%)
  • B: High Standard of Achievement (70-84%)
  • C: Acceptable Standard of Achievement (50-69%)
  • D: Limited Standard of Achievement (25-49%)
  • E: Very Limited Performance (0-24%)

New South Wales

This east coast state, which houses the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney, follows this grading scale:

  • A: High Distinction (85-100%)
  • B: Distinction (70-84%)
  • C: Credit (50-69%)
  • D: Pass (25-49%)
  • E: Fail (0-24%)

For an exhaustive look into the grading systems in other states like Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria, refer to the detailed tables at the start.

Grading in Primary, Secondary, and Senior Secondary Schools

The school education system in Australia is divided into primary, secondary, and senior secondary levels, each having its unique grading system, varying from state to state.

The general consensus is:

  • A: Excellent (85% and above)
  • B: Good (70% to 84%)
  • C: Satisfactory (51% to 69%)
  • D: Limited (31% to 50%)
  • E: Very Low (26% to 30%)
  • F: Fail (Below 25%)

Before deciding on your next course, research is vital. Ensure to consult the specific university websites for the most current information.

Understanding the GPA and ATAR in Australia

While GPA scores are less prevalent in Australia, they hold significant value in courses such as law and medicine. The calculation involves a formula:

GPA = (Grade total x Credit points)/ Number of units studied

The ATAR, or Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, is another critical metric in the Australian education system, essentially dictating university admissions.

An ATAR score of 95 indicates you performed better than 95% of your peers in the same stream, opening up various course opportunities across institutions for students that have completed Year 12This ATAR requirement also determines equivalent entry score requirements from other countries with alternative Senior High School curriculum.

FAQ About the Australian Academic Grading System

How is a Good GPA Determined in Australia?

Top scores are generally considered to be 6 and 7. Having a GPA of 6 denotes a distinction in the overall course, while a GPA of 7 signifies the highest possible achievement.

Is a 5.5 GPA Considered Good?

Yes, a 5.5 GPA is deemed to be good and falls in the higher range compared to the average GPA in the country.

What Does a 75 Represent?

A score ranging between 70 to 84% often translates to a distinction, considered a good GPA score.

Is 60 Percent a Pass?

Yes, 60 percent generally means a pass, indicating an average performance in the course.


Navigating the university grading system in Australia as an international student can initially seem like a daunting task given its complexity and variation across states and territories.

However, with a comprehensive understanding of the grading scales and systems, you can steer your academic journey in the right direction.

If this guide has been helpful and you are looking to further your understanding, feel free to reach out to us for assistance on studying in Australia, visas, scholarships, and more.


This article is a guide offering insights into the intricate grading system in Australia. It is important to keep abreast of the latest updates

from university websites to align your academic pursuits accordingly. Do reach out to our counsellors for personalized

guidance and support in choosing your next course and university in Australia.


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