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Grading System in Australia

Grading systems vary across the world. International students opting for higher studies in this country may find the Australian grading system complex to understand. While each university follows its own grading process, here is a summary of the common Australian grading system:

Two grading systems are used for Bachelor Degree programs:

  1. Grading for individual units or subjects
  2. Classifications for Honours Degrees

For subject grades each institution uses variations of several main types of subject grades:

descriptive grades – for example, High Distinction, Distinction, Credit, Pass
letter grades – for example, A-E
numeric grades – for example, 7-1, where 7 is the highest mark.

Some institutions use the conditional or conceded pass, but normally only 1 or 2 such subject passes would count towards graduation. Failed subjects must be repeated or an equivalent alternative taken in its place in order to complete a program. Subject grades will often have a notional percentage mark. The grading system is usually indicated on the transcript. A typical example is as follows:

Descriptive gradePercentage – example 1Percentage – example 2
High Distinction85%-100%80%-100%

Honours Bachelor Degrees are classified. Some institutions may use Honours classifications for individual subjects, particularly in an Honours course. Classifications can be expressed in a number of ways:

Descriptive classificationDivision or classLetter descriptors
First Class HI* or
Second Class (Upper Division)Second Class Division AHIIA or HII/i
Second Class (Lower Division)Second Class Division BHIIB or HII/ii
Second Class Division Two
Third Class HIII

HI – Honours First Class

If the level of academic achievement is insufficient for Honours, an Honours Degree may be awarded in the Pass Class. Many universities vary the above classifications for Honours awarded on merit in professional degrees. Third Class Honours are rarely awarded and Second Class Honours may not be differentiated.

Postgraduate Grading Systems

The majority of postgraduate awards are awarded unclassified, although exceptions may be made with Master Degrees by research. Some institutions award Master Degrees ‘with Honours’ (unclassified).


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