Grade conversion and ECTS

Ghent University grading system

Ghent University uses a grading system of 0-20, with intervals of 1 point. No half points are used. 10 to 20 are the passing marks, 0 to 9 are failing marks. Grades higher than 18 out of 20 are rather exceptional.

Grade conversion

Grade conversion in ECTS is the translation of a grade obtained abroad (host grade) to the local grade scale of the student (home grade). ECTS grade conversion is mainly done in the context of student mobility such as in Erasmus+. It is often a problematic and subjective process. It is always the responsibility of the home university to transfer grades obtained abroad to the final home grades mentioned on the home Transcript of Records (ToR) In 2009 a system of grade conversion based on grade distribution tables was introduced in the ECTS Users’ Guide and this was made even more explicit in the 2015 ECTS Users’ Guide.

For Ghent University, the average grade distribution is as follows (for academic years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019):

Ghent University grade distribution

In the first line the percentage of students receiving each grade is given, in the second line the accumulated percentage e.g. with 18 you belong to the top 4,66% of students in a bachelor programme.


From 2012-2015 UGent was the coordinator of the Egracons project in which an automatic conversion tool was worked out that makes conversion easy provided both the host university and the home university provide the grading tables for each degree. This system follows the grade conversion guidelines in the ECTS Users’ Guide.

The condition for conversion to work, however, is that the home university (in the case of incoming exchange students) or the host university (in the case of outgoing UGent exchange students) provide their grading tables. Since the tool has only been operational since the end of 2015, not all partner institutions have provided their grading tables yet. On the Egracons website, a full description is given on how to make these grading tables and in which format.

Needless to say all the grading tables of UGent, both for Masters and Bachelors have been uploaded to the tool and this is now the preferential way of conversion. The grading tables are updated annually and provide an aggregate of 3 years.

Percentile on transcript of records (ToR)

On the UGent transcript of records the ECTS percentile is displayed per ‘individual educational component’ (= course unit to which credits are awarded). The ECTS percentile provides insight into how the students performs compared to other students in that study field.

This is indicated as follows: ECTS percentile: A(B)C

  • A = percentage of students obtaining grades strictly lower than your grade
  • B = percentage of students obtaining exactly your grade
  • C = percentage of students obtaining grades strictly higher than your grade

nra = no records available (this means there were not enough marks to make the result statistically valid)

Example: 55(10)35

Explanation: 55% obtained a lower grade, 10% of the students in this study field obtained the same grade, and 35% obtained a higher mark. This means that 45% of the students obtained a grade equal to or higher than the student and this student belongs to the top 45%. The lower the percentage on the right, the better the position in the reference group.

Provided the grade distribution of the partner university is available, this information can be used to identify the relevant accumulated percentage range and choose the corresponding grade.

Interpretation of grades

To interpret the grades obtained for the different courses a student took, we refer to the ECTS percentile information on the transcript of records (see explanation above). Often students ask to convert the grades they obtained in a degree to those of another institution abroad, e.g. when a student with a Bachelor degree wants to do a Master study programme abroad and his/her grades need to be interpreted. UGent does not provide such conversion, because the only reliable method to convert grades is based on grade distributions from both institutions/organisations and in most cases UGent does not have these grade distributions of other institutions (see grade conversion).

At this moment UGent does not provide GPA scores. Conversion of grades obtained at Ghent University to GPA scores is currently under discussion at the Flemish Interuniversity Council, that serves as a platform to facilitate cooperation between the Flemish universities, and interacts with the Flemish government in all matters regarding higher education policy. Any institution can, however, interpret UGent grades by looking at the ECTS percentiles on the Transcript of Records.