If you have semester hours and quarter hours:
- If some of your credits are semester hours and some are quarter hours, you must convert all relevant grades to either semester hours or to quarter hours. We recommend that you pick the transcript(s) with the least amount of hours and convert it to the other. For example, if your transcript with the least amount of hours is in quarter hours, convert this transcript to semester hours.
- To convert semester hours to quarter hours, multiply each semester hour by 1.5.
- To convert quarter hours to semester hours, multiply each quarter hour by 0.67.
- If numerical grades or equivalents are provided on your transcript, convert them by multiplying by the same factors.
If you failed courses:
- If you failed a freshman- or sophomore- level course and passed it at a later date, include the grade for the passed class only. If you failed and never repeated the class, the failed course must be included when calculating your grade average.
- If you failed a junior- or senior- level course and repeated the course with a passing grade, include both the passing and failing grade in your grade average calculation.
Grade Point Average
You will be entering up to three of the following grade point averages:
- Undergraduate Average (to be completed by everyone)
- Junior/Senior Average (calculate this average only if your degree is from a four-year or moredegree program)
- Graduate Average
- If all your undergraduate course work is from one institution and your transcript or educational documents show a grade average, enter the average in the appropriate Undergraduate Average area of the application form.
- If you attended more than one institution for your undergraduate degree, calculate your Undergraduate Average using course work from all attended institutions.
- If you have more than one undergraduate degree, include course work from all bachelor's degrees to calculate your Undergraduate Average.
- If your degree is from a U.S. institution, use the last 60 semester hours or last 90 quarter hours prior to receiving your bachelor's degree to calculate your Junior/Senior Average. If you attended more than one institution, include course work from all institutions.
- If you have more than one U.S. bachelor's degree, use the credit hours from your first degree only to calculate your Junior/Senior Average.
- If your degree is not from an institution in the U.S., Use the last two years of undergraduate course work to compute your Junior/Senior Average.
Calculate this average using all graduate-level course work taken since receiving your bachelor's degree. U.S. junior or community college course work is not considered graduate level work and should not be included.
Grading Scale Calculations
4.00 scale that uses credit hours
Multiply each grade by the number of credit hours for that course. Total the credit hours and grade points.
A = 4
B = 3
A = 4
C = 2
Divide the total grade points by the total credit hours:
46 divided by 14 = 3.29 GPA
4.00 scale that does not use credit hours
List the grade for each course. Total the grade points.
A = 4
B = 3
A = 4
C = 2
Count the number of courses. In this example, the number of courses is 4. Divide the total grade points by the number of courses. In this example, 13 divided by 4 = 3.25 GPA.
Letter Grades with No Numeric Equivalents Given by Institution
Most institutions provide numeric equivalents to convert letter grades to a numeric value. Please refer to your institution's documents to determine the appropriate equivalents when calculating your grade average.
If your institution does not provide numeric equivalents, please use the following conversion:
- A = 4.0
- B = 3.0
- C = 2.0
- D = 1.0
- F = 0
After converting your letter grades to their numeric equivalents, follow the directions above to calculate your grade average.
If you’re preparing to become an international student and pursue a degree in America, it’s important you figure out how credits are awarded at American universities as well as how European credits are converted to university standards in the States.
So, here are the basic things you should learn about credits and grading system used in American colleges and universities.
Why should I care about American academic credits?
- USA credits are different in comparison to credit systems used in Europe, or other parts of the world;
- Credits determine if you need to take a preparation programme to meet your Bachelor's or Master's degree;
- Credits influence your GPA;
- Especially in the U.S., the number of academic credits a programme has may determine tuition fees for the degree.
6 top answers about academic credits in the U.S.
1. What is a contact hour?
A contact hour includes any lecture or lab time when the professor is teaching the student, and they usually equal 50 minutes in real time.2. What's the difference between contact hours and credit hours?
In universities and colleges in the United States, students usually receive credit hours based on the number of "contact hours" they spend studying per week in class.
Compare 28,500 Master programmes in the U.S.3. What is a semester credit hour?
A semester credit hour (SCH) is the amount of credit a student earns for successful completion of one contact hour and two preparation hours per week for a semester. One semester credit hour equals 15-16 contact hours per semester, regardless of the duration of the course.
Basically, for a one semester credit hour course, you should invest one contact hour in class and two additional preparation hours each week that take place out-of-class. These can represent homework, fieldwork or practical courses.4. How many credits does a course have?
Most colleges and universities award 3 Semester Credit Hours (SCH) (45-48 contact hours) for the successful completion of a study course. The number of credits for lectures, independent project work, laboratory time and internships vary depending on specific institution requirements.5. What is the relationship between degree courses and credit hours?
A course is measured in the number of credit hours needed to complete it. For an undergraduate degree, basic courses may have 1 credit or 2 credits. In a Master’s degree, including for MBAs, most courses are either 3 or 4 credits.
A standard full-time study load is usually 30 credit hours per year. Typically, in order to graduate with a degree, universities expect students to complete:
- 120-130 credit hours for a Bachelor’s degree
- 30-64 credit hours for a Master's degree
Some universities use Semester Credit Hours to set tuition fees and scholarships for prospective students. During a semester, an international student has to take between 9 and 12 credit hours, depending on each college or university.6. What are Quarter Credits?
Some universities in the United States use Quarter Calendar Credit Hours, where, the academic year is divided into three terms. In this case, a Bachelor’s degree usually requires a minimum of 180 quarter hours to complete instead of 120.
Semester credit hours and GPA
In the U.S., credits are also used to determine a student’s Grade Point Average (GPA) for a semester or academic year. In some cases, GPA scores are required for admission to advanced study programmes in the U.S. (most typically for MBA programmes). GPA scores range from 0.0 to 4.0. A score of 4.0 is the equivalent of an A average, while 0.0 represents an F score. Each American Bachelor’s and Master’s programme specifies their own minimum GPA requirement for graduation.
The semester GPA of a student is calculated based on the final marks received for each course and the credit hours awarded by the programme for that semester. The final overall GPA is the average of all courses completed during the years of study.
Find out why the GPA is so important for your studies abroad.
How to convert American credits to European credits
ECTS is the most commonly used credit system in Europe. The major difference between the European Credit System ECTS and the U.S. College Credit System is that the first is based on student workload and the second on contact hours.
The student workload represents the number of hours needed to follow and prepare for a class, taking examinations, and preparing for these examinations.
The ECTS is oriented towards the time required for a student to meet the intended study outcomes, while the U.S. system is more oriented towards the time a faculty member needs to teach.
Here’s a comparison between the grading system in the Netherlands and the one used in the U.S.
Example of converting ECTS to Semester Credit Hours
For a college or university in the U.S.:
1.67 ECTS = 1.00 US College Credit Hour
Conversion standards may vary between higher education institutions in the U.S.
Here’s an online calculator that can help you convert ECTS into GPA.
View and compare 28,500 Master programmes in the U.S.
Preparation courses offer an easier path to an American university
In some cases, due to the entry requirements of some universities from the U.S., a credit transfer may not be possible, so you won’t be eligible for admission. You might also be in the situation where you don’t meet the required level of English proficiency or haven’t taken the official TOEFL exam.
Advanced English knowledge is a must if you want to be a good candidate for an American university. So you still have a chance if you apply to a pathway programme or preparation course. Either focused on English language or a certain field of study, pathway programmes will help you acquire the necessary skills and education you need to get admitted to your chosen university in the USA.
Get more details about preparation courses and find the right one for you.