Grading System in France

Grading System in France


What the grade 1.0 is at a university in Germany usually corresponds to 20 points in France. The French grading system therefore works on a different principle than the grading system at German universities.

Since the introduction of the LMD system in France, however, study achievements are also calculated in ECTS points at French universities and related to the student’s workload. This makes it easier for European students to use the grading system in France.

In addition, for students from Europe defined by agooddir, thanks to the Bologna Process, it is easier for them to have their academic achievements or degrees obtained in France recognized internationally – despite different grades.

French notes

In France, grades are awarded on the basis of a 20-point system. According to the conversion table of the French Ministry of Education, 20 points correspond to a grade of 1.0 or “very good”. 0 points are equivalent to a grade of 6 or “unsatisfactory”.

However, it is up to each university to decide which conversion system to use. Thus, depending on the university, there may be differences in the grade conversion.

Although the maximum number of points is generally 20 points, very few students achieve a number of points in the range of 16-20 points. This is considered an exceptionally good performance and explains why there is such a large range for grade 1 in the French grading system (16-20 points).

In France, grades are always given together with the maximum possible number of points, e.g. 12/20 or 14/20. The average grade in France is 11 to 14 points. In order to pass a course, at least 10 points are usually required, which corresponds to a grade of 4. In individual subjects that are considered to be particularly demanding, it may be that only 5 points are required to pass. This is partly the case with the so-called Grandes Écoles.

In France, students receive points for every course. Similar to Germany, courses are usually organized in modules. As a rule, the module average is decisive for successfully completing a module. If this is 10 points or more, the module is passed – even if a student has achieved less than 10 points in individual courses.

The study system in France stipulates that students acquire 60 ECTS points per academic year or 30 ECTS points per semester. A credit point (Point de Crédit) usually corresponds to 24 to 30 working hours.

The grading system in France compared to Germany

The conversion of French grades into the German grading system is generally carried out using the following table.

French point value / grade importance German equivalent (grade)
20 – 16 points Très bien Very good (1.0 – 1.4)
15.9 – 14 points Bees Good (1.6 – 2.5)
13.9 – 12 points Assez bien Satisfactory (2.6-3.5)
11.9 – 10 points Passable Sufficient (3.6 – 4.5)
9.9 – 0 points Insufficiency Failed:
poor (4.6-5.5), unsatisfactory (5.6-6)

Grades with decimal places are generally not awarded in France, but can be achieved by adding up average grades.


The university landscape in France is very diverse and shaped by a large number of different types of university. The history of universities in France goes back a long way. With the University of Paris, today divided into 13 independent universities, France has one of the oldest universities in the world. It opened its doors as early as the beginning of the 13th century.

France now has around 3,500 higher education institutions and 2.5 million students. The number of students in recent years shows that the French Republic is developing into an increasingly attractive study destination for international students. The number of international students has almost doubled since the late 1990s. Today their share is around twelve percent.

Many students from Germany also end up in France to study or study abroad. Along with Austria, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Switzerland and the USA, France is one of the most popular study destinations for German students.

Quality of research and teaching

The French Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research (MENESR) has been shaping education and research policy since 2014, with the support of five ministries.

In addition, there are several evaluation bodies in France in the form of councils, committees and commissions that advise the Ministry of Education. Particularly noteworthy is the High Evaluation Council, HCERES (Haut conseil d’évaluation de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur), which has existed since 2014.

The HCERES primarily evaluates the evaluation procedures of other institutions and thus ensures their quality. It appraises universities and research institutions, research groups and courses of study. He also checks whether the national requirements are complied with in the degree programs to be accredited and whether the students are involved in the evaluation.

Grading System in France

Internationalization at French universities

France’s declared aim is to improve the international visibility and attractiveness of its universities. In the Law for Universities and Research (Loi ESR) of 2013 it was therefore decided to merge French universities into several large units. The idea behind this is that larger, more competitive institutions achieve better results in international rankings. This in turn is intended to attract more highly qualified students and academics from abroad to French universities.

There are now 25 such associations, most of them so-called Communautés d’universités. At the COMUES not only universities and participate Grandes Ecoles, but also research institutes and educational institutions such as museums.

As part of France’s first National Higher Education Strategy, published in 2015, several recommendations for the Europeanization and internationalization of the French higher education system were formulated:

  • Develop international degrees
  • Increase the mobility of students and academics and provide better support for visiting academics
  • Improve foreign language skills and intercultural skills of the students
  • Promote international cooperation more and organize it better.

France’s internationalization activities also include a large number of bilateral and multilateral programs as well as numerous collaborations in the university and science sectors. All of this illustrates the extensive international network of French universities and research institutions.