GPA Calculation

The Faculty of Graduate Studies requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 for normal admission. In special circumstances, a department may request special consideration in writing explaining why the student might be deemed admissible despite the GPA. To do so, please complete and submit the Exceptional Admission Form [PDF - 50kb]

How to Calculate an Admission GPA

Admission GPAs are typically calculated on the last 60 credit hours of study as follows:

Master's Program

The admission GPA for a master's program is based on the last 60 credit hours of an undergraduate degree

  • Use the most recent undergraduate transcript
  • Use the most recent 60 credit hours (roughly equivalent to the last two years of study)
  • Classes completed in other Master's degrees are not included in the admission GPA for a new Master's degree

Doctoral Program

The admission GPA for a doctoral program is based on a maximum of 30 credit hours from a master’s degree, with the remaining 30 credit hours (or more) from the most recent bachelor’s degree, for a total of 60 credit hours

  • Use the most recent Master's transcript (up to 30 credit hours), plus the most recent undergraduate transcript, to a total (between both) of 60 credit hours
  • If there is no Master's degree, use the most recent undergraduate transcript

1. Determine the "weight" of each course

  • Weights can usually be found on the back of a student's transcript
  • Transcript weights are typically described as either: 0.5 (half-credit) vs 1.0 (full-credit), 2.0 (half-credit) vs 4.0 (full-credit), or 3.0 (half-credit) vs 6.0 (full-credit)

2. Identify the most recent 60 credit hours

  • Once weights are determined, identify the student's most recent 60 credit hours by counting back from the present
  • Note: If you don't require all the courses in the earliest included term, select the courses with the highest grades for that term
  • Note: If you cannot take exactly 60 credit hours, go beyond 60 credit hours unless doing so will put you more than 3 credit hours further from the ideal of 60 credit hours. For example, if you have 58 credit hours, take one more 3 credit hour course for a total of 61 credit hours. But if you have 58 credit hours, and the only remaining course in that semester is 9 credit hours, taking it would give you a total of 67 credit hours. Because this is greater than 3 credit hours more than 60, do not count this course, and calculate the GPA using 58 credit hours.
What to Include
  • All courses listed on a transcript, which have a grade and credit hours assigned, including failing and INC grades, practica, internships, projects, seminars and theses. See restrictions below
  • Courses listed as Pass, Completed, Approved (etc.) with credit hours are included in the required 60 credit hours but the calculation is based on a reduced number (ie: 19 courses not 20)
  • Transfer credits - Courses completed at another university as a one-term or full-year exchange student. The student must submit a transcript from this university.  For courses taken on an exchange or Letter of Permission you only include the course in the GPA if it is assigned credit hours and a grade by the degree granting institution (this includes Pass/Fail). 
  • Courses completed at another university as a one-term or full-year exchange student. The student must submit a transcript from this university as well
  • Courses completed after the initial degree (upgrading) - for courses to be included in the GPA calculation they must be 3rd and 4th year courses and a maximum of 5 courses (15 credit hours) can be used. The remaining 45 credit hours should be taken from the student's Bachelor's degree
  • Qualifying Graduate Student - grades used in the calculation must be from 3rd and 4th year courses. The remaining credit hours should be taken from the student's Bachelor's degree
  • Applicants with graduate degrees that are higher or equivalent to the level for which they are applying will be eligible for special consideration, but it will not affect their GPA calculation
What to Exclude
  • lab courses
  • physical education courses of any kind (except for students applying to kinesiology)
  • courses with a "W", "ILL", or "IP" grade
  • courses completed in a Master’s degree are not included in the GPA for admission to a new Master’s degree.
  • Transfer credits that have zero credit hours assigned and no grades
  • A maximum of 25% of the credit hours per GPA can be used from the following types of courses: practica, internships, theses, seminars, workshops, projects (For example, a thesis with 40 credit hours can account for no more than 25% of the total GPA, or 15 credit hours out of a total of 60). If more than one degree is used in the GPA calculations you can take 25% of the full 60 credit hours from the most recent degree.
  • For Kinesiology applicants, Physical Education courses cannot make up more than 25% of the total credit hours per GPA
  • Courses with Pass/Fail grades (with credit hours) cannot make up more than 25% of the total credit hours per GPA
  • Sequential professional degrees, (e.g. BEd, BN, BJ, LLB, and JD) cannot make up more than 50% of credit hours per GPA
  • If a PhD applicant has a bachelor's degree, a sequential post-professional degree and a master's degree, take 15 credit hours from the bachelor's degree, 15 credit hours from the sequential post-professional degree, and 30 credit hours from the master's degree
  • If transfer credits are assigned a grade of PASS/FAIL (and are assigned credits hours), they are included in the 25% rule mentioned above


3. Calculate the GPA

  • Multiply the percentage or grade point value of each course by its associated credit weight to find the "weighted grade"
  • Add up the total weighted grades
  • Add up the total credit weights
  • Divide the weighted grade total by the credit weight total to get the GPA
Given this sample transcript with just four courses:
Using Percentages:
Credit Weight Grade Weighted Grade Points
3 91 273
6 97 582
3 52 156
3 77 231
Total = 15   Total = 82.8
Then take the total weighted average, and convert it to a grade point using the table below.
Using Grade Points:
Credit Weight Grade Grade Points Weighted Grade Points
3 B 3.0 9
6 B+ 3.3 19.8
3 A- 3.7 11.1
3 B- 2.7 8.1
Total = 15     Total = 48
Total weighted grade points: (3 x 3.0) + (6 x 3.3) + (3 x 3.7) + (3 x 2.7) = 48
Total credit weight: 3 + 6 + 3 + 3 = 15
Grade Point Average (GPA): 48 / 15 = 3.2
Note: When a percentage is provided on the transcript, always use it instead of the grade point. Doing so will give you a more precise result. For example, a 91 or a 99 are both a 4.3, but there is a substantial difference between the two grades. By keeping the percentage score until the final conversion, the result will be as accurate as possible.

4. Convert each letter/percentage grade to a grade point value

Percentage Grade Letter Grade Grade Points
90% - 100% A+ 4.3
85% - 89% A 4
80% - 84% A- 3.7
77% - 79% B+ 3.3
73% - 76% B 3
70% - 72% B- 2.7
65% - 69% C+ 2.3
60% - 64% C 2
55% - 59% C- 1.7
  D+ 1.3
50 - 54% D 1
  D- 0.7
0% - 49% F 0
  INC 0


Rules for an IN-PROGRESS Degree

To calculate a GPA based on a degree still in progress, count the in-progress credit hours towards the total of 60, but do not include the courses in the acutal GPA calculation. They will be included in a second calculation ("second-round GPA") when the student's final transcript is submitted.

For example, if a student has not yet received grades for four classes (12 credit hours) in the final term of their degree, count back 16 courses (48 credit hours) -- ignoring the in-progress courses -- to generate an admission GPA. 

Additional Information for Canadian Applications

For transcripts with both percentage and letter grades, such as MUN, use the number grade to find Dalhousie’s equivalent.

For transcripts with letter grades only, where the school's grading scale is a match for Dalhousie's (A+ to F), use the Dalhousie grade point conversion from the table above.

For transcripts with letter grades only, where the school does not issue A+ grades (e.g. McGill), treat any A grades as A+ and convert accordingly.

Additional Information for International Applications

General Information

The following websites can provide helpful guidelines when reviewing international application packages:

Please consider a paid subscription to ECCTIS (formerly UK-NARIC) and AACRAO Edge as authoritative resources for information on international education systems and accredited authorities.

International Transcripts

For many international transcripts, the course weights and grading scales are significantly different from those on Canadian transcripts. In such cases, please:

  • Go back two full years (instead of just 60 credit hours)
  • Use course weight and grade equivalencies according to the conversion charts below
  • Some international transcripts do not list weights, but do include "maximum" grades alongside the grades achieved (e.g. 247 out of 300, or 445 out of 500). In this situation, total the grades as listed and then add up the maximums to determine an overall percentage score (sum of grades / sum of maximums x 100). Finally, use the appropriate conversion chart to arrive at a Dalhousie GPA.

Please be advised that when a college is affiliated to a university the applicant must submit the transcripts from the university and not the college. The reason for this is because we recognize the university and not the college.

Grade Conversion Charts

Admission Workshop slide from Summer 2019

Admission Workshop slides from Summer 2018

Admission Workshop slides from Summer 2017

Transcripts on a 4 point scale

Use this technique only:

  1. With Canadian Universities that give none of the following;  a) a letter grade of A+, b) a number grade on a 4.3 scale c) percentages
  2. Transcripts from the United States
  3. When the WES conversion chart explicitly says to treat the conversion as though it is a US transcript.

In these cases only, treat all A grades as A+ grades. If the transcript gives a numerical grade of 4 out of 4, then change this to 4.3 out of 4.3. Leave all other grades the same. This Rule does not apply when the transcript does not issue +/- grades. For example if the transcripts only issues A,B,C D, and F then A=4.0, B=3.0, C=2.0, D=1, and F=0.

Recognized Institutions

Please use WHED to check the accreditation of universities you are not familiar with. If you are unsure please contact