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Grade Point Average (GPA)

A grade point average (GPA) is a simple numerical index which summarises a student's academic performance in a course in either a single teaching period, over a year or for the duration of the student's enrolment in the course. It takes account of the relative size of units so that larger units contribute more to the GPA:

  • For vocational education (formerly TAFE) courses, student contact hours are used.
  • For higher education, credit points are used.

GPA does not apply to units with competency grading or grades that do not have marks.


What can a GPA be used for?

A GPA can be used for a variety of purposes, including as criteria for an offer to study or for identifying students who are candidates for university academic prizes. You may be asked to supply a GPA when applying for a job or for a place at another university.

The two GPA scales commonly used in Australia and overseas are the 4 point and the 7 point scale. These scales differ in the grade points that they allocate to each grade but the method of calculation is the same.


Swinburne’s 4 point GPA scale

In 2014, Swinburne began using a 4 point GPA scale. A GPA will only be calculated for students from 2014 onwards, with this information appearing on a student's Academic Transcript. If you are applying to another institution you may find GPA information on their website and use this to calculate a GPA.

The following table shows the 4 point GPA scale used at Swinburne.

The 4 point scale

Grade Code Percentage GPA value
High Distinction HD 80 – 100 4
Distinction D 70 – 79 3
Credit C 60 – 69 2
Pass P 50 – 59 1
Conceded Pass CP 45 – 49 0.5
Fail N 0 – 49 0

How your GPA is calculated

The following tables show some example calculations for Higher Education and Vocational Education results:

Higher Education example (4 point scale)

Unit Credit points (CP) Result GPA Value (4pt Scale) Grade Points (CP x GPA value)
AAA001 12.5 HD 4 50
ABC201 12.5 D 3 37.5
BBB105 25 P 1 25
CCC415 12.5 P 1 12.5
XXX501 12.5 N 0 0
DDD110 25 C 2 50
TOTAL 100     175

The total grade points divided by the total credit points = grade point average

GPA = 175/100 = 1.75 (4 point scale)

Vocational Education example (4 point scale)

Unit Student Contact Hours (SCH) Result GPA Value (4pt Scale) Grade Points (SCH x GPA value)
AAA001 20 N 0 0
ABC201 40 D 3 120
BBB105 25 P 1 25
CCC415 80 HD 4 320
DDD110 80 C 2 160
TOTAL 245     625

The total grade points divided by the total Student Contact Hours = grade point average

GPA = 625/245 = 2.55 (4 point scale)

Further information

A range of information about calculating GPAs is available online. The Graduate Entry Medical School Admissions System (GEMSAS) Guide provides comprehensive information.

You can also find GPA information on the websites of other universities.