The German grading scale

The German grading scale

The grades awarded in the German school system range from 1 to 6. The lower the grade, the better it is: a 1 is an excellent grade, whereas 5 and 6 are fail grades. Universities use a slightly modified version, which only goes from 1 to 5. It should also be noted that, in the German notation, the decimal separator is not the period but the comma: the grades are written 1,0; 1,3; 2,5 etc.

Grades awarded in the German education system

Grade Descriptor Grade
1 'sehr gut' – very good; an outstanding piece of work pass
2 'gut' – good; all expectations have been met in full pass
3 'befriedigend' – satisfactory; an average work pass
4 'ausreichend' – sufficient; an average work with some minor deficiencies pass
5 'mangelhaft' – deficient; minimum expectations have not been met, although the candidate has demonstrated a basic grasp of the main concepts fail
6 'ungenügend' – inadequate; the candidate has failed to demonstrate coherent knowledge of even the basic main points fail

The grading scale used at the University of Passau (for all subjects except Law)

Grade Descriptor Pass/fail
1,0–1,3 'sehr gut' – very good pass
1,7–2,3 'gut' – good pass
2,7–3,3 'befriedigend' – satisfactory pass
3,7–4,0 'ausreichend' – sufficient pass
4,3–5,0 'mangelhaft' – deficient fail

Grading scale for Law programmes



16–18 points

'sehr gut' – very good (particularly outstanding)

13–15 points

'gut' – good (well above average)

10–12 points

'vollbefriedigend' – fully satisfactory (above average, but with some minor errors)

7–9 points

'befriedigend' – satisfactory (meets requirements)

4–6 points

'ausreichend' – sufficient (meets requirements, but with notable weaknesses)

1–3 points

'mangelhaft' – deficient (considerable weaknesses, some additional work required for a pass)

0 points

'ungenügend' – inadequate (a poor performance overall)

Doctoral grades (thesis and viva voce)

Grade Descriptor
up to 1,5 summa cum laude 
1,5–2,5 magna cum laude 
2,5–3,5 cum laude 
3,5–4,0 rite