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Grades, Credits and Workload

Grading system

Exam grades in The Netherlands are based on a 10-point system: 1 is the lowest, and 10 is the highest mark. The passing grades range from 6 (satisfactory) to 10 (outstanding). The limit between pass and fail is 5.5, generally rounded to 6. The grades 1 to 3 are hardly used; the grade 10 is rarely awarded.

ECTS grading table

Depending on the grading system of your home university, you may find that Dutch lecturers give low grades. For most students and lecturers, an 8 is considered very good indeed, while a 9, let alone a 10 are very rarely given. Most students are awarded a 6 or a 7. If you are used to getting higher grades at home, you (and your supervisor at home) may feel disappointed. Remember, however, that this may be due to the modest Dutch grading practice, not necessarily because of a poor performance on your part.


The study load of each course is expressed in ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). One ECTS is equivalent to 28 hours of study. An academic year (60 ECTS credit points) consist of two semesters (30 ECTS credit points each), and a semester is divided into two blocks (15 ECTS credit points each).
The number of credits awarded for each bachelor and master level course varies depending on the workload. Most of the time, courses are worth 5 ECTS. Be aware that credits for courses are only awarded if you meet the course requirements.


At the BSS faculty, each semester is divided in two blocks. Every block consists of 7 weeks of lectures, followed by 2 weeks of exams. Some lectures even involve some minor assignments during the lecture weeks. Mind that studying is a full-time job, and in addition to attending classes, you will be expected to spend much time doing your own research and reading the course literature. A study week consists of more or less 40 hours in total. You have to start preparing lectures from the very first semester week onwards, otherwise you won't have enough time to prepare sufficiently for exams.

Exchange students are advised to choose courses worth a total of 15 ECTS per block (= 30 ECTS per semester). This will ensure a balanced study load.

Credit Transfer

To make sure that you are able to transfer the credits earned at the University of Groningen, it is important that your home institution approves your intended study programme.
Contact the International Office at your home university for advice regarding your credit transfer.

Last modified:06 March 2019 11.34 a.m.