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Credit System in USA

Credit System

Students at American universities complete their degrees on accumulation of between 130 and 180 credits. Sometimes the terms “semester/quarter hours” or “units” are also used instead of credits. Each individual course you take each semester earns a specified number (usually three or four) of credits/hours/units. The academic adviser helps the students in planning their course schedule for the academic year. Grades Universities in the US employ a system of continual assessment and they assign grades for each course taken by the students. All classroom activities like class attendance, examinations or tests, laboratory works/reports, written assignments and other similar activities influence the student’s final grade. Hence it is very important for the students to attend classes on a regular basis and keep up with the studies and course work. The following is a general percentage “letter grade scale” for classes taken at U.S. colleges:
  • 100 – 90% = A,
  • 89 – 80% = B,
  • 79 – 70% = C,
  • 69 – 60% = D,
  • 59 – 50% = E and
  • 49 – 0% = F

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Students complete their degrees with a Grade Point Average (GPA). The cumulative grade point average is the GPA for all courses taken throughout the degree program. Most universities use a GPA scale of 4.0, but a few universities use a scale of 5.0. To work out your GPA, take the numerical value assigned to the letter grade you achieve for each course (typically 4 points for an “A,” 3 points for a “B,” and so on), then multiply this number by the number of credits each course is worth. Finally, add these numbers together and divide by the total number of credits for all courses. Most of the US universities also offer some sort of honors degrees. To qualify for an honors degree, one has to earn additional credits or write an honors thesis. Specific details depend upon the university and/or academic department concerned.