Grading system

All courses taught at the university end with an examination (in Estonian: eksam) or a pass/fail assessment (in Estonian: arvestus). There may be several independent examinations in separate parts of the course. At the end of each semester, during a 4-week examination session, there are usually oral and written examinations.

Academic achievement is graded under two systems: differentiated assessment and a non-differentiated assessment.

Differentiated assessment of academic results of students in a subject or its parts is conducted using a six-grade assessment system (supplemented by the verbal counterpart and the description of meaning of every grade) as follows:

Grade Definition in English  Definition in Estonian Description




outstanding performance


very good

väga hea

outstanding performance with some errors




generally sound work with a number of notable errors




fair but with significant shortcomings




some knowledge of the subject but severe shortcomings




unsatisfactory knowledge

The examination or preliminary examination is considered passed upon its grading in the range from "E" to "A".
In calculating the average grade the following correspondences are applied: A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1, F=0.

Non-differentiated assessment of academic results is conducted using a system whereby the positive result is defined as "Pass" and the negative result as "Fail".

The lecturers enter all the grades in the Study Information System and the students can follow their progress all the time.


A credit (ECTS in English or EAP in Estonian) at Estonian universities is earned through 26 hours of work. A 3-credit course represents 78 hours of acceptable work. The time may be spent in various combinations of classroom, laboratory, library, off-campus and at-home work.

The volume of a curriculum per official standard academic year is 60 credits. Credits are allocated to course units and are awarded to students who successfully complete the course by satisfying the assessment requirements.

Credit transfer

All exchange students have the opportunity to transfer credits earned at the Estonian University of Life Sciences when returning home. Before leaving, please collect Transcripf of Records either from the study specialist of your institute or the International Office of the University. Then submit the document to your university and they will decide on the amount of credits that are available for transfer.

Average Grade

The average grade is calculated only in the event of a differentiated grading system where letters are transformed into numbers as follows: A = 5, B = 4, C = 3, D = 2, E = 1, F = 0, ‘not present’ without good reason = 0./

Non-differentiated grading results (‘passed’ and ‘failed’) are not taken into account upon calculating the average grade. If the result ‘not present’ is received on a course which ends with a pass/fail exam, it does not influence the average grade.

Differently from the calculation method, an arithmetical and weighted average grade and average grade calculated on the basis of all results or positive results are used.

What is the difference between the arithmetical average and the weighted average?

The weighted average grade is calculated on the basis of examination grades as well as the credit points received for courses. The grade of a course that gives more credit points has a greater weight (for instance, an A received for a 6-ECTS course has twice the weight of an A received for a 3-ECTS course).

Let us suppose that Anna and Matthew take the course ‘Animal Genetics’ which gives 6 ECTS. Anna gets an A in the exam and Matthew gets a C. Both also take the course ‘Basics of Animal Welfare’, which gives 3 ECTS. Matthew gets an A, while Anna gets a C for this exam.

The arithmetical average of them both is 4.0.

(5+3) / 2 = 4.

However, upon calculating the weighted average, the number of credit points must also be taken into account (grade × credit points), which must be divided by the total of the credit points.


(5x6 + 3x3)/9= 4.3


(3x6 + 5x3)/9=3.6

Thus, the weighted average differs significantly from the arithmetical average.

What is the difference between the average grade calculated on the basis of all results and positive results?

Upon granting study allowances, the weighted average grade of the student in the previous semester is looked at based on all results. That is, negative examination results are also taken into account when calculating the average grade.

Let us suppose that Lisa is a first-semester student and took the course ‘Soil Science’ which is worth 6 ECTS. However, Lisa started studying for the exam at the very last minute and got an F the first time and a C for the repeat exam. Lisa also took the course ‘Organic Chemistry’ which is worth 3 ECTS. For this exam she got a B.

Lisa’s weighted average over all grades:

(0x6 + 3x6 + 4x3)/15=2.0

results taken into account: 3, credit points taken into account: 15.

Weighted average grade based on positive results:

(3x6 + 4x3)/9=3.3

results taken into account: 2, credit points taken into account: 9.

The weighted average grade based on positive results is important for obtaining cum laude.


To see our list of courses offered in English for exchange students, check this page.