I am currently involved interviewing to help replace an engineer on my team. This is a junior position so the candidates range from a few years work experience to being straight out of college. Therefore GPA features prominently in all their resumes. However being from the UK where educational qualifications are graded very differently I realise that I have no idea how to start interpreting those.

Obviously GPA will only be a minor factor in the assessment and interview process but understanding this would help me set my expectations for the candidates level of academic background. I have read some of the questions about whether GPA should even be used on resumes and for assessing candidates so I appreciate it has limitations. Really I am trying to get an idea in advance of whether the candidates have solid degrees or not.

In terms of specific questions:

  • Are there some general GPA scores or ranges that map to UK degree classifications I will be familiar with?
  • What is the difference between GPA and cumulative GPA?
  • Why might a candidate state their GPA and major GPA separately?
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    This question would probably be better suited to Academia, as it's entirely focused on the academic aspect. Sep 14, 2017 at 10:01
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    @Dukeling How's that? The main question is quite clearly about figuring out how a hiring manager should evaluate a candidate's GPA as a data point. The specific questions listed aren't that useful and a mapping to UK grades is certainly off-topic but the general topic seems valid here. This could use some edits but not a migration.
    – Lilienthal
    Sep 14, 2017 at 10:41
  • @Lilienthal The question appears to be more about understanding what GPAs mean (generally speaking) as opposed to understanding how to use them to make a hiring decision. The specific questions asked are about GPA terminology and converting a GPA to a UK grade, which don't have much to do with the workplace IMO. It's seems comparable to asking an English language question here because the question is about words appearing on a resume or job description (of course it does become on topic at some point, but seeking a general understanding of the words would be better suited to another site). Sep 14, 2017 at 10:48
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    @Dukeling I'd argue the opposite (as I just did): the specific questions here are poorly chosen but the general question in the title and the main body of the post seem to be about the practical value of GPA when hiring.
    – Lilienthal
    Sep 14, 2017 at 11:36
  • @Lilienthal We might have understood the second paragraph differently... Sep 14, 2017 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure about UK GPA's, but I did find a site that seems to explain it fairly well.


The difference between a GPA and cumulative GPA might mean different things. Perhaps the person has attended multiple colleges and is giving only his latest college GPA, while another person might be combining the data to give you a better picture of overall performance.

The main reason why a person would state the GPA and major GPA separately, is because they could have done poorly in general or elective classes. If I'm an electrical engineering student, but I did poorly in my general electives and history classes, it might have brought my GPA down to a 3, but in all of my EE classes I did very well, showing my major GPA of a 3.95 would look better to perspective engineering companies.

  • Another reason somebody might list the cumulative GPA and major GPA separately, is because when apply to graduate school, requirements are often link to the GPA of your major and not that have your cumulative GPA. So basically, the student is aware it is sometimes important, and might be simply providing it because it seems important. It also might be as you point out that their cumulative GPA is lower then their GPA for their major, and end goal of a resume is to persuade you into hiring them.
    – Donald
    Sep 14, 2017 at 16:34
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    Valid points. It should not be assumed that a person has a low GPA if they are showing their major GPA. When I was hired, even though I had my major GPA listed on my resume, it only took a second for my company to ask me for my cumulative GPA.
    – curt1893
    Sep 14, 2017 at 19:58

Simply you can check it with academic websites or even you were in that position to asked candidate during interview about his GPA because he mentioned GPA in resume.If you didn't check it with candidate than its OK, As we all know that grades are least concern during job interview. In one of my interview with UN they were directly asked me about my degrees and grades. Interviews or assessments gives us a clear picture for knowledge and skills so I think if candidate is good enough and eligible for the engineering post give him a chance or before that recommend HR to get information about him via reference check. Besides this, you also have other options as well.

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