The Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) enables a student to obtain a degree by accumulating required number of credits prescribed for that degree. The number of credits earned by the student reflects the knowledge or skill acquired him / her.
Each course is assigned with a fixed number of credits based on the contents to be learned. The student also has choice in selecting courses out of those offered by various departments. The grade points earned for each course reflects the student’s proficiency in that course.
The CBCS enables the students to earn credits across departments and provides flexibility in duration to complete a Program of study. The CBCS facilitates transfer of credits earned in different Departments/Centers of other recognized / accredited universities or institutions of higher education in India and abroad. In this System student representatives take part in designing the curriculum for a program of Study and facilitate in running the academic programs.
In order to enhance efficiency and excellence in higher education system in the country and to
mitigate the problems of students on migration from one Institution to another, the University
Grants Commission has formulated Guidelines for adoption of Uniform Choice Based Credit
System (CBCS) across all the universities. The guidelines have also been uploaded on the
website of UGC (www ugc.ac.in ) and requested all the Institutions to implement this system.
The Choice Based Credit System is to be implemented from the academic year, 2015-16.
The CBCS provides choice for students to select from
the prescribed courses (core, elective or minor or soft skill courses). In CBCS system there is a.
shift in focus from teacher-centric to learner-centric education. Emphasis is o
studying/learning and not on teaching, with the learner being at the centre stage of at
Semester System and Choice Based Credit System
The Indian Higher Education Institutions have been moving from the conventional
annual system to semester system. Currently many of the institutions have already introduced
the choice based credit system. The semester system accelerates the teaching-learning process
and enables vertical and horizontal mobility in learning. The credit based semester system
provides flexibility in designing curriculum and assigning credits based on the course content
and hours of teaching. The choice based credit system provides a ‘cafeteria’ type approach in
which the students can take courses of their choice, learn at their own pace, undergo additional
courses and acquire more than the required credits, and adopt an interdisciplinary approach to
learning, It is desirable that the HEIs move to CBCS and implement the grading system.
Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS): CBCS is a flexible system of learning that permits students to,
Learn at their own pace,
Choose electives from a wide range of elective courses offered by the University departments,
Adopt an inter-disciplinary approach in learning, and
Make best use of the expertise of available faculty.
Presently the performance of the students is reported using the conventional system of marks secured in the examinations or grades or both. The conversion from marks to letter grades and the letter grades used vary widely across the HEIs in the country. This creates difficulty for the acadamia and the employers to understand and infer the performance of the students graduating from different universities and colleges based on grades.
The grading system is considered to be better than the conventional marks system and hence it
has been followed in the top instutitions in India and abroad. So it is desirable to introduce
uniform grading system. This will facilitate student mobility across institutions within and
across countries and also enable potential employers to assess the performance of students. To
bring in the desired uniformity, in grading system and method for computing the cumulative
grade point average (CGPA) based on the performance of students in the examinations, the UGC
has formulated these guidelines.
Academic Year: Two consecutive (one odd + one even) semesters constitute one
Choice Based Credit System (CBCS): The CBCS provides choice for students to
select from the prescribed courses (core, elective or minor or soft skill courses).
Course: Usually referred to, as ‘papers’ is a component of a programme. All courses
need not carry the same weight. The courses should define learning objectives and
learning outcomes. A course may be designed to comprise lectures/ tutorials/laboratory
work/ field work/ outreach activities/ project work/ vocational training/viva/ seminars/
term papers/assignments/ presentations/ self-study etc. or a combination of some of
Credit Based Semester System (CBSS): Under the CBSS, the requirement for
awarding a degree or diploma or certificate is prescribed in terms of number of credits to
be completed by the students.
Credit Point: It is the product of grade point and number of credits for a course.
Credit: A unit by which the course work is measured. It determines the number of hours
of instructions required per week. One credit is equivalent to one hour of teaching
(lecture or tutorial) or two hours of practical work/field work per week.
Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA): It is a measure of overall cumulative
performance of a student over all semesters. The CGPA is the ratio of total credit points
secured by a student in various courses in all semesters and the sum of the total credits
of all courses in all the semesters. It is expressed up to two decimal places.
Grade Point: It is a numerical weight allotted to each letter grade on a 10-point scale.
Letter Grade: It is an index of the performance of students in a said course. Grades are
denoted by letters O, A+, A, B+, B, C, P and F.
Programme: An educational programme leading to award of a Degree, diploma or
Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA): It is a measure of performance of work
done in a semester. It is ratio of total credit points secured by a student in various
courses registered in a semester and the total course credits taken during that semester.
It shall be expressed up to two decimal places.
Semester: Each semester will consist of 15-18 weeks of academic work equivalent to 90
actual teaching days. The odd semester may be scheduled from July to December and
even semester from January to June.
Transcript or Grade Card or Certificate: Based on the grades earned, a grade
certificate shall be issued to all the registered students after every semester. The grade
certificate will display the course details (code, title, number of credits, grade secured)
along with SGPA of that semester and CGPA earned till that semester.
Types of Courses:
Courses in a programme may be of three kinds: Core, Elective and Foundation.
1. Core Course:-
There may be a Core Course in every semester. This is the course which is to be
compulsorily studied by a student as a core requirement to complete the requirement of
a programme in a said discipline of study.
2. Elective Course:-
Elective course is a course which can be chosen from a pool of papers. It may be:
Supportive to the discipline of study
Providing an expanded scope
Enabling an exposure to some other discipline/domain
Nurturing student’s proficiency/skill.
An elective may be “Generic Elective” focusing on those courses which add generic
proficiency to the students. An elective may be “Discipline centric”or may be chosen from an
unrelated discipline. It may be called an “Open Elective.”
3. Foundation Course:-
The Foundation Courses may be of two kinds: Compulsory Foundation and Elective
foundation. “Compulsory Foundation” courses are the courses based upon the content that
leads to Knowledge enhancement. They are mandatory for all disciplines. Elective
Foundation courses are value-based and are aimed at man-making education.
Examination and Assessment
The HEIs are currently following various methods for examination and assessment suitable for
the courses and programmes as approved by their respective statutory bodies. In assessing the
performance of the students in examinations, the usual approach is to award marks based on
the examinations conducted at various stages (sessional, mid-term, end-semester etc.,) in a
semester. Some of the HEIs convert these marks to letter grades based on absolute or relative
grading system and award the grades. There is a marked variation across the colleges and
universities in the number of grades, grade points, letter grades used, which creates difficulties
in comparing students across the institutions. The UGC recommends the following system to be
implemented in awarding the grades and CGPA under the credit based semester system.
Letter Grades and Grade Points:
i. Two methods -relative grading or absolute grading– have been in vogue for awarding
grades in a course. The relative grading is based on the distribution (usually normal
distribution) of marks obtained by all the students of the course and the grades are
awarded based on a cut-off marks or percentile. Under the absolute grading, the marks
are converted to grades based on pre-determined class intervals. To implement the
following grading system, the colleges and universities can use any one of the above
ii. The UGC recommends a 10-point grading system with the following letter grades as
iii. A student obtaining Grade F shall be considered failed and will be required to reappear
in the examination.
iv. For non credit courses ‘Satisfactory’ or “Unsatisfactory’ shall be indicated instead of the
letter grade and this will not be counted for the computation of SGPA/CGPA.
v. The Universities can decide on the grade or percentage of marks required to pass in a
course and also the CGPA required to qualify for a degree taking into consideration the
recommendations of the statutory professional councils such as AICTE, MCI, BCI, NCTE
vi. The statutory requirement for eligibility to enter as assistant professor in colleges and
universities in the disciplines of arts, science, commerce etc., is a minimum average
mark of 50% and 55% in relevant postgraduate degree respectively for reserved and
general category. Hence, it is recommended that the cut-off marks for grade B shall not
be less than 50% and for grade B+, it should not be less than 55% under the absolute
grading system. Similarly cut-off marks shall be fixed for grade B and B+ based on the
recommendation of the statutory bodies (AICTE, NCTE etc.,) of the relevant disciplines.
6.2. Fairness in Assessment:
Assessment is an integral part of system of education as it is instrumental in identifying and
certifying the academic standards accomplished by a student and projecting them far and wide
as an objective and impartial indicator of a student’s performance. Thus, it becomes bounden
duty of a University to ensure that it is carried out in fair manner. In this regard, UGC
recommends the following system of checks and balances which would enable Universities
effectively and fairly carry out the process of assessment and examination.
i. In case of at least 50% of core courses offered in different programmes across the
disciplines, the assessment of the theoretical component towards the end of the semester
should be undertaken by external examiners from outside the university conducting
examination, who may be appointed by the competent authority. In such courses, the
question papers will be set as well as assessed by external examiners.
ii. In case of the assessment of practical component of such core courses, the team of
examiners should be constituted on 50 – 50 % basis. i.e. half of the examiners in the
team should be invited from outside the university conducting examination.
iii. In case of the assessment of project reports / thesis / dissertation etc. the work should be
undertaken by internal as well as external examiners.