choice based credit system


Delhi University is likely to go ahead with the previous technique of grading in the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS). The news comes out after the University had sought suggestions from all departments regarding the proposed changes. The committee which was constituted to look into the CBCS system will have a final word on the formulae on which the CBCS grading system works.

Under CBCS, a student is marked by relative grading system where their marks are dependent in relation to that of other students’ and not their individual performance. It allows students’ seamless mobility across higher education institutions and transfer of credit earned by students.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all Central universities to implement CBCS from the ensuing academic session following a meeting of vice chancellors of all universities, claiming it had a “cafeteria approach” to education. The system was met with protest from both students and the faculty when it was introduced last year.

CBCS is currently implemented only for the first year batch of University of Delhi. The students have complained about their grades suffering due to relative marking since grades are dependent not by their individual marks, but by their performance in relation to that of other students.

Kartikeya Bhatotia

[email protected]

You’ve all heard of it, yet at the same time, none of you fully understand it.

The winds of change strike University of Delhi (DU) again and this time they bring with themselves an old friend of ours from secondary school – the grading system. This, however, isn’t the biggest feature of Choice Based Credit System (CBCS), another of the controversial pages turned by University Grants Commission (UGC) in the past few years.

The CBCS, as the UGC explains, is a “cafeteria-approach to education”. This does not make education any more appetising, but it is meant to render a student the freedom to choose what and at what pace they would study. Let’s break it down for you.

What has changed?

1. Contents of courses will now be counted in a new currency called “credits”. A single subject of an Honours course of Commerce or an Art will be equal to 6 credits divided into 5 theory and 1 tutorial/practical credits, while for a Science course the division will be of 4 and 2 respectively. The number of credits scored by a student will ultimately translate to a grade point and a grade letter. Honours courses will be made up of 140 credits whereas programme courses will be made up of 120 credits.

2. The system also divides subjects associated with a course under categories, namely “core courses”, “elective courses” and “ability enhancement courses” (here, courses refer to subjects). The number of each of these kinds of subjects a student must study varies from degree to degree. For B.Com. Honours, a student must study 14 core, 8 elective and 4 ability enhancement courses. A student may study additional subjects of their choice as per availability in their institution.

3. Inter-disciplinarity, first introduced with FYUP in DU, stages a comeback with CBCS. A student of a particular course will also study subjects of another course; the credits will be part of elective subject credits. For example, a B.Com. Honours student may study 4 subjects related to the Economics discipline and 4 of Commerce, thereby fulfilling their quota of 8 elective subjects to be studied.

4. The new system makes the final term dissertation (project work) optional, if allowed by the University. It can be swapped with an elective paper in the last semester. DU is yet to prepare the final draft of curriculum for all courses.

5. CBCS also boasts of mobility across Universities, though the UGC has not set clear guidelines for the same yet. It will enable a student to transfer their earned credits to another University entirely so that they may complete their course there. The next level of migration!

6. The following grades will be allotted for the corresponding grade points.


The implementation of CBCS remains to be seen, but the most crucial determinants of the programme’s success will be stability and clarity. Wishing the new batch luck on those fronts!

Further reading: Teachers refuse to draft CBCS syllabus, lock horns with DU

Ishaan Gambhir
[email protected]