The grade of an ovarian epithelial neoplasm provides useful information. However, different approaches to grading exist and many ovarian cancers are not graded. We examined primary ovarian cancers from patients treated at our hospital and applied the 'universal' grading system. We found a significant association between grade and clinical stage, with a survival difference between grades for low-stage tumours. The application of grade is discussed in the light of developments in the grading of other gynaecological cancers.