THE ECTS SYSTEM
What is ECTS?
ECTS, The European Credit Transfer System, was developed by the Commission of the European Communities in order to provide common procedures to guarantee academic recognition of studies abroad. It provides a way of measuring and comparing learning achievements and transferring them from one institution to another. The European Commission promotes the system and the international cooperation between universities as a means of improving the quality of education bringing benefits both to students and higher education itself. In this respect, student exchange is the basic element in university cooperation. Recognition of education and diplomas is the necessary condition for establishing an open European higher education space where students and lecturers can "move" with no restriction.
ECTS provides transparency through the following means:
- ECTS credits which are a numerical value allocated to course units to describe the student workload required to complete them;
- The Information Package which supplies written information to students and staff on institutions, departments/faculties, the organization and structure of studies and course units;
- The Transcript of Records which shows students' learning achievements in a way which is comprehensive, commonly understood and easily transferable from one institution to another;
- The Learning Agreement covering the programme of study to be taken and the ECTS credits to be awarded for their satisfactory completion, committing both home and host institutions, as well as the student.
The ECTS Credits
ECTS credits are allocated units to describe the student workload required to complete them. They reflect the quantity of work each course requires in relation to the total quantity of work required to complete a full year of academic study at the institution, i.e. lectures, practical work, seminars, self-study -in a library or at home- and exams or other assessment activities. ECTS credits express a relative value.
In ECTS, 60 credits represent the workload of a year of study; normally 30 credits are given for a semester and 20 credits for a term. It is important that no special courses are set up for ECTS purposes, but that all ECTS courses are mainstream courses of the participating institutions, as followed by the home students under normal regulations.
Credits are awarded only when the course has been completed and all required examinations or other assessment activities have been successfully passed. Detailed information about disciplines (short description of course contents, teaching methods, types of assessment, etc.) is given in the information package of each degree programme.
Students participating in ECTS receive full credit for all academic work successfully carried out at any of the ECTS partner institutions. These credits are transferred to the home university and fully replace the annual/semester workload including exams and other forms of assessment. In this way students can study abroad for a certain period of time and when they come back, they are able to continue their education without any loss of semesters and exams. Some students may also decide to graduate from the host university, and permission for that is given by the academic authorities based upon the student's transcript of credit points and his/her performance at the home university.