What is ECTS?

The ECTS (European Credit Transfers System) was initially introduced as a six year pilot project in the academic year 1989/90 in context of the ERASMUS program (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students). ECTS was developed by the European Community 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.

ECTS is a decentralised system based upon the principle of mutual trust and confidence between the participating higher education institutions.

The core elements of ECTS are:

  • Information (on study program and student achievements)
  • mutual agreement (between the partner institutions and the students
  • the use of the ECTS credits (to indicate students workload)

How does ECTS work?

ECTS is a credit transfer system based on student workload. This workload encompasses lectures, practical training, self-study and all relevant work needed to prepare for an examination. ECTS expresses a relative value.

In ECTS, 60 credits represent the workload of an academic year of study, normally 30 credits are given for a semester. The workload of students within the framework of a full-time study in Europe normally totals 1500-1800 hours a year. In such cases one credit conforms 25-30 hours worked.

It is up to the participating institutions to subdivide the credits for the different courses. Practical placements and optional courses which form an integral part of the course of study also receive academic credit. Practical placements and optional courses which do not form an integral part of the course of study do not receive academic credits. Non-credit courses may, however, be listed in the transcript of records. It is important to note that credits will be only awarded after the course has been completed and all required examinations have been successfully taken.

Students participating in ECTS will normally receive full credit for all academic work successfully carried out at any of the ECTS host institutions and they will be able to transfer these academic credits from one participating institution to another as long as there is a prior agreement between the institutions involved.