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ECTS - European credit transfer and accumulation system

Last update : 22.02.2016


A systematic way of describing a higher education programme by attaching credits to its components (modules, courses,placements, dissertation work, etc.), to:
  • make study programmes easy to read and compare for all students, local and foreign;
  • encourage mobility of students and validation of learning outcomes;
  • help universities to organise and revise their study programmes.
Comment: ECTS is based on the student workload required to achieve a programme’s objectives, specified in terms of learning outcomes to be acquired. The student workload of a full-time study programme in Europe amounts in most cases to around 1.500 to 1.800 hours per year and in these cases one credit stands for around 25 to 30 hours. Individuals who can demonstrate similar learning outcomes acquired in other learning settings may obtain recognition and credits (waivers) from degree awarding bodies.

Source: Cedefop (2014) "Terminology of European education and training policy: A selection of 130 key terms"