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European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)

A credit system is a systematic way of describing an educational programme by attaching credits to each of its components, based on learning outcomes. European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) makes study programmes easier to read and compare for all students, local and foreign and as such, it facilitates mobility and academic recognition. 

The ECTS convention is that 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student during one academic year. The student workload of a full-time study programme in Europe amounts in most cases to 36 or 40 weeks per year and in those cases one credit is assigned to 25 to 30 working hours (1 ECTS = 25 to 30 working hours). Workload refers to the notional time an average learner might expect to complete the required learning outcomes. 

A ‘first cycle’ (or bachelor's) degree consists of either 180 or 240 ECTS credits and a ‘second cycle’ (or master's) degree equates to 90 or 120 ECTS credits. The use of the ECTS at the ‘third cycle’, or Ph.D. level, varies. 

ECTS enhances the flexibility of study programmes for students. The course catalogues, Learning Agreements and Transcripts of Records help the recognition and transfer of credits earned by students during a mobility period abroad.

Further information:

ECTS Users’ Guide – European Commission, 2015

See also:

What is the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System? – European Education Area (EEA)