ECTS provides transparency through the following means:

  • ECTS credits, which are numerical values allocated to course units to describe the student workload required to complete them. They reflect the quantity of work each course unit requires in relation to the total quantity of work necessary to complete a full year of academic study at the institution, that is, lectures, practical work, seminars, tutorials, fieldwork, private study - in the library or at home - and examinations or other assessment activities. ECTS is thus based on a full student workload and not limited to contact hours only. In ECTS, 60 credits represent the workload of an academic year of study and normally 30 credits for a semester and 20 credits for a term.
  • The ECTS information package which supplies written information to students and staff on institutions, departments/faculties, the organisation and structure of studies and course units.
  • The ECTS learning agreement covering the programme of study to be taken and the ECTS credits to be awarded for their satisfactory completion, committing the student to undertaking study abroad as an integral part of his or her higher education, the home institution to guaranteeing full academic recognition of the credits gained abroad, and the host institution to providing the agreed course units, subject to timetabling.
  • The ECTS 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 full range of course units of the department/faculty using ECTS should in principle be made available to the mobile student, including taught doctorate course units. Students should be enabled to follow regular course units - and not courses specifically designed for them - and should not be precluded from the possibility of fulfilling the host institution's requirements for a degree or diploma. ECTS credits ensure that the programme will be reasonable in terms of workload for the period of study abroad. ECTS also enables further studies abroad. With ECTS, a student will not necessarily go back to the home institution after the study period abroad; he/she may prefer to stay at the host institution - possibly to gain a degree - or even move to a third institution. The institutions themselves decide whether or not this is acceptable, and what conditions the student must fulfil to obtain a diploma or transfer registration. The transcript of records is particularly useful in this context as it provides a history of the students' academic achievements, which will help institutions to make these decisions.

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