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ECTS - Credits for everyone

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Foto by: francisco osorio
Study at any research university or university of applied sciences in the Netherlands or elsewhere in Europe and sooner or later you’ll find yourself dealing with ECTS credits.


The ECTS first made its entry around the time that the Dutch education system transferred to the Bachelor’s and Master’s structure. ECTS stands for European Credit Transfer System. As the name implies, it is a European system for valuing and awarding credits based on a single, unified method. The ECTS applies within the European Higher Education Area, in which European countries work together.


Among the goals of the EHEA is to boost student mobility. Basically, it enables European students to study in any European country and, in theory, students who earn their Bachelor’s degree in one country can automatically go on to do a Master’s in any other European country.


The ECTS means that the credits you earn have the same value in every country, as the study load for a credit is the same all throughout the EU. The study load is the sum of the hours you have to invest in a subject to complete it successfully and is calculated on the basis of compulsory lectures and seminars, the hours of independent study needed to master or practise the material and the revision needed to prepare for exams, as well as the exams themselves. Credits are awarded after you have completed all of the hours associated with a subject and passed the exams.


One academic year (1,680 study hours spread out across 42 weeks) is equivalent to 60 ECTS credits. Therefore, one credit represents 28 study hours. Under the ECTS, you have to attain 180 ECTS credits, equivalent to three years, to be entitled to a Bachelor’s diploma. A Master’s degree requires 240 ECTS credits.


Since its inception, the ECTS has been introduced in 29 European countries. It has paved the way for modern students who want to look beyond their own province or country. Thanks to the standardized value of 1 ECTS credit, a credit earned in, say, France is just as valid in a country like Sweden.

Published: Wed, 02/10/2013 - 14:53

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