An Insight into the European Credit System
A credit system defines the overall structure of an educational program, breaking down its components into various factors, such as workload and learning outcomes. All universities across the European Union implement the ECTS or European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.
The ECTS, which is currently part of the Socrates program, was introduced in 1989. The successfully tested system was initially implemented for credit transfer. A concerted effort was made to recognize periods of studying abroad, so as to improve the quality of education at European universities. Today, the ECTS is also a standard credit accumulation system implemented at European, national, regional and institutional levels.
Purpose of ECTS
Just as an accreditation certifies the authority of an educational institution, the ECTS makes study programs and student performances comparable and transparent. It facilitates the easy understanding of programs for both EU and international students. It gives universities the flexibility to develop and revise their programs.
How does the ECTS work?
One academic year of full-time study is equivalent to 60 ECTS credits. One credit is equal to anywhere between 25 hours and 30 hours of learning activities, which include lectures, seminars, private study, projects, exams and more.
The credits are awarded only after the required student work has been successfully completed and the learning outcome has been assigned after assessment. Depending on your chosen area of study, you may have X number of credits over Y number of years. Your workload and expectations after the end of the study period will vary correspondingly.
The credits assigned can be different across various specializations or allied programs. Seminars and educational trips may also earn students credits. For instance, the top-rated and triple-accredited business school, European University, offers an International Business MBA program that awards one ECTS credit for industrial visits and invited managers’ lectures.
ECTS grading follows a statistical system, where the best 10% receive an ‘A’ grade, the next 25% get a ‘B’ grade, and the next 30% and 25% are awarded ‘C’ and ‘D’ grades respectively. The next 10 percentile is awarded an ‘E’ grade. For under-performing students, two grades, ‘FX’ and ‘F’, are assigned. The former indicates a failing grade requiring some more work to pass. The latter is a failing grade where considerable work is required to pass.