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European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System

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European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System

ECTS - European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, the European credit transfer and accumulation system adopted in most countries in Europe. It allows you to read and compare grades, indicators of students of educational institutions of different countries, facilitates the mobility and academic recognition of students. There are various credit systems used internationally, and ECTS is most widespread in Europe. The European Credit Transfer and Savings System (ECTS), a personality-oriented loan transfer and accumulation system, was originally designed to provide student mobility through the Erasmus program. Studying at a university using the ECTS system facilitates admission to the next stage of education, allowing you to take into account loans earned at the undergraduate level when transferring from one university to another.

ECTS is the main tool of the Bologna process, striving for comparability of national education systems at the international level. ECTS allows you to make the Diploma Supplement more understandable and easier to use when applying for or employment abroad.

How ECTS works

The uniformity of indicators allows you to measure the time spent by each student in studying. The ECTS Convention has established that 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student for one academic year. The student’s workload for the full-time study program in Europe in most cases is 36/40 weeks per year, respectively 1 ECTS = 25/30 working hours. Workload - the conditional amount of time spent by the average student to achieve the required learning outcomes. It is assumed that the workload of a full-time study program in Europe in most cases is approximately 1500-1800 hours per year, and in such cases one ECTS loan is approximately 25-30 working hours.

Credits are distributed over all components of the curriculum (modules, courses, practice, work on the dissertation) and reflect the amount of work for each component as part of the total amount of work needed to complete a full year of study for the corresponding program.

The "cost" of one loan in different countries of Europe may differ:

A country

The number of training hours for 1 credit

Austria, Italy, Spain

25 academic hours


27 academic hours

Netherlands , Portugal

28 academic hours

Germany, Belgium, Romania, Hungary

30 academic hours

ECTS Benefits

  • Submitting documents upon admission, if your diploma has an application of international standard, is much simpler - no need to go through the nostrification procedure.
  • If you receive a Bachelor's degree in one EU country, you are more likely to get a master's degree in another European country due to the transparency of the certificates received.
  • Finding a job in any EU country will be easier, so it’s easier for the employer to understand exactly what you did during your eucation, what skills and competencies you developed and how much time you spent on it.
  • If you spend a semester abroad, participate in the Erasmus program, the main university will be able to track hours of study with the help of "credit transfers".
  • If the student does not complete the course, ECTS credits will help prove academic achievement if he wants to continue his studies again.

In general, the adoption of the credit system by the state broadens the choice of universities for students to study abroad, allows them to form a curriculum for themselves, and provides certification of the process of studying at a foreign university.

ECTS Loans: Distribution of Points

ECTS credits are distributed across all educational components of a higher education curriculum (including modules, courses, thesis, etc.) and reflect the amount of work required by each individual component to achieve the specific learning objectives associated with the total number of jobs required to successfully complete a full year learning.

Number of credits for obtaining a degree:

  • Bachelor's degree - 180/240 credits
  • Master's degree - (two semesters plus a dissertation) - 90/20 credits.

ECTS can be used to determine learning outcomes during internships abroad. For example, an employer requires a student to conduct a study and report on the results. The estimated time to complete this assignment is 60 hours, so students will receive 2 ECTS credits for the assignment.

Assessments and ECTS

As part of the ECTS, an assessment scale has been developed to improve understanding and comparison of assessments used in various national systems. It does not have national references and is aimed at an objective assessment of the student’s abilities relative to other students in this system. Its purpose is not to replace national systems, but to improve understanding of the systems of other countries.

The ECTS grading scale is based on the student level for a particular grade, that is, how he / she performed the work in relation to other students. ECTS classifies students into large groups and thus simplifies the interpretation of grades. This grouping lies at the center of the ECTS grading system.

The ECTS system initially divides students between the “set off” / “not set off” groups, and then evaluates the work of these two groups separately. Students who receive a grade score are divided into five subgroups: the top 10% get grade A, the next 25% get grade B, the next 30% get grade C, the next 25% get grade D and the last 10% get grade E.

Those who could not do the work on the "set off" are divided into two subgroups: FX (not set off - you still need to work to get an estimate) and F (not set off - you need some serious work). This separation allows us to differentiate between students who almost passed and those who absolutely do not have the necessary knowledge and skills.


ECTS score

% of students receiving grades




Use words such as "excellent" or

“Good” is not recommended as they are not

match the portable rating system

Percentage based ECTS.











Not set off - more work needs to be done for

receiving credit



Not set off - serious work needed

Comparison of ECTS and credit system of the USA and other countries

The most intensive ECTS system is used in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Belgium.

The main difference between the European credit system ECTS and the credit system of US colleges is that the first is based on student workload, and the second is on contact hours, that is, the US system is more focused on the time required by the teacher.

UCTS has its own credit system in Asian universities: it provides for the accrual of 60 loans per year and focuses on load indicators, but is simpler than the European one.

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