The ECTS System

The acronym ECTS indicates the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System, or the European system of accumulation and transfer of training credits.
This system is used in the context of international student mobility activities, including the ERASMUS programme, to allow mutual and equitable recognition of the workload sustained by students in the different countries of the European Union.
It is student-centered and based on the workload required of the student to achieve the objectives of a course of study, preferably expressed in terms of learning outcomes and skills to be acquired.

A number of ECTS credits is associated with each course delivered in a EU university. Each member state of the European Union has its own system for assessing teaching loads through national training credits. With reference to the Italian case, 1 university training credit (1 CFU) is equal to 1 ECTS credit.

For other European countries there may be different correspondences; however, normally, by reading the information available on the websites of foreign universities, you will find indications in ECTS, or it is possible to know the multiplicative coefficient to be applied to the number of (national) credits reported for the proposed courses.

Key facts about ECTS

  • ECTS is based on the convention that 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student over an academic year. The workload of a full-time study program in Europe is equivalent in most cases to 36/40 weeks per year and in such cases one credit represents a workload varying from 25 to 30 hours per week. Workload refers to the theoretical time in which an average student is expected to achieve the required learning outcomes.
    Credit is also a way of quantifying learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are sets of competences that express what the learner will know, understand or be able to do at the end of the learning process, long or short. ECTS credits can be capitalized only at the end of the required work and after having achieved an appropriate assessment of one's performance.
    The breakdown of ECTS credits is based on the official length of a study cycle. The total workload required to obtain a first level degree with an official duration of three or four years is expressed in 180 or 240 credits.
    The workload per student in ECTS includes time spent attending lectures and seminars, self-study, preparing and taking exams, etc.
    The credits are divided among all the teaching activities of a study program (such as modules, courses, internships, oral reports, etc.) and reflect the amount of work that each individual activity requires in relation to the total amount of work required to complete a full year of study in the program under consideration.
    The student's performance is documented by a grade. It is good practice to add an ECTS grade, particularly in the case of credit transfer. The ECTS grading scale ranks students on a statistical basis. The following grades are assigned to students who have passed the exam with positive results:
    A at best 10%
    B to the next 25%
    C to the next 30%
    D to the next 25%
    And to the next 10%
    A distinction is made between the FX and F grades which are used for students who failed the exam. FX means: "rejected - limited additional effort required to be promoted" and F means: "rejected - considerable additional effort required".
    For further information see the related sites and the attached documentation.

International students

Last updated on: 12/05/2021