ECTS: European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System

The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) was developed by the European Commission in order to provide common procedures to guarantee academic recognition of studies abroad.

ECTS is a student-centred system based on the student workload required to achieve the objectives of a programme, objectives preferably specified in terms of the learning outcomes and competences to be acquired.

ECTS @ Ghent University

 Ghent University was amongst the first universities in Europe that successfully applied for an ECTS-label (2004).

Internationalisation has always been a key feature of Ghent University. Hence, the implementation of ECTS on various levels (course catalogue, procedure for exchange students, availability of all relevant information in English, ...) is a continuing responsibility of the involved administrative departments within Ghent University.

The ECTS Information Package is the result of an ongoing process of updating and finetuning and provides more insight in the possibilities for international exchange that Ghent University has to offer.

Ghent University continues its efforts to contribute to the development of the ECTS. In anticipation of the EU's new integrated programme for Education, Training, Youth and Sport (2014-2020) a position paper was published in the Spring of 2013. This paper presents specific recommendations for (ECTS) procedures in the framework of joint study programmes, based on the institution’s extensive experience with joint programmes in Erasmus Mundus Action 1.

What is ECTS?

ECTS is based on three core elements:

  • information (on study programmes and students achievement)
  • mutual agreement (between the partner institutions and the student)
  • the use of ECTS credits (to indicate student workload, not only for exchange students but also for the UGent students)

ECTS credits are based on the workload students need in order to achieve expected learning outcomes. Learning outcomes describe what a learner is expected to know, understand and be able to do after successful completion of a process of learning. They relate to level descriptors in national and European qualifications frameworks. Workload indicates the time students typically need to complete all learning activities (such as lectures, seminars, projects, practical work, self-study and examinations) required to achieve the expected learning outcomes.

60 ECTS credits are attached to the workload of a fulltime year of formal learning (academic year) and the associated learning outcomes. In most cases, student workload ranges from 1,500 to 1,800 hours for an academic year. One credit corresponds to 25 to 30 hours of work.

Full academic recognition is a conditio sine qua non for student mobility in the framework of the Erasmus programme. Full academic recognition means that the study period abroad (including examinations or other forms of assessment) replaces a comparable period of study at the home institution (including examinations or other forms of assessment), though the content of the agreed study programme may differ.

  • the Learning Agreement covers the programme of study to be taken and the ECTS credits to be awarded for their satisfactory completion, committing both home and host institution, as well as the student
  • the Transcript of Records shows students' learning achievements in a way which is comprehensive, commonly understood and easily transferable from one institution to another
  • the Proof of Recognition shows students that the study abroad period has been recognised in the home institution

More information

For more information, contact the institutional ECTS co-ordinator:

Frederik De Decker
International Relations Office
Head of Office
Het Pand, Onderbergen 1
9000 Gent, Belgium
+32 9 264 70 11