The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. A tool for students, faculty, administrative staff of Higher Education Institutions and other stakeholders, the ECTS ensures the transfer of academic results (expressed in terms of grades) between different national education assessment systems.
Through its transparency, the system is to facilitate the organization, implementation, assessment, and recognition of courses and periods of study and to facilitate student mobility.
ECTS credits are based on the workload required for the students to achieve the expected learning outcomes. The learning outcomes basically describe what students should know, understand, and be able to do after successfully completing a specific learning process.
The learning outcomes refer to the learning level descriptors of the National and European Framework of Qualifications. The workload indicates the amount of time students generally need to carry out all the learning activities (participation in lectures and seminars, completion of projects and other work, individual study and examinations) required to achieve the expected learning outcomes. 60 ECTS credits correspond to the workload of one year of full-time study in a formal setting (academic year) and the associated learning outcomes. In the majority of European countries the annual workload is between 1,500 and 1,800 hours; therefore, one credit corresponds to approximately 25 - 30 hours of work.
Credits are attributed both to entire courses of study (Bachelor's Degree Courses, Master's Degree Courses, First and Second Level Academic Masters) and to the single educational units that constitute them (such as, for example, teachings, internships, elaboration of the final dissertation, laboratory activities).The ECTS scale, divided into 5 levels (A: highest 10%; B: next 25%; C: next 30%; D: next 25%; E: lowest 10%), has been replaced by the ECTS Table for the conversion of grades: this is a simple statistical distribution of grades based on the scale in use in the various national systems, drawn up for each course of study or for each group of homogeneous courses. It allows an immediate comparison of the grade between two or more systems and cultures and allows a simple and transparent interpretation and conversion of grades from one system to another.