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ECTS and Recognition. Carolyn Bew Anne Boddington University of Brighton. Boundaries and tools - overlap and domain confusions . INTERNATIONAL FRAMEWORKS OF FRAMEWORKS (general + broad – for framework creators) DIFFERENT PURPOSES LOCAL

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ects and recognition

ECTS and Recognition

Carolyn Bew

Anne Boddington

University of Brighton

boundaries and tools overlap and domain confusions
Boundaries and tools - overlap and domain confusions



(general + broad – for framework creators)




(Complex and detailed specific regulations - for institutional staff)

the bologna process the basic principles
The Bologna Process- the basic principles
  • The main objective is to structure higher education along three cycles (Bachelor-Master-PhD), pulling together the formerly very diverse higher education structures in Europe.
  • To achieve this aim, the Framework for Qualifications in the European Higher Education Area (FQ-EHEA) was developed, comprising three cycles.
  • National qualifications frameworks describe the qualifications of an education system in individual countries.
  • It is expected that national qualifications frameworks would be developed so as to be compatible with the overarching FQ-EHEA framework.
overarching framework for qualifications of the european higher education area fq ehea
Overarching Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area (FQ-EHEA)
  • Sets the parameters within which the countries of the EHEA will develop their national qualifications frameworks
  • Describes the ‘outer limits’ within which national frameworks should be situated
  • Allows for diversity within those limits
  • Ensures compatibility between national frameworks
  • Presents a common face for higher education in Europe, which is important in a global context
  • Facilitates movement between systems
  • Is the face of ‘Bologna qualifications’ to the rest of the world
  • Provides the broad structure within which new style national qualifications frameworks will be developed
european higher education area ehea
European Higher Education Area (EHEA)
  • a 1st cycle degree = 180 ECTS credits (nominally three academic years)
  • a 2nd cycle degree = 60-120 ECTS credits (nominally one to two academic years)
  • a 3rd cycle degree is not yet defined in terms of credit
europe eqf
Europe - EQF
  • European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF)
  • Meta- framework with eight levels and full level descriptors
  • Referencing of national schemes against EQF is under way across Europe
  • Linked to ECVET, a credit system with credit points that reflect the weighting of qualifications; there are no levels in ECVET
european credit transfer and accumulation system ects 1
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) 1
  • ECTS makes teaching and learning in higher education more transparent across Europe and facilitates the recognition of all studies
  • The system allows for the transfer of learning experiences between different institutions, greater student mobility and more flexible routes to gain degrees
  • It aids curriculum design and quality assurance
  • ECTS is a tool that helps to design, describe, and deliver programmes and award higher education qualifications
european credit transfer and accumulation system ects 2
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) 2
  • The use of ECTS, in conjunction with outcomes-based qualifications frameworks, makes programmes and qualifications more transparent and facilitates the recognition of qualifications
  • ECTS can be applied to all types of programmes, whatever their mode of delivery (school-based, work-based), the learners’ status (full-time, part-time) and to all kinds of learning (formal, non-formal and informal)
  • It aims to facilitate planning, delivery, evaluation, recognition and validation of qualifications and units of learning as well as student mobility
  • ECTS is widely used in formal higher education and can be applied to other lifelong learning activities
ects workload and learning outcomes
ECTS, Workload, and Learning Outcomes
  • ECTS credits are awarded on the basis of workload
  • Workload indicates the time students typically need to complete all the 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 full-time 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, so that one credit corresponds to 25 to 30 hours of work
mobility ects and recognition
Mobility, ECTS and Recognition

If a student decides to take part of their 1st,2nd, or 3rd cycle degree at another Institution then:

  • A collaborative agreement forms the basis of the agreement
  • A bilateral agreement must exist between the two Institutions
  • A learning contract must be signed by both Institutions and the student prior to arrival at the Host Institution
  • A transcript of the credits and grades must be provided by the Host Institution
  • The credits and grades must be recognised by the Home Institution
uk fheq
  • FHEQ is a national qualification framework, levels 1–8; levels 4-8 correspond to the FQ-EHEA
  • Each level is illustrated by a qualification descriptor
  • The FHEQ descriptors are linked to other parts of the academic infrastructure in a number of ways:

Qualification descriptors

Generic statements of the intended outcomes of study

Subject benchmark statements

Detailed statements on the expected outcomes on particular subjects

Programme specifications

Detailed statements about the intended outcomes of an individual programme

l earning outcomes
Learning Outcomes
  • Statement of what a learner is expected to know, understand and be able to do by the end of a period of leaning.
  • They translate the aims of the programme of study into a set of competences – knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes – which the leaner is expected to have acquired and be able to demonstrate at the end of the period of learning.
  • They are written from the learner’s perspective and should be appropriate to the level of the award for which the learner is studying.
  • Subject-specific competences

- associated with the particular subject being studied

  • Generic competences

- express what the learner might be expected to acquire in the course of degree level study whatevertheir subject.


Working in groups of three or four:

  • Fill in the programme specification using the template provided, with details from the academic programme you have brought with you
  • Pay close attention to the guidance questions - they are there to nudge you!
useful links
Useful Links
  • The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

  • National Qualifications Authority of Ireland –National Framework of Qualifications

  • The ECTS user quide