European Credit Transfer System (ECTS)
Consistent with its project of creating an open European space of higher education and training, European Union authorities are promoting cooperation and exchange among higher education institutions within the EU and have implemented a system for making study programs in those institutions easy to compare from one institution to another across Europe. This system, called the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), makes curricula and students’ academic itineraries intelligible at the EU international level thanks to common instruments such as the study program, credits and the learning agreement.
The ECTS system is characterized by the following points:
— It is focused on the work that students accomplish to achieve the objectives of the study program, defined in terms of learning outcomes and competences to be acquired,
— It has no effect on the content of study and training programs offered, but rather provides a unit, the credit, for measuring the student workload; i.e., the amount of work that students are expected to do for each course,
— 1 credit represents 25 to 30 hours of student work (including attending courses, practicing technical skills, artistic experimentation, library research, etc.),
— 1 year of study = 60 credits. The 1st cycle = 3 years of study = 180 credits; the 2nd cycle = 2 years of study = 120 credits,
— Each year of study is made up of 2 semesters: 1 semester = 30 credits,
— Each Course Unit (CU, UC in French) corresponds to one semester-long course and is worth a certain number of credits,
— Course Units are described in terms of objectives, content and methods, how students are to be assessed in that course, and how many credits each CU is worth,
— Students are granted credits by the professor or teaching team that assesses their acquisition of the learning outcomes and skills taught in the given CU.
— A cycle is completed when students have earned all the credits that the course program for that cycle requires.
In 2006-2007, the École implemented the ECTS system currently being adopted by all higher learning institutions across the European Union.
This change is preliminary to the École’s complete alignment with the European Union higher education degree system known as BMD (LMD in French)—Bachelor’s (Licence), Master’s, Doctoral degrees—wherein the Bachelor’s (Licence) is obtained after a 3-year cycle of study, the Master’s after an additional 2-year cycle, and the Doctorate after a further 3-year cycle.