ECTS is part of the ΕRASMUS Programme (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) and its aim is to promote the processes of recognition of study among cooperating institutes in Europe. It was first used in the academic year 1992-93, and it enables students to recognize the part of their studies that was realized in universities abroad.
More specifically, ECTS is a system for the transfer of credits among European Universities. This is achieved through the support of transparency in their study programmes and student achievements. ECTS reflects the content, structure, equivalence and correspondence of academic programmes, which are quality criteria for University Institutes participating in the programme and defined by the latter in such a way as to create appropriate conditions for cooperation agreements.
ECTS credits of each course reflect or correspond to the workload (theory, laboratories, seminars, projects, examinations) required from the student for the successful completion of the course. That is, ECTS is based on the total workload of the student, and is not limited to course hours.
The basic ECTS principles are as follows:
- Credits are distributed to courses in such a way as the workload of one academic year corresponds to 60 credits.
- 60 ECTS credits equal studies of two semesters (30+30) or three quarters (20+20+20).
- Universities have to organize a full course programme offered to foreign students, including the number of credits corresponding to each course.
- Before departure of the outgoing student for a foreign country, the home institution will have to sign a “learning agreement” with the host university and the student. The agreement will clearly describe the student’s programme of study abroad and will be accompanied by a Transcript of Records, which will document the academic performance of the student.
- The host university will provide the student with a Transcript of Records for all courses they attended successfully abroad, which will also record the credits for each course.
- The home institution will have to recognize the courses and corresponding credits gained by students during their stay at the cooperating foreign institutions, so that these credits replace the credits gained from the home university during an equal period of study.
In Aristotle University of Thessaloniki the ECTS is applied to all schools.
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