Medicine, Health and Social Services Economics and Business Management Law, Administration and International Affairs Education, Media and Communication Arts, Culture and Building PhD Programs Study Course Search English Course Program Information Material Admission to Studies Studying and Bologna process ECTS Study Grants FAQs

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
Europe 2010

One of the central goals of the Lisbon Strategy (Europe 2010 = the most competitive and dynamic economic area in the world), which were adopted by the EU heads of state and heads of government in 2000, is the establishment of a European higher education area, which is to be coordinated in the Bologna Process. A truly European higher education area requires easy access to education offers in the tertiary field, open exchanges and transfer forms for knowledge and ultimately, the mobility of teachers and students. All of this should improve the quality of the tertiary education sector in Europe and increase the effectiveness of education.

Educational policy instrument

In the context of the Bologna Process, numerous educational policy instruments are being developed, one of which is ECTS. ECTS stands for “EUROPEAN CREDIT TRANSFER SYSTEM” in the tertiary education system. ECTS creates a system for assessment, transfer and accumulation of study credits within the European higher education area. The European Commission has compiled all the fundamental “core points” of the ECTS in a basic document.

Support for mobility and transparency

The ECTS especially supports the individual mobility of students as well as institutional exchanges between higher education institutions, which offer common curricula, educational events and modules. Access to assistance under the auspices of the ERASMUS programme has been available to the DUK since 2006 for both aspects. Within the ECTS, study programmes should be understood systematically and comparable in the context of the European higher education area. Through transparent study offers, students are better able to select their foreign studies in advance and the delegating higher education institutions can more readily assess and acknowledge the educational credits of others and vice versa.

Comparability and accumulation of study credits

Implementation of the ECTS takes place on an institutional level in the respective higher education institutes and on a national level via the corresponding regulations and laws. The legal basis can also be applied to the DUK study offers in postgraduate education. Thus comparability of study programmes is also created at the DUK with regard to the topics and study credits. The value of this comparability is clear in two respects: in questions of acceptance in the event of applications, the DUK can fall back on transparent proof of study according to the ECTS and if DUK graduates require recognition of study credits at other higher education institutes, a modern ECTS-based system for proof of study credits is available for them for the whole postgraduate course of study.

Lifelong learning

Moreover, studies will take place at various educational institutes and in several educational phases. Students will now be able to complete their studies on a cumulative basis. This perspective is in line with the concepts of more flexible educational paths and lifelong learning. In connection with this, ECTS is a system, which supports the accumulation of study credits in an instrumental manner and should increase the freedom of interchange between various levels of education and educational institutes for the individual as well as formulating the benchmark figures for university degrees. In doing so, a three-level Europe-wide study model is being introduced, which consists of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate studies. The positioning of postgraduate continuing education in this three-level system of study has not yet been definitively decided.

Calculations in the ECTS

The ECTS is a system geared towards the student (student-centred). The basis for awarding ECTS credits is the workload that the students must complete, in order to achieve the goals of a course of study or as the case may be, an “education programme”, goals that are preferably set out in the form of learner results and for acquisition of various competences. It should be possible to study for 60 credits within one academic year. In Austria, one ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 25 hours(1). This includes all activities that are part of the course of study such as pre and post processing of courses of study, the time during which one is required to be present at the higher education institute, provision of proof of study credits, e-learning, in the special case of the DUK, we take the practical achievements of our students into consideration as part of their study credits for the course of study. Nevertheless, we must realistically assume that a course of study parallel to employment cannot be studied to the same extent as a full-time course of study. The following calculations are based on the official basic data for a full-time course of study, with a view to the factually lower volume of study time in part-time courses of study, the corresponding alternatives are to be used.

1 Semester = 30 Credits  => 750 Hours workload => 1 Credit=25 hours workload
1 Trimester => 20 Credits => 500 hours workload => 1 Credit = 25 hours workload

(1)The workload differs between European countries between 24-30 hours per credit. This variation corresponds to the differing weekly working hours and cultural backgrounds, which are used as reference levels for the ECTS.

Information Guide ECTS


Mag. Dr. Brigitte Hahn, MAS

Phone: +43 (0)2732 893-2214
Fax: +43 (0)2732 893-4210
Danube University Krems
Office for Quality Management and Teaching Enhancement
Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30
3500 Krems, Austria