1. What is ECTS?
2. How does ECTS system compare to credit points system in other countries?
3. What is a Diplomat Supplement?
4. Will I receive academic or credit recognition at home if I take part of an exchange programme?
5. What is a Learning Agreement?
6. What if the curriculum at the host school is different from that at the home institution?
7. What about examinations? ——————————————————————————————————————-
To facilitate academic and credit recognition, the majority of European higher education institutions have adopted the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). This system provides a common scale for measuring in credits the student workload required to complete course units (for example, one full year of studies generally amounts to sixty credits). More information can be found under Mobility & Recognition on this website.
For detailed information about the various systems of credit points in the world, please see the document The International Recognition of Studies and Qualifications in Higher Music Education under the section Mobility & Recognition of the website.
The Diplomat Supplement (DS) is a document attached to a higher education diploma aiming at improving international ‘transparency’ and facilitating the academic and professional recognition of qualifications (diplomas, degrees, certificates, etc.). It is designed to provide a description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies that were successfully completed by the individual named on the original qualification to which this supplement is appended. More information about the Diploma Supplement can be found under the section Mobility & Recognition of the website.
The exchange agreement made by your institutions should have a clear provision in relation to academic or credit recognition. An exchange study period should be an integral part of the programme of study at your home institution. Full academic recognition should be given for the study period abroad, as decided upon in the learning agreement between the home and the host institution. Make sure the host institution provides you with documents of proof about the courses you have followed, the credit points obtained, performances you took part in, what kind of assessments you were asked to do, and so on before returning home. A short evaluation letter from your principal teacher can also help.
For most exchanges, an agreement will be drawn up before the exchange takes place, with details on the courses the student will be taking. In the framework of exchanges within Europe, this agreement is an essential part of an exchange arrangement and is called the Learning Agreement: the Learning Agreement is a contract that indicates precisely what courses you will be studying. Students are expected to complete a Learning Agreement well before they arrive: it should be signed by the student, the relevant persons in the home institution, and the relevant person in the host institution. Subsequent modifications to the Learning Agreement are permitted as long as all parties concerned agree on them. At the end of the study period abroad, the host institution will provide the exchange student as well as the sending institution with a transcript reporting the results obtained in the agreed programme of study. The Learning Agreement should contain information about the course (name, number of credit points, the type of assessment) and some general information about the student.
A different curriculum should be the very reason why you want to go on an exchange! You will have to discuss with the responsible person in your institution whether certain courses at the host institute can replace courses you would have to take at the home institution. In this situation, it is vital that there has been sufficient contact about the content of the Learning Agreement beforehand. In some cases, students do not attend all subjects needed in their study programmes during their exchange period at the host institutions, and therefore are unable to bring back the required number of ECTS credits. In these cases, the home institution may ask you to do additional work afterwards, especially if the lacking courses are compulsory for the successful completion of your qualification.
In an ideal exchange programme, in which both institutions have sufficient trust in each other’s quality and assessment standards, the examination procedure you will follow should be the one adopted by the host institution. This may involve written papers and oral and/or performance examinations. In general, you should not have to pass another examination in your home institution to receive academic recognition for your study abroad period.