Explanatory note on UK course structure, credit frameworks and the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
UK degrees are generally made up from fewer, ‘bigger’ courses than in Europe i.e. modules of 30 and 15 credits (15 and 7.5 ECTS). The European Framework for Qualifications sets out the overall expected credits for the award at each level:
- Masters – 120‐240 (60‐120 ECTS) – the STL is 240 (120 ECTS)
- Undergraduate level – min 360 (UK) 180 (ECTS) – STB is 360 (180 ECTS)
At master’s level, modules are awarded 15 ECTS as they cover a wider range of material as well as requiring extended in‐depth study of more specialist subjects and the written assignments are longer longer pieces of work. Students also receive one‐to‐one tutorials and supervision on the dissertation. The composition of these licentiate programmes reflects this practice.
At undergraduate level, modules are typically 7.5 ECTS for one term of study or 15 ECTS for a course which is taught over two terms. This reflects the number of teaching hours, the number of written assignments and the final assessment requirements.
Practice in the UK equates one ECTS credit with two UK credits. One UK credit equates to 10 notional study hours and one ECTS credit corresponds to 25 to 30 hours of work. The UK ‘notional’ study hours are based on the 2 formal teaching terms/semesters in a normal academic year. In addition to this students work during vacations on project work, written course work or dissertations and preparation for written assessment and examinations in the summer term.
Heythrop College has adopted the national credit framework that is audited by the Quality Assurance Agency in the UK (a member of ENQA) and which is compliant with the Bologna Process. The College was most recently audited by the QAA in 2011 and gained the result of “full assurance”. Credits from College courses of study are recognized by Heythrop’s more than 25 partner universities in Europe for students in the Erasmus programme at both undergraduate and master’s levels.
It is also important to note that the UK practice is that credit is awarded for the achievement of learning outcomes at the appropriate level and not on workload only. UK credit practice has been successfully self‐certified with the aid of independent European experts as in conformity with the Bologna Process.