The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is used across Europe for credit transfer between institutions of higher education.
This helps European higher educational institutions to translate academic credit marks between institutions. The System was developed as a result of the Bologna Process, an inter-governmental series of agreements with the objective of creating a single European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010. The process led to the Bologna declaration, a joint declaration signed by 29 European Ministers of Education in 1999. See here for more information on the Bologna Process.
How ECTS works
ECTS is based on the principle that 60 higher education academic credits measure the workload of a full-time university student during a single academic year. The expectation is that the workload of a full-time university study programme in Europe equates, in most instances, to approximately 1500-1800 hours per year and in such cases one ECTS credit represents approximately 25-30 working hours.
ECTS credits and points allocation
ECTS credits are allocated to all educational components of a higher education study programme (including modules, courses, placements, dissertation work, etc.) and reflect the quantity of work required by each individual component in order to achieve specific objectives or learning outcomes relative to the total quantity of work necessary to successfully complete a full year of study. A UK undergraduate degree equates to 180 ECTS credits and a UK Master’s degree (two semesters plus dissertation) equates to 90 ECTS credits.
ECTS student work placements
For student work placements, ECTS may also be used to identify learning outcomes during a placement. For example, if an employer requires a student to undertake research and create a report on the findings, and the estimated time to complete this task would be 60 hours, the task could be awarded a weighting of 2 ECTS credits. The learning outcomes of this task would therefore be ‘research’ and ‘report writing’.
Please note: University of East Anglia students participating in work placement activity are expected to achieve the equivalent of 60 ECTS credits during a year (or 30 ECTS credits for a single semester). A transcript of work will be required at the end of the placement to identify performance levels within the identified learning outcomes.
How many modules do I need to take?
A standard UEA undergraduate semester is 60 University Credit Units (UCS), normally made up from between 1 – 4 modules totalling this amount. The ECTS equivalent is 30 ECTS. Therefore, the conversion rate from UCU to ECTS is 2:1, so 120 UCU is equal to 60 ECTS (a full academic year’s workload).
Modules at UEA may be comprised of one or more of a number of different elements: Lecture; Seminar/Tutorial; Workshop; Orals; Lab work; Studio Time; Field Work; Placement
Depending upon module enrolments, actual classroom contact time may be between 2 - 8 hours per module per week.
For modules where there is less contact time at UEA, the student is expected to do personal study as outlined by the module handbook given to each student at their first contact point for the module.
For more information on studying at UEA, please visit the Incoming student pages.
How does the ECTS Grading System work?
The University of East Anglia undergraduate grading system is marked out of 100%, with a standard pass mark of 40%.
Visiting/Exchange students awarded a mark below the 40% pass mark will be offered the opportunity to resit if they require a passing mark for their home institution. Please note: the re-assessment does not fall under the general fee structure, and so all re-assessed students (UEA or visiting/exchange) will be required to pay an additional re-assessment fee per module re-assessed.
Re-assessments must be completed on the University of East Anglia campus at the specified time during the re-assessment period. If students are unable to return to the University for re-assessment, it may be possible to make alternative arrangements for an additional fee; however, this can only be offered to students on a concessionary basis.
The maximum pass mark available at re-assessment is 40%, regardless of whether the student completed the re-assessment at a higher standard.
In respect of Visiting/Exchange students, the Board of Examiners does not consider whether they progress (as this is regulated by the students’ home institutions). However, the Board of Examiners shall review the marks achieved by Visiting/Exchange students and confirm whether they have achieved the same standards of satisfactory completion in accordance with University regulations and report this to the home institution. In the event that the Visiting/Exchange student has not achieved the pass mark in the module(s) undertaken at the University and the home institution requires the pass mark to be achieved in all modules, the Board of Examiners shall offer the opportunity of re-assessment to the student in all failed modules.
Classification of grades
Final Award Mark
First Class Honours
70% - 100%
Upper Second Class Honours
60 - 69%
Lower Second Class Honours
50% - 59%
Third Class Honours
40% - 49%