On this page you will find information about the crediting systems used in Finland (ECTS) and how they can be converted or transferred into other credit systems used around the world.
The practices of transferring credits vary from institution to institution and students are encouraged to make a study plan and discuss the credit transfer in advance with a coordinator at their home institution. Home universities make the final decisions about transferring credits
Credit systems are used to assess students’ progress in their studies. Students are required to earn a certain number of credits, i.e. pass a certain number of courses, with a passing grade in order to be entitled to full-time student status. Each course is worth a certain number of credits determined by different criteria including student’s workload, learning outcomes and contact hours. The more work and effort a student is required to put into a course, the more credits that course is worth.
The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System or ECTS is a common European credit system for higher education. Institutions use it either as their principle grading system or as a secondary grading system for exchange students. The credits are based on the learning outcomes of students as well as the general workloads.
The learning outcome refers to what students are expected to have learned during a course. The learning outcome includes the ability to demonstrate learnt knowledge via exams or essays. The workload refers to the amount of time it takes an average student to achieve the required learning outcome. The workload also includes lectures, seminars, independent study, preparing for exams, taking exams, excursions etc.
The ECTS was first used in 1989. The ECTS is the only study credit system which has been successfully tested and used all over Europe. Originally the ECTS was formed to make it easier to transfer credits completed abroad, and thus promote student exchange in Europe. The ECTS has since been developed into a study credit accumulation system in accordance with the main goals of the Bologna declaration of June 1999.
The ECTS is based on an agreement in which one academic year of full-time studying equals 1500 – 1800 hours, which amounts to 60 ECTS-credits. In Europe, a full-time student’s workload is most often 36 – 40 weeks each year, which means that one study credit represents 25 – 30 hours of work.
The credit transfer and accumulation systems vary outside Europe. In some countries, there is no consensus for credit transfer and accumulation and the systems may vary greatly even among the institutions of a single country. For most credit systems, conversion rates can be easily found online. For example, a quick google search will tell you that 5 ECTS are equal to roughly 2.5 US credits.