What are ECTS credits?

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At LUT University, we want the application process to our studies to be as easy as possible. However, our admission services regularly receive questions related to issues which might differ between universities in the international education field. In this blog, we want to tackle ECTS credits and clarify what they mean from the perspective of the applicant. In addition, we will briefly review the scope of our courses in general.

What are ECTS credits?

The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is a tool which is designed to make it easier for students to move between countries and be able to recognise their academic qualifications and previous studies. The system aims to enhance the flexibility, comparability and transparency of study programmes for students from different countries. Moreover, the ECTS framework helps students and universities to define the courses’ workload. That is why Finland, among many other countries in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), has adopted ECTS as their national credit system. However, depending on the country, one ECTS credit may equal on average between 25 and 30 actual study hours.

What does ECTS mean in practice?

In Finland, a standard academic year refers to 60 ECTS credits of full-time study or work. The duration of Bachelor’s studies at LUT University is three years (180 ECTS credits) and that of Master’s studies is two years (120 ECTS credits).

Usually, these 60 ECTS credits are broken down into several smaller modules or courses. For example, at LUT University, one course can vary from 2 ECTS credits to 7 ECTS credits depending on the workload of the course. To get the ECTS credits, you must complete the required workload and pass the course with an approved grade.

1 ECTS credit = 27 hours of work → 60 ECTS credits = 1620 hours of work

The workload of 27 hours can include lectures, assignments, or self-study depending on the teaching methods of the course. The course examples below show what that could mean in practice. The examples are based on official course information provided by LUT University.

Example 1: Cross-Cultural Issues in International Business

6 ECTS credits = 160 hours of work

  • Lectures (15 hours)
  • Preparation for lectures (4 hours)
  • Case study workshop (2 hours)
  • Term paper presentation seminar (4 hours)
  • Writing of term paper, preparations for case study and term paper presentations (65 hours)
  • Written exam and preparation for exam (65 hours)

Example 2: Basics of Database Systems

3 ECTS credits = 78 hours of work

  • Lectures and tutorials (28 hours)
  • Independent weekly exercises (28 hours)
  • Project work (22 hours)

Why do I need ECTS credits when applying to studies?

Some programmes have minimum requirements for admission to studies. Usually, that includes previous programme-specific studies completed in a specified educational institution. When you apply to a programme, you are responsible for converting the required and completed previous studies into ECTS credits and presenting them in your application form. Your previous studies should be listed by discipline and course as follows:

1 ECTS credit = a workload of 27 hours 

Example 3: Applying to the Master’s programme in Global Management of Innovation and Technology

Admission requires

  • a minimum of 24 ECTS credits (=648 hours of work) of programme-specific studies in any of the following fields: industrial engineering and management, information technology, mathematics or statistics, completed at a university or university of applied sciences.

If you are not sure, how to convert your previous studies to ECTS, please don’t hesitate to contact our Admission Services.

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