ECTS and Grading system
ECTS makes teaching and learning in higher education more transparent across Europe and facilitates the recognition of all studies.
What does ECTS stand for?
ECTS stands for "European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System System". ECTS is a tool of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) for making studies and courses more transparent and thus helping to enhance the quality of higher education. ECTS was instituted in 1989, within the Erasmus programme, as a way of transferring credits that students earned during their studies abroad into credits that counted towards their degree, on their return to studying in their home institution. In the following years, it came to be used not only for transferring credits, on the basis of workload and achieved learning outcomes, but also for accumulating them in institutions’ degree programmes. ECTS helps in the design, description and delivery of programmes, makes it possible to integrate different types of learning in a lifelong learning perspective, and facilitates the mobility of students by easing the process of recognising qualifications and periods of study. [ECTS User’s Guide]
Credits and ECTS
ECTS credits express the volume of learning based on the defined learning outcomes and their associated workload. 60 ECTS credits are allocated to the learning outcomes and associated workload of a full-time academic year or its equivalent. The workload is an estimation of the time the individual typically needs to complete all learning activities such as lectures, seminars, projects, practical work, work placements and individual study required to achieve the defined learning outcomes in formal learning environments. One credit usually corresponds to 25 to 30 hours of work. [ECTS User’s Guide]
The University of Sassari implements the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to facilitate the transfer of acquired credits and the academic recognition of studies carried out abroad. As a general rule, at the University of Sassari, 1 CFU (University Educational Credit) credit equals 1 ECTS credit. The list of exams passed by the student, the relative scores and the acquired credits (CFU / ECTS), are reported in the "Transcript of Records", issued by the International Relations Office, according to the information provided by the structures responsible for teaching.
The Italian University System
Study programmes at the University of Sassari are offered at three levels - undergraduate, graduate and doctoral/specialization studies – which correspond to a three cycle system.
- The first cycle leads to a Bachelor’s Degree (Laurea) which is obtained after successful completion of a study programme with 180 ECTS credits. A first cycle study program lasts three years and it is aimed at providing students with general scientific methods and contents, as well as with specific professional knowledge.
- The second cycle leads to a Master’s degree (Laurea magistrale) which is obtained after successful completion of a study programme with 120 ECTS credits. It usually lasts two years and provides high qualification in highly specialized areas. Specific study programmes like Medicine, Veterinary, Law and Architecture are labelled as one-cycle study programmes ( Corsi di Laurea magistrale a ciclo unico) and leads to a master’s degree (Laurea magistrale), after completion of 300 or 360 ECTS credits . One-cycle study programmes usually last 5 or 6 years.
- The third cycle provides a Doctoral Degree (PhD), which is the highest academic degree aimed at developing the professional competence required to carry out high-level research in private companies, public entities, universities and research centres.
The university system also includes:
- postgraduate degree programmes of I level (accessible with a Bachelor’s Degree) and II level (accessible with a Master’s Degree). They are labelled in Italian as Master di I e II livello. They last one or two years and provide practical professional and specialist skills on specific subjects;
- Specialization degrees programmes, accessible with a Master’s degree, provided for specific areas, which may last from 2 to 5 years.
In Italian universities grades are given according to a scale ranging from 0 to 30, with 18 as a passing mark. Grades below 18 are a fail and are not registered. A cum laude may be added to the highest grade (30 e lode), as a special distinction.
The final graduation mark is given on the basis of 110 points. The minimum graduation mark is 66/110, whereas the maximum is 110/110. For outstanding students a cum laude distinction (110 cum laude) may be awarded.