If you are looking to undertake further study such as an MSc or PhD in Europe you will need to know how your degree is compared with equivalent qualifications at European institutions. The European Credit Transfer Scheme (ECTS) was the result of the Bologna Agreement and is intended to produce compatibility and comparability between degree awards.

The agreement defines three cycles which are interpreted as Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Research degree (PhD). By completing degree programmes, students are awarded ECTS points. These points are awarded for satisfactorily completing modules of the course. A Bologna compliant Cycle 1 degree, such as our BEng degree requires 180 ECTS organised as 60 ECTS for each of the three years. An integrated Master’s degree such as our MEng degree covers cycles 1 and 2 together and must have minimum of 270 ECTS to be compliant.

At present at least, Bologna compliance is separate from accreditation as a professional qualification (in our case accreditation by The IET for Chartered Engineer status). Bologna compliance will be of concern when applying to a European university for a higher degree. It may be that the university requires a Bologna compliant Bachelor’s degree for admission to a Master’s programme or a Bologna compliant Master’s for admission to a PhD programme.

Each 9-month academic year of a degree should yield 60 ECTS. This is based on the proposition that an academic year will require 1,500-1,800 hours of student effort. Universities then award 1 ECTS for each 25-30 hours of student effort. Student effort is classroom time, lab time, project work, private study and revision.

ECTS explained

ECTS Credits for your degrees

Our BEng programme (EIE or EEE) earns 60 ECTS per Part and 180 in total and is thus Bologna compliant.

Students on the MEng stream should check the Award of Honours document for the year they entered for the ECTS break down. 

What about extra ECTS Credits?

Students are able to register work experience or UROP projects in summer vacations and have these assessed for award of further ECTS. A typical summer internship of 10 weeks would be credited with 15 ECTS and will be added to the student transcript. Extra-curricular study can, in some circumstances, also earn further ECTS.

Extra-curricular activities eligible for ECTS accrual 

This is the list of extracurricular activities which the College has approved for annotation (if successful) on the degree transcript. 

In order for an activity to be assessed as worthy of ECTS credits, it must have clearly defined objectives and criteria for assessment — and the student must satisfy them.

  • College extracurricular courses.  These must be complete, assessed College courses (e.g. those run by Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication), and undertaken outside College hours, e.g. in evenings.  Courses undertaken as part of your degree are already ECTS accredited and do not count under this scheme.  ECTS: 6 per course.
  • Industrial internships . These must be directly related to engineering or its industrial or business context and be sufficiently demanding in nature to exercise a range of interpersonal and intellectual skills. Between 6 and 12 full-time (37h) weeks, or their equivalent part-time, in duration; and external to the College.  ECTS: 1.5 per full working week.
  • UROP or other research placements.  These must be sufficiently demanding in nature to exercise a range of analytical and intellectual skills; between 6 and 12 full-time weeks in duration; and undertaken during vacations at the end of the second and third years of study. ECTS: 1.5 per full working week, 15 maximum on a single project.

How do I register an extracurricular for ECTS?

Before you undertake the activity, check that it is eligible for ECTS credit (see above)

For UROP or industrial placements, you'll need to do some research.  There are resources to help you identify employers and prepare you for interview and assessment. 

To register your activity you will be emailed by Emma Rainbow at the end of the Spring term 2021. 

Applications received by email will not be accepted

Once your application has been approved you are ready to begin the activity, bearing in mind that you will need to report on it afterwards for assessment.  NB: You cannot apply for ECTS credit after you have commenced the activity.  Approval must be given before you start.


How will my activity be assessed?

Learning outcomes and assessment criteria

For modules taught within the College and taken by students under the Professional Development scheme as an extracurricular activities, learning outcomes are defined in conventional academic terms and are assessed by conventional methods e.g. exams and coursework.

For research, UROP and industrial internship activities assessment is in two parts:
  1. You should prepare a journal or report (max 5 pages)  describing your activity and reflecting on how it has helped your professional and personal development. Your placement supervisor will sign this form to approve the report and that they are happy with your placement.  You will also discuss your report with your personal tutor or course advisor.  Your report will be assessed by your tutor/course advisor who will recommend (or not) the award of ECTS credit.  The Undergraduate Office will report the extra credit to Registry for annotation to your academic record. 

training objectives for ECTS

ECTS Objectives
Personal developmentTechnical developmentBusiness development
 Self management  Engineering practice  Commercial and financial implications
 Communication skills  Engineering principles   Organisational skills
 Comprehension   Problem solving  
 Personal and social skills  Technical achievement