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The ECTS system

The abbreviation ECTS stands for European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System.
This system is used in the field of international student mobility activities, which include the SOCRATES/ERASMUS programme, to enable fair and equal recognition of the workload taken on by the students in the various countries of the European Union.
It is based on the student and on the workload required to meet the objectives of a study programme, preferably expressed in terms of learning outcomes and skills to be acquired.

A certain number of ECTS educational credits is provided for all courses offered by universities in the European Union. Each EU Member State has its own system for evaluating educational workloads through national educational credits. In Italy, for example, one university education credit (1 CFU) is equivalent to one ECTS credit.

The correspondence may be different in other European countries; however, information is normally provided in ECTS credits, or it is possible to find out the multiplier coefficient to be applied to the number of (national) credits indicated for the courses proposed

Key characteristics of the ECTS
  • The ECTS is based on the understanding that 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student over an academic year. The workload of a full-time study programme in Europe is equivalent in most cases to 36/40 weeks per year and in those cases a credit is a workload of between 25 and 30 hours per week. The workload refers to the theoretical time in which it is believed that an average student can obtain the required learning outcomes.
  • Credits are also a way of quantifying learning outcomes. The learning outcomes are a set of skills that express what the student will know, understand and be able to do on completion of the learning process, however long or short that may be. The ECTS credits may only be capitalised once students have completed the work requested or after obtaining appropriate assessment of their performance.
  • ECTS credits are distributed according to the official length of a study cycle. The total workload required to obtain a bachelor’s degree with an official length of three or four years is expressed as 180 or 240 credits.
  • The student’s workload in the ECTS system includes the time dedicated to attending lectures and seminars, personal study, preparing for and sitting examinations, etc.
  • The credits are divided between all the educational activities of a study programme (such as modules, courses, internships, oral reports, etc.) and reflect the amount of work that each individual activity requires in relation to the total amount of work required to complete a whole year of studies in the programme in question.
  • The student’s performance is supported by a score. It is good practice to add an ECTS score, especially when transferring credits. The ECTS grading scale classifies students on a statistical basis. The following scores are assigned to students who have successfully passed the examination:
    • A to the best 10%
    • B to the next 25%
    • C to the next 30%
    • D to the next 25%
    • E to the next 10%

A distinction is made between the FX and F scores that are used for students who have not passed the examination. FX means: "failed – a limited additional effort required to pass" and F means: "failed – a considerable additional effort is required to pass".

See the related sites and the documentation attached to find out more

ECTS Information for international students

In the Italian grading system, students are graded on a scale of 0 to 30, with 18 as the pass mark. A cum laude may be added to the highest grade (30 cum laude), as a special distinction.

The lowest pass mark is 18. Grades from 18 to 30 are all used.

Actual grading curves differ from programme to programme. The Università di Brescia provides an ECTS Grading Table showing the actual distribution of examination and final grades among students of the different study areas (Law, Engineering, Economics and Medicine), thus allowing comparison with other grading systems.

Please find below the Italian to ECTS grades conversion and distribution tables (see attachments at the bottom of the page)