ECTS Information Guide Geography was created due to the collaborative effort of scholars of the Faculty of Earth Sciences and individuals from other university units. The Information Package is available in English and Polish and can be found on the internet (http://www.us.edu.pl/).
The Information Package is addressed to candidates and students who wish to study geography at the Faculty of Earth Sciences. It includes the basic procedures of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) developed by the Commission of the European Communities to ensure that student’s achievements obtained at host institutions abroad will receive academic recognition at the home institution. ECTS enables the participating higher education institutions to recognize student’s achievements in learning thanks to commonly accepted assessment tools – credits and grades. ECTS can also be used within a single institution or among numerous institutions within a single country.
Principles of ECTS ECTS is based on the principle of mutual trust and confidence between the participating higher education institutions. Three elements are the foundation of ECTS: information (on curriculum and student’s achievements), agreement (between the participating institutions and a student), and use of ECTS credits. In practice, these three elements are related to three key documents:
ECTS INFORMATION PACKAGE – this is the major source of information on curriculum. It is updated anually and serves as a guide to the higher education institution and its units. It contains information on requirements for admission, academic calendar, student’s accommodation etc. The description of courses is an essential part of the information package and it includes contents of courses and their status, level, prerequisites, timetable, types of assessment, ECTS credits etc.
Learning AGREEMENT – includes the curriculum and number of credits available at the host institution and is drawn up by the student and institutions involved before the student goes abroad.
Transcript of records– includes the learning achievements of the student prior to and after the period of study abroad. Every course taken by the student is recorded on the transcript of records with not only the ECTS credits but also the grade awarded according to the local grading scale and the ECTS grading scale. The combination of grades and ECTS credits reflects the student’s performance both qualitatively and quantitatively.
ECTS credits constitute a value allocated to course units to describe a student’s workload which is required to complete successfully. They reflect the quantity of work each course requires in relation to the total quantity of work required to complete a full academic year of study at the institution including lectures, classes, laboratory practicals and field trainings, seminars, individual work – in a library or at home – and examinations or other forms of assessment. Thus credits express a relative value. In ECTS, 60 credits represent the workload of a year of study; usually 30 credits are given for a semester. ECTS credits can be awarded for practical projects and to thesis preparation when these activities are an assessed part of the official programme of study. ECTS credits are allocated to courses and awarded to students who successfully complete those courses by passing examinations or other assesments.
ECTS GRADING SCALE Results of examinations and other types of assessment are usually expressed in grades. There are many grading systems in Europe. The ECTS grading scale has been developed to help institutions to interpret grades given to a student by a host institution. The ECTS grading scale provides additional information on student’s performance and it does not replace the grading system of the home institution. The higher education institutions make their own decision on how to adopt the ECTS grading system to their own systems.