Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) ECTS/DS

      Within the framework of the European program “National Teams of Bologna Experts 2011-2013”, NSF as a National Unit of the LLP/Erasmus program, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, has undertaken information action and organizes awareness-raising meetings on issues related to the proper implementation of the European Credits Transfer System (ECTS) as well as the issue of Diploma Supplement (DS) to all Higher Education Institutions of the country. 
      The Awareness-Raising Meetings are attended by H.E.Is students, who are or will be invited in the future to take part in the arrangement of the LLP/Erasmus program or in the decision-making regarding both ECTS system and Diploma Supplement (DS). On the one hand, these meetings offer in-depth information that is not always achieved in the crowded meetings organized by the National Unit/ SSF, while on the other hand, in the context of an interactive exchange of opinions, such meetings gives the National Unit the opportunity to better understand the difficulties of ECTS implementation and DS awarding that each Foundation is facing. The scope of these Awareness Meetings are the questions and answers that are coming to the surface. Their record has been carried out by National Unit’s officer who participated in the aforementioned meetings, while the answers were given by Mrs. Aikaterini Galanaki, National Expert (Bologna Expert), Head of International Relations and European Programs Office at the University of Economics and Business in Athens.

      1. What is the difference between training and unit credits ? 

      Training credits reflect the number of teaching hours per week. Unit credits refer to the time that students have to spend in order to achieve the expected learning outcomes. The workload includes all kinds of course’s educational components, hence the teaching hours as well. Having said that, it is obvious that the number of unit credits is bigger than the one of training credits.

      2. Does the Diploma Supplement mention the training credits as well ? 

      The Ministerial Decree on Diploma Supplement was adopted in 2006. It states that credits can also be displayed. This was included because Institutions were not familiar with credits implementation yet. However, nowadays, all countries participating in Bologna Process, refer only to credits and this is how disciplines can be clear. For instance, we have undergraduate degrees with a minimum of 180 credits, i.e. 3 years of studies, undergraduate degrees with 240 credits, i.e. 4 years of studies and postgraduate degrees with 60 credits, i.e. 2 semester of studies, etc.

      3. Training credits are clear, whereas unit credits are not: this is because a student can normally attend classes, so for him the workload has been regularly calculated, while another student who does not attend classes at all, since attendance in H.E.Is is not compulsory. In consequence, is it right to attribute the same number of credits to both of them?

      As a system, ECTS concerns ALL H.E.Is of countries Member States of EU as well as those of other countries involved in the Bologna Declaration. It applies to curricula where students regularly attend courses, carry out all the necessary educational procedures and successfully complete courses, under the workload that have been calculated to achieve the corresponding learning outcomes (per course and per semester). In consequence, the workload is the same for everyone.

      4. Does the credits conversion system in our national scoring system (0-10) is abolished within the framework of ECTS system?

      Until 2009, the ECTS system included the ECTS score scale, which, following students’ reports, was found to have been wrongfully used. This incorrect use has resulted in unfair grades attributed to students during the conversion of grades of the “Hosting” Foundation’s score system to the of “Home” Foundation, while the main objective of the scale was to fairly convert grades from one system to another. 
      In this light, the Scale has been abolished by the European Commission. A new solution which was not obligatory to be applied, has been proposed in Appendix 3 of the ECTS Guide, while it is not included in the Guide. As a system, ECTS does NOT interfere in the rating scale of EU Member States Institutions and does NOT abolish any national grading scale. What is absolutely necessary is: (a) the description of the score system in official transcripts sent by “Home” Institutions to the “Hosting” Institutions in order to attest student’s academic performance PRIOR to his/her departure abroad, b) the description of the “Hosting” Institution’s score system in official transcripts sent to the “Home” Institution, in order to attest the grades received by the student AFTER courses’ attendance and student’s successful results at the “Hosting” Institution. Having received these data, the “Home” Institution can proceed to credits recognition and transfer into its own score system. In addition, it is absolutely necessary for the score scale to be appeared on the appropriate website of each Foundation (e.g. Information about Erasmus Programme).

      5. Does this mean that we can delete the column and put a n/a (not applicable) in the Diploma Supplement?

      In the Diploma Supplement (sub-section 4.3) each course’s code, title, examination period, grade (according to the score system applied in our Foundation) and finally course’s credits are demonstrated by columns. In the corresponding sub-section of Diploma Supplement we certainly describe in details the rating system applied in our Foundation. No column with training credits need be included.

      6. As far as double degree incoming students (Erasmus Mundusstudents) or our students who come back from abroad are concerned, how will grades conversion be conducted? Is there something like grades conversion table or is it up to us (e.g. the Institution) to decide?

      It is never happen for an Institution to arbitrarily decide how to convert grades attributed by another one. The foreign Institution score scale, explained in details, is absolutely essential and has to be respected  by “Home” Institution during grades conversion process. This rule applies to ALL student mobility programmes, including Erasmus Mundus and TEMPUS as well. 

      7. In the LLP/Erasmus program, as regards students exchanges, have we to remove the column with ECTS Grades in outgoing students Official Transcripts, or not ? 

      You can keep grades A, B, etc. (in percentages) only in case that ECTS scale is applied correctly. If A means excellent, B means very well, etc., this does not correspond to the framework of the old ECTS score scale and in consequence, you should not use it.

      8. Why and how 30 has been introduced in the ECTS?

      In 1989, the European Commission launched ECTS, having many EU Universities participated in this a pilot phase. One of ECTS rules was that a student’s normal workload in to achieve the corresponding learning outcomes is interpreted by the number of 30 credits per semester, by 20 credits per trimester and by 60 credits per academic year. The institutions selected to participate in this phase, have implemented progressively the rules of the system in their Institution, while they supported this implementation through their annual reports to the European Commission. It is obvious that in students’ workload teaching hours per course have been taken into account as well as the heavy workload regarding other education activities. ECTS system and its rules is currently applying not only to EU institutions but also to Institutions of other countries participating in the Bologna Process, with the ultimate aim of academic recognition, students’ fair treatment and finally, diplomas’ recognition.

      9. On what basis are calculated credits for internships ?

      Credits are calculated according to students’ workload required to achieve the necessary learning outcomes, whether it concerns studies or internships. For instance, a three-months’ internship with successful learning outcomes has 20 credits, a semester has 30 credits , while an academic year has 60 credits.

      10. In which way undergraduate programmes are restructured every 6 months in order to have 240 credits in total ?

      According to ECTS, 30 credits reflect a regular student’s workload per semester. Based on this rule, academics in charge have to cooperate with each other and to attribute 30 credits to each semester. Detailed information is provided in the ECTS Guide:
      In English:
      In Greek:

      11. Is there the possibility for a student to get his diploma with more than 240 credits ?

      It is possible for a student to obtain his/her diploma with more than 240 credits, because in Greece there is a relevant legislation that gives this right to students. In such case it will appear at the end of the sub-section 4.3 of Diploma Supplement that the students has obtained his diploma with e.g. 256 credits, while in program’s official duration, in the relevant sub-section of Diploma Supplement Section 3, it will be disclosed 240 credits, since as a 4-year program it has this number of credits. For transparency reasons, it will be indicated in 6.1 that the graduate student has obtained the degree with more credits, because he made use of the specific legislation of 1987 that is giving him this right: Ministerial Decree 2166, Gov. Gazette No 308/Issue B/18-6-1987. As for additional courses grades and whether they will be taken into account in diploma’s average, it is necessary for such a decision to be taken by the General Assembly of Institution’s Faculty.

      12. How many credits are attributed to a Master’s degree ? 

      It may have at least 60 credits, i.e. to officially be of a duration of 2 semesters, 90 credits i.e. a duration of 3 semesters or even 120 credits i.e. a duration of 4 semesters.

      13. What actually is ECTS and DS Label system and when is it possible for a H.E.I. to lodge an application for its acquisition ? 

      ECTS and DS Label constitute honorary distinctions awarded by the European Commission (EU) to H.E.Is according to EU rules. They demonstrate Foundation's support for its graduates both at national and international level (they are issued in Greek and English upon official translation, without extra cost). They furthermore indicate Institution’s extroversion, its internationalized character and its international orientation. They are awarded upon foundation's request and evaluation by the European Commission - Directorate-General for Education and Culture. Applications are submitted annually under  provocation of European Commission. The statement is sent to all Institutions by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, while applications are submitted to the National Unit/SSF. For further information please visit the website of the National Unit/SSF:

      14. Can I interfere by making changes to the Diploma Supplement form?

      The Diploma Supplement has a specific template as defined by the EU 
      It consists of 8 sections and their sub-sections, according to the applicable numbering. An Institution cannot add or remove sections and/or sub-sections. The different Diploma Supplement sections and sub-sections have to be completed for each graduate in accordance with the explanatory information set out by the EU.

      15. Is there any “official” Greek translation for the Greek Diploma Supplements or is there a separate translation adopted by each University?

      Indeed, there is an official translation of Diploma Supplement to the Gov. Gazette No. 1091/10-8-2006 (p. 1,2 & 3) which has been promoted for several years now in all H.E.Is in Greece. No Foundation may create its own Diploma Supplement or translation. It has to follow the EU template

      16. Where can someone find the learning outcomes in the Diploma Supplement ? 

      Diploma Supplement sub-section 4.2 lists the learning outcomes relating to the diploma acquired by the graduate student.

      17. Who is responsible for writing diploma’s learning outcomes ?

      In the context of a collective effort, the President of the Department concerned together with all Professors are the ones responsible for the writing of diploma’s learning outcomes. Further information on the appropriate writing of learning outcomes are provided by the TUNING Project: “A guide to formulating Degree Program Profiles”: 

      18. Which are the main differences between teaching curricula? 

      H.E.Is of all countries participating in the Bologna process shall endeavor to describe the curricula learning outcomes, with the main aim of facilitating courses academic recognition. Traditional programs include only a description of courses’ content and not the learning outcomes, i.e. what the student will achieve, acquire and what he will be able to do after a successful completion of each course.

      19. On what basis is prepared a proper Information Package ? 

      The Information Package is prepared according to the instructions included in the ECTS User’s Guide (the link is provided to in question No 6). ECTS User’s Guide provide detailed and helpful information for the preparation of a correct Information Package.

      20. How the Study Guide has to be in order to provide clear and intelligible?

      According to the detailed instructions provided by the ECTS User’s Guide (see Checklist p.28 of the ECTS User’s Guide and p.36 of the corresponding Greek Guide).

      21. Which are the student centered study programmes? 

      Student-centered curricula focus on updated programs that have as their main objective the recognition of students’ workload, which does not only include the teaching hours but also all the other necessary educational processes. Furthermore, such programs have as their main characteristic students’ active participation in all the education activities included in each course. From the other side, the teacher-centered programmes are mainly focusing on teacher's teaching hours and on the minimum or less active students’ participation.

      22. How a close cooperation with a H.E.I. abroad could be sought?

      A) Control of the offered study program via internet  
      B) Language of instruction
      C) Academic calendar
      D) Courses equivalence at 80 % in respect of each course’s content.
      E) Learning outcomes roughly similar to those achieved by our students 
      F) Cost of living (be at normal levels and not too high) 
      G) Facilities offered to incoming students by the institution
      H) Control of the co-workers situation with the one of other international universities
      I) Staffed Erasmus Office according to Institution’s size 
      J) In the event that the student's curriculum includes “Free choices”, the academic coordinator may approve courses which are not offered in his own curriculum but he considers that they will be for student’s benefit. In this case, when the recognition will be made, the course has to keep the title given by the “Hosting” university.
      (K) On-site visit to the foreign university to explore the possibility of an eventual cooperation under Erasmus Program 
      L) Communication via e-mail between the two Institutions in order to seek information on the establishment of a cooperation in the framework of an Erasmus Program

      23. Is it Department’s Responsibility to prioritize credits transfer? 

      Every department, by taking into account academics involvement, decides about credits distribution per course. These credits must be respected by our partner Institutions, while at the same time we have to respect their own credits. We are not authorized of recognizing more or less credits than those given by the “Hosting” Foundation in the case of students in mobility.

      24. Who is responsible for learning outcomes writing?

      Learning outcomes shall be written solely and exclusively by each course’s instructor.

      25. As for a thesis prepared under supervision of a partner H.E.I. abroad within the framework of LLP/ERASMUS Program, could it be written only in English? Is there any relevant regulation within the framework of LLP/ERASMUS program or a relevant directive given by the National Unit/SSF which will legally allow students to do so in order to ensure their legitimate rights? 

      A thesis prepared under the supervision of a partner Institution abroad within the framework of LLP/ERASMUS program, is written in the language that is accurately reflected in the contract concluded between these Institutions. In this context, any language approved by both Institutions could be acceptable.

      26. Which procedure should be followed in case that corresponding courses receive more or less ECTS?

      When the academic signs the learning agreement, he verifies whether the courses that the student will attend abroad (Hosting Institution) possess the same credits as those of the “Home” Institution. If more credits attributed to “Hosting” Foundation’s courses, he should – upon approval - give him a language course. If less credits are attributed, we should take one more course into account, e.g. 6 courses of 5 credits at “Hosting” Institution, are equivalent to 5 courses of 6 credits at our own University, as long as the corresponding knowledge is covered. This is decided by the responsible academic.

      27. The courses chosen to be attended by the student at the “Hosting” Institution (abroad) do not correspond to any courses of the “Home” Institution.

      Moreover, there is the impression that no course can receive more than 5 ECTS, i.e. those given for the courses in the relevant curriculum.
      A student can leave abroad only if the issue of courses attendance at the “Hosting” Institution has been clarified. The student has to know in advance what he will attend at the “Hosting” Institution and which courses will be recognized after a successful completion. As for Erasmus Program, the courses must belong to the curriculum and, if they are not completed, free choices can be given in case that they are provided for in student's curriculum. Credits given by “Hosting” Institution shall be all recognized - neither less nor more. In case that the student chooses a course or a language (e.g. Swedish) that doesn’t belong in his curriculum, which he would like to attend, with the favorable opinion of the coordinator, they should be listed in Diploma Supplement sub-section 6.1. It is unusual for the “Hosting” Institution to give the exact same credits as those given by “Home” Institution. Moreover, it is necessary that courses’ learning outcomes to be checked by the responsible academic prior to student’s departure and not after his return. These indicate what the student will understand, what he will learn and what he will be able to do, if he will successfully complete this course. The courses are checked by the responsible academic and they are approved PRIOR to student’s departure, while they are recognized upon student’s return and the successful completion of the course.

      28. In case that a student has passed all the courses at the “Hosting” Institution but he wishes to not recognize two of them - due to the low score that he has received – and to be re-examined during the corresponding examination period at the “Home” Institution, does he have this right?

      Yes, the student has the right to do so, as long as such a thing is defined by internal regulations and applies to local students.

      29. In case that these two courses will be listed in the Diploma Supplement, is there any specific procedure so as to not pose a problem of overlapping the corresponding courses of the domestic curriculum?

      Once the student declares that he doesn’t wish to recognize these courses, they will obviously not be listed in the Diploma Supplement. Therefore there is no problem of overlapping.

      30. Sometimes, students who have a specific difficulty in passing a course, they choose to go to Erasmus and to pass it abroad. Can we prevent such an option?

      Students do not decide on their own which courses they will attend abroad. Academic Coordinator is the only responsible to agree or not with the courses that the student proposes to attend abroad. The Coordinator has therefor the potential to not authorize such an unacceptable choice. As a program, ERASMUS does not support or facilitate such choices.