ECTS, the European Community Course Credit Transfer System, was developed by the Commission of the European Communities in order to provide common procedures to guarantee academic recognition of studies abroad. It provides a way of measuring and comparing learning achievements, and transferring them from one institution to another.

The Credit System

A national credit system is used by Swedish universities to show the scope of a course or study program. One week’s full-time study (40 hours) corresponds to 1.5 higher education credit (hp). Each semester is 20 weeks long, during which a student is expected to take 30 credits’ worth of courses. 1 Swedish credit is equal to 1 ECTS credit.

What is ECTS?

The ECTS system is based on the principle of mutual trust and confidence between the participating higher education institutions. The few rules of ECTS, concerning Information (on courses available), Agreement (between the home and host institution) and the use of Credits (to indicate student workload) are set out to reinforce this mutual trust and confidence.

The ECTS Credits

ECTS credits are a value allocated to course units to describe the student workload required to complete them. They reflect the quantity of work each course requires in relation to the total quantity of work required to complete a full year of academic study at the institution, that is, lectures, practical work, seminars, self-studies — in the library or at home — and examinations or other assessment activities. ECTS credits express a relative value.

In ECTS, 60 credits represent the workload of a year of study; normally 30 credits are given for a semester. It is important that no special courses are set up for ECTS purposes, but that all ECTS courses are mainstream course of the participating institutions, as followed by home students under normal regulations.

It is up to the participating institutions to subdivide the credits for the different courses. ECTS should be allocated to all the courses units available — compulsory or elective courses. Practical placements and optional courses, which form an integral part of the course of study, also receive academic credit. Credits are awarded only when the course has been completed and all required examinations have been successfully taken.

At Swedish universities credits are given for each course in terms of Swedish higher education credits. One week’s full-time study is equivalent to 1.5 credits and one academic year’s full-time study to 60 credits. Thus 1 Swedish credit is equivalent to 1 ECTS credit.

All exchange students receive ECTS credits on completed courses. On some courses the grades pass or fail are used for a part of the course such as laboratory work.

ECTS Grades

ECTS Grade

Percentage of successful students normally achieving the grade




EXCELLENT: Outstanding performance with only minor errors.



VERY GOOD: Above the average with only some errors.



GOOD: Generally sound work with a number of notable errors.



SATISFACTORY: Fair but significant shortcomings.



SUFFICIENT: Performance meets the minimum criteria.



FAIL: Some more work required before the credit can be awarded.



FAIL: Considerable further work is required.