In the context of student exchange programmes, the recognition of studies is carried out by means of the transfer of ECTS credits and grades obtained by a student that studied abroad. This means that the original institution of the student, the home institution, transfers the grades and credits into its own academic records. In this way, the work that the student carried out abroad substitutes the work (including assessment and grades) he/she would have done at home had the student exchange not taken place.
What are ECTS Credits?
The concept of the ECTS Credit is based on a mutually agreed assumption that the annual workload of a student represents 60 credits. Student workload is estimated at being a value between 1500 and 1680 hours work per year. The value is based on a presumption that the average student works for 40 weeks per year with an average weekly workload of 40 hours. The workload includes, apart from class time, individual study time, preparation of reports, bibliographical research, preparation of examinations, etc. Dozens of countries throughout the European continent are adopting ECTS Credits for credit accumulation purposes in a concerted effort to improve the transparency and legibility of the many and varied degree structures, types and traditions that have evolved over hundreds of years of higher education in Europe.
How does ECTS work in the context of student mobility?
The ECTS User Guide states that ECTS is a system is based on three core elements: information (on study programmes and student achievement), mutual agreement (between the partner institutions and the student) and the use of the ECTS credits. Once signed by the student, the sending institution and the receiving institution, the "Learning Agreement"-Press here»(pdf) commits all three to fully recognise that the study period abroad (including examinations or other forms of assessment) replaces a comparable period of study at the sending institution (including examinations or other forms of assessment), though the content of the agreed study programme may differ. Since the "learning agreement" is signed before the student travels abroad, the hosting institution should provide detailed information on the courses and course units available, in order to give students and their academic advisers/coordinators the opportunity to make course unit choices. The document used to inform the student is called the "ECTS information pack" (in Portuguese, "dossiê de informações ECTS").
What to do after your exchange has been approved? After your both own university and ISCEM have approved your exchange, you can start arranging practical matters for your exchange. The most important next steps are:
When does "credit transfer" take place?
Credit Transfer takes place at the end of the study abroad period when the home institution of the student receives the final transcript of records from the institution abroad where the student studied containing the grades and ECTS credits awarded to the student. At the ISCEM the procedure is that the ERASMUS Departmental Coordinator formalises the grade and credit transfer by sending our Academic Services a table indicating the course units, grades and credits obtained by the student in order to include the block of course units, successfully completed by the student abroad, in the student’s academic record.
Are there any other forms necessary within the student's application besides the ECTS Learning Agreement? The ECTS Learning Agreement must be sent to to hosting institution before the student travels abroad. It must be accompanied by an "Application Form"-(press here)
and a Transcript of Academic Records issued by the student's home institution. The hosting institution may require additional forms to be filled out, for example, application forms for accommodation, language courses etc. It is the responsibility of the receiving institution to ensure the existence of clear guidelines (on-line or paper copies) for students to follow. At the ISCEM, these guidelines are given in the website of the International Office.
At the ISCEM we also have an PROOF OF RECOGNITION
The Instituto Superior de Comunicação Empresarial-ISCEM is providing the ECTS dossiers for three outgoing students in the order presented in the application form:»Transcript of Records provided before the mobility period.
Note that the TR provided before the mobility is a certificate written in Portuguese, once the translation was performed directly from the Information System of the University, which is available in Portuguese only at the current time (except for the purpose of issuing the Diploma Supplement after graduation). »Learning Agreement
(with changes where applicable)»Transcript of Records received after the mobility»Proof of recognition
The documentation on “proof of recognition” includes:
a)An internal document called “Acordo-Sistema Académico” celebrated between the student and the ERASMUS Departmental coordinator, in which, prior to the mobility, and at the time of changes to the original LA, both agree to a “plan of equivalences”
b)When the students arrive the Cientific Council has a meeting and recognizes the equivalences to the disciplines done, giving a document to the student with the recognized notes.
c)The proof that a) and b) have been fulfilled by the University is provided in the “CERTIDÃO” (i.e. the current transcript of records), where the agreed equivalence plan is fulfilled and can be easily detected. The notes will be put in a data base and can be seen. *
* Within the context of student mobility, the total number of ECTS attributed to the student at the home University can suffer very slight variations from the total number of ECTS gained by the student at a host University. According to Portuguese legal requirements, all course units of the approved national programme must be accounted for in the final transcript. Therefore, this variation is a result of different credits in the study programmes of the partner institutions.
How many ECTS Credits should a student complete?
Since the annual workload of a student is calculated at 60 ECTS, students should seek to earn 60 ECTS credits for a full year mobility period, or 30 ECTS for one semester.The ECTS credits taken at the receiving institution must have been previously calculated by the receiving institution and must be clearly identified in the institution’s course catalogue (on-line or paper version) so that the student can make his/her course unit choices before the mobility period begins.
What is the deadline for submitting the ECTS Application Form and Learning Agreement?
The receiving institution determines the deadline for receipt of applications. Where the ISCEM is the receiving institution the deadline is 1 July for 1st semester applications or 1 December for 2nd semester applications. Applications must be filled in by the student. However, the student is not responsible for collecting the remaining signatures and sending the ECTS AF and LA. This is the responsibility of the sending Institution.
Where should the Application Form & Learning Agreement be sent to?
In the case of the ISCEM, the application form and learning agreement are handled by the International Office
When is it appropriate to sign the “Changes to the Original ECTS Learning Agreement”?
Students may have to modify the agreed programme of study upon arrival at the receiving institution. Any changes to the LA must be obtained in order to guarantee full recognition of all course units followed abroad. Changes should be agreed upon a short time after the student’s arrival at the receiving institution. The Changes should be prepared and signed by the student and sent to the sending institution. The student is not responsible for collecting the signatures. This is the responsibility of the sending institution.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION ON THE PORTUGUESE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM - Press here»(pdf)