Many students are looking for an easier way to study medicine by utilising something called ECTS, also known as the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. It was originally designed to help ERASMUS students and their study exchange program but is now widely used throughout Europe for Bachelor, Master’s and Doctorate degrees. This system is used to help students transfer credits from one medical university to another medical program in an easy and seamless transition.
What is the ECTS?
The credit system helps to equalise the credits a student will achieve throughout his or her degree and makes it comparable all across the European Union countries. Students studying a course in EU countries can go abroad and obtain a degree that is universally recognised and accepted throughout the EU. For example, if you take a joint-degree or study a semester abroad or even an Erasmus study program; your home university will be able to keep track of the number of hours you’ve studied thanks to the “credit transfer” system. Paperwork is another thing that’s simplified as it’s easier to estimate the complexity of the class or thesis based on the number of credits offered upon completion. This puts all of the students, be they international or local, on the same level.
When you complete a course or module you will be awarded ECTS credits. Every credit point you receive will represent the amount of work you have achieved in that period of time. For example, completing 1 year of studies will grant you 60 ECTS credits, a 6-year degree in medicine will earn you 360 ECTS credits, etc.
Bear in mind that even though theoretically the credits are representative of the amount of time you’ve invested in a course, many countries have different metrics of measurement for the amount of hours spent studying. 1 ECTS credit in Milan, Italy is equivalent to 25 hours of study whereas 1 ECTS credit in Romania is equal to 30 study hours. One of your 5 ECTS courses might have more work involved than in a 10 ECTS course even if it’s in the same programme in the same university. These study hours are only estimates and you may end up spending more time on a course you’re not familiar with than on a course you’re confident in that’s a part of your field of interest.
Many students study medicine abroad for one or two years to gain enough credits to transfer back into another country and continue their degree with relative ease. What happens, in this case, is that the credits they’ve achieved abroad have been recognised and all of the transcripts have been assessed to allow the student to enter into a higher year of study back home. This can only happen if the materials covered in the medical or dentistry course abroad, are similar or exactly the same as the course structure of the destination university. The majority of medical schools choose pre-clinical studies such as Biochemistry and Anatomy in the first three years so transferring to another university isn’t too much of an issue since much of the content offered in the first few years have already been covered and achieved via the credits system. This gives the university the confidence to put the student in a higher year than if they applied to start the course from the first year. This is a great way to avoid the stringent requirements of entry into university, and also save a bit of money, by studying abroad for a short amount of time.
Some countries in Europe offer 4-year fast track medicine courses for those who studied subjects related to science or healthcare.
Transferring from one university to another is easier with the ECTS credits system but every institution has its own rules and regulations regarding transferring in and out of the university. Some have more rules and regulations, whilst others ask for more stipulations to be upheld before the student can even transfer. For more information, apply via Medlink Students and speak to your respective representative on how best to transfer in and out of the course. Whilst the information provided here is accurate as of this date, some changes can occur and it is best to speak with a student advisor to understand the process better.