ECTS credit allocation


The ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) is a standard born in order to favour the mobility of students in the European sphere: it allows the comparison of the credit systems adopted in the University Institutes and those of higher learning in Europe. The students will thus have their training courses recognised by all the foreign institutes that adhere to the standard.
With the University reform of 1999, a system of University Training Credits (CFU) has been introduced, which quantifies and represents the volume of work (lessons, individual study, preparation for the exam, research work, etc.) necessary for the student to acquire the knowledge and the abilities in the education activities set out by his or her own course of study. CFU is the measure of the volume of such work necessary for learning.
One credit corresponds to approximately 25 hours of total activity. A different number of hours, with an increase or a decrease within the limit of 20%, may be possible should the Ministerial Decrees allow it. The quota of hourly commitment reserved to personal study or to other training activities of an individual nature is determined by the relative didactic regulations of each course of study. Such quota shall not however be inferior to 50%, except in the case in which training activities with an elevated experimental or practical content are set out.
An academic year of study corresponds to approximately 60 credits, equivalent to approximately 1,500 hours of work. The annual quantity may not however exceed 75 credits.
To obtain the Bachelor’s Degree, the student must earn at least 180 credits.
To obtain a Master’s Degree, the student must earn at least 120 credits.
To obtain a Diploma that will lead to a Master’s Degree in a single cycle, the student must earn at least 300 or 360 credits, depending upon if the course of study is articulated over 5 or 6 years. 
ECTS Grading tables a.y. 2014-2015

The ECTS grading scale is a tool that facilitates the transfer of academic results (expressed in grades) between different national evaluation systems. It has been adopted by the Universities in countries belonging to the European Higher Education Area, making it possible to convert grades from one country into the grades of another, according to rules shared at the European level.

The different national evaluation systems are related to each other via the single ECTS scale, which compares the statistical distribution of grades in the different systems. The ECTS scale is based on the results obtained by a homogeneous group of students in a given period of time, according to the following rule:

  • grade A corresponds to the grades obtained by the best 10% of students;
  • grade B corresponds to the grades obtained by the next 25%;
  • grade C corresponds to the grades obtained by the next 30%;
  • grade D corresponds to the grades obtained by the next 25%;
  • grade E corresponds to the grades obtained by the last 10%.

Each value on the ECTS scale corresponds to a varying interval of grades in the national systems.

In order to render the conversion system more transparent and comprehensible, the University of Siena has adopted the ECTS grading tables, which provide a corresponding ECTS grade for each positive grade on the Italian scale, based on the abovementioned rules. These tables are updated annually.

It is important to underline that the ECTS scale makes it possible to transfer grades only between universities in countries belonging to the European Higher Education Area.

In other countries different grading systems exist and sometimes coexist, but general mechanisms for the conversion of grades, like that of the ECTS, have not been defined.