It is important to keep in mind that if you go to study abroad, you must complete at least 15 ECTS of courses at the foreign university per semester and apply for credit transfer so that the courses are taken into account upon completing your curriculum. Please note that the minimum amount of necessary credit points to complete your studies can be higher, depending on the study exchange program or the receiving university. There are a few steps you must do before you starting the studies abroad:
1) submit a study plan to your academic unit (courses to be taken abroad and application for for the recognition upon completing your curriculum);
2) academic unit makes a decision on recognition of the courses;
3) sign a learning agreement based on the approved study plan (between student, academic unit at UT and receiving university).
Please note that there is no requirement for minimum/maxium amount of credit points if you do traineeship (except for short-term blended mobility in which case the minimum is 3 ECTS), but it is possible to get extension of your nominal studies only in case your traineeship course(s) give at least 15 ECTS of your curriculum at UT.
Before going abroad for exchange or just as a visiting student, the subjects that you plan to study at your chosen foreign university must be assessed for their suitability for your study programme at the University of Tartu.
For this you must submit:
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Your study plan must also include descriptions of the subjects to be studied abroad. You can get information about the subjects taught at the foreign university from the host intstitution's website or its contact person (e.g. International Students Coordinator). The VÕTA (RPL - Recognition of Prior Learning) Committee of the respective academic unit at the University of Tartu will review the study plan and make a decision within 14 days after submission of the application, approving your application in full or in part or rejecting it. The VÕTA committe does not meet in July.
Please contact VÕTA advisors in Faculty for further information.
The prerequisite for studying at a host university is the completion of a trilateral (student, department unit at UT, host university) learning agreement. The learning agreement must be prepared based on the study plan confirmed by the student’s academic unit at UT. In the learning agreement you must list both, the courses you attend at the host university and how the courses to be taken abroad will be recognized for your study programme at UT. Also, note that you have to change your study abroad dates in your learning agreement in order to have the actual correct dates. Initially your learning agreement indicates the UT semester dates.
Students taking part in semester studies abroad and in short-term blended mobility (BIP) at the host university
Due to the transition to the new mobility management platform SoleMOVE and considering the Erasmus+ Programme guidelines, students who have applied to study abroad through the SoleMOVE are able to create their learning agreement (OLA) electronically.
Learning agreements are only processed outside the digital platforms and signed on paper in the case the host university is not ready to accept OLA (they are not connected to the EWP - Erasmus Without Paper Network, yet). For the learning agreement signed on paper, please fill out the OLA template in the SoleMOVE, download the pdf version, print it out, and have signed on paper.
Please inform by e-mail both the host university and the UT contact person approving OLA if OLA is waiting for their approval and also once it is confirmed by three parties.
In the case of obstacles while processing the learning agreement online, fill out the OLA template in SoleMOVE, download pdf-version, print it out, and have signed on paper.
Guidelines for creating an online learning agreement (OLA) are here:
Other Study Abroad programmes
Erasmus+ Europe programme learning agreement form:
Learning agreement (OLA) has to be done electronically, it´s a requirement set from the Erasmus + programme (inc. BIP). A paper-based learning agreement may be drawn up only if the host university cannot, for technical reasons, approve the online learning agreement.
For the learning agreement signed on paper, please fill out the OLA template in the SoleMOVE, download the pdf version, print it out, and have signed on paper. You can find instructions in the „signing the Erasmus+ online learning agreement, OLA.“ You can read about the process of signing the print out below (look "Formalisation of the learning agreement").
Other Study Abroad programme Learning agreement forms:
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- learning agreement for students taking up studies in a foreign university via the Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility programme (outside EU). Both table A (courses at the host university) and table B (how the courses will be transferred to your curriculum at UT, according the the approved study plan, including optional courses) must be filled out;
- learning agreement for students taking up studies in a foreign university via other channels (incl. summer schools).
Formalisation of the learning agreement
1. the student fills out all the information spaces in the learning agreement and signs it;
2. the student submits the agreement for signature.
2.1. If the student is taking up studies via cooperation agreements or programs between universities, the learning agreement is signed by contact persons in UT academic units
2.2. If the studies abroad are not based on cooperation agreements, the learning agreement is signed by:
- Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Social Sciences; Faculty of Science and Technology: Head of the Institute/College;
- Faculty of Medicine: Dean of the Faculty.
3. the student sends the bilaterally signed learning agreement to the foreign/host university for signature;
4. before the study abroad period starts, the student submits the learning agreement (which has been returned and signed by the foreign university) to the respective UT academic unit (please consult the UT signatory of the learning agreement beforehand where exactly to submit the agreement, i.e. whether to the Deans’ Office or Institute);
5. on the basis of the trilaterally signed learning agreement, the Academic Affairs Specialist/Coordinator of the respective academic unit registers the student for study abroad by the directive of the Vice Dean of the Academic Affairs;
6. the learning agreement is kept in the academic unit along with the study plan (see item 4 above).
The learning agreement submitted to the UT academic unit does not have to be a document on paper with original signatures, it can also be a print-out copy of a signed document scanned and sent by e-mail. The learning agreement cannot be digitally signed as it cannot be assumed that all three signatory parties to the agreement (incl. foreign university) would have the ability to use digital signatures. If the signed learning agreement is submitted to the UT academic unit after the start of the study abroad period, it is considered as an exception that has to be justified and also agreed beforehand with the program coordinator as well as the representative of the academic unit. Foreign universities often offer students their own learning agreement forms but generally these universities also accept UT learning agreement. It is not necessary to sign two different learning agreement forms for two universities.
Before going abroad for the traineeship it is necessary to apply for the recognition of the traineeship abroad and Learning Agreement for Trainees called Training Agreement (trilateral agreement which explains activities, evaluation and monitoring plan of the traineeship in addition to the rights and obligations that the three parties have agreed). In order to do that, you need to submit to your Institute/College/School study coordinator:
For submitting the documents do like this:
If you are planning to finance your traineeship through Erasmus+ traineeship programme, please use Erasmus+ training agreement:
In case you need to make changes to the training agreement, please use: Erasmus+ traineeship changes form.
More information about the Erasmus traineeship grant.
In case you go for traineeship on your own or using other programmes, please use general traineeship form:
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If necessary, you can make changes to the learning agreement at the beginning of your studies abroad when the subjects to be studied and the timetable have become clear. Make sure you are following the conditions and deadlines specific to the mobility program you are participating in.
If the student would like to study more subjects than planned in the initial learning agreement:
Learning agreement annex form for Erasmus+ Europe programme:
- changes to the learning agreement (has to be done in SoleMOVE if the OLA is confirmed by all three parties in the system) - must be formalized within 7 weeks starting from the beginning of studies abroad (agreed in the learning agreement); in case of 2 semesters the changes concerning 2nd semester must be formalized within 7 weeks starting from the beginning of the 2nd semester.
Please note that both tables A and B must be completed in the annex like in the online learning agreement. If you need to make a change, please go to your SoleMOVE system and click "unlock".
Learning agreement annex forms for Erasmus+ Europe and other programmes:
A. changes to the learning agreement (Erasmus+ programme between European countries and Erasmus+ International Credit programme outside EU). Erasmus+ Europe programme changes must be done on paper if the learning agreement is signed on paper- must be formalized within 7 weeks starting from the beginning of studies abroad (agreed in the learning agreement); in case of 2 semesters the changes concerning 2nd semester must be formalized within 7 weeks starting from the beginning of the 2nd semester;
B. changes to the learning agreement (other programmes).
Formalisation of the changes in the learning agreement:
The changes to the original proposed learning agreement and the additional study plan are kept in the respective academic unit.
If the student wishes to cancel participation in a subject specified in the original learning agreement:
NB! The learning agreement along with annexes must match the transcript of records of the studies completed abroad, i.e. the planned and the actual list of subjects must match.
Grades received at the foreign university will be transferred to UT as non-differentiated (pass/fail).
Students participating in the Erasmus+ programme also have to submit the copy of Transcript of Records to UT Study Abroad Centre. More information: Erasmus student exchange.
It is important that a doctoral student who goes to study abroad for at least 12 days is registered as a student studying abroad. To that end, the doctoral student must draw up a study plan and the corresponding annex, specifying the courses to be taken abroad and their position in the UT curriculum. If the aim of the studies abroad is to do research, a research plan must be drawn up and annexed to the study plan. In that case no annex regarding courses is required. At the dean’s office, the doctoral student is registered as a student studying abroad on the basis of the dean’s directive.
Note: If the doctoral student goes to study at a foreign university within a scholarship programme that requires a learning agreement or if the foreign university asks for a learning agreement, the general rules regarding the study plan and learning agreement must be followed.
The following is basic information about transferring non-ECTS credits back to the University of Tartu. It is important to remember that these are just guidelines and credit transfer can vary from one institution to the next. Always consult with your host and home coordinators as you design your Learning Agreement and Study Plan. These credit transfers are not guaranteed.
Contact Hours = labs, lectures, seminars, time in a classroom, etc.
1 ECTS = 0,6-0,8 Australian Credits / 1 Australian credit =1,2-1,6 ECTS
In Australia, the credits system can vary by university. In some universities 12 credits is equal to 7,5 ECTS, in other universities 2 credits is equal to 7,5 ECTS. It is important to check which credit system your host university uses so that you may take the correct number of courses.
There is no unified university credit system in Brazil, even different programmes offered at the same university may have different standards of credits. Credits are usually determined by the number of study hours, both contact and individual. When studying at a Brazilian university, you should request credit transfer information directly from the specific faculty or department you will study with. In some universities 1 credit = 1.5 ECTS and exchange students generally take 20 credits per semester.
Canadian credit will transfer to ECTS differently depending on the type of institution and the province the institution is located in. For the most accurate information you should contact your host university coordinator or you faculty at UT.
1 ECTS = approximately .66 Chinese Credits / 1 Chinese Credit = 1.5 ECTS
There is not a standard university crediting system in China. Some universities follow the above conversion and other universities follow an American crediting system (1 credit = 2 ECTS). It is important to check which system your host university follows.
1 ECTS = approximately .66 Japanese Credits / 1 Japanese Credit = 1.5 ECTS
Some Japanese universities are adopting the UCTS (UMAP (University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific) Credit Transfer Scheme). UCTS are similar to ECTS in how they work within the region. 1 UCTS can transfer back as 1.5 or 1.6 ECTS. However, not all Japanese universities use this system. Some use a system similar to the US where 1 credit = 2 ECTS.
1 ECTS = 1 Russian Credit
Many Russian universities use a credit system (CU, credit unit) similar to ECTS and therefore credits are often transferred on a one to one basis.
1 ECTS = 0.5 S. Korean Credits / 1 S. Korean Credit = 2 ECTS
Many universities in South Korea use a similar credit system to the US system based on the number of contact hours. Most classes are 3 credits (6 ECTS) and will meet three times a week.
The United Kingdom
1 ECTS = 2 UK Credits / 1 UK Credit = 0.5 ECTS
Similar to ECTS, the UK credit system (CATS in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales; SCQF in Scotland) is generally based on total number of study hours and not contact hours. Average courses are 10 credits (5 ECTS) or 20 credits (10 ECTS). Courses in the sciences tend to have more contact hours than courses in the humanities.
The United States
1 ECTS = 0.5 US Credits / 1 US Credit = 2 ECTS
US credits are most often determined by the number of contact hours. Generally, courses are 3 credits (6 ECTS) and will meet two to three times a week. More intense courses are often 4 credits (8 ECTS) and might meet four times a week. It is important to show up for all class meetings as participation and attendance are almost always part of the final grade.
The above is informational material to be used as a reference. Please be aware that not all universities follow the listed credit systems and that all final decisions about credit transfer will be made by your faculty at the University of Tartu. For more accurate information please contact your host university contact or your academic advisor.