How to complete learning agreement?
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.
Instructions and templates for drawing up a study plan and learning/traineeship agreement:
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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- a study plan to the respective academic unit (school/institute/college) along with
- an annex to the study plan specifying the subjects to be studied abroad and how these fit into your UT study programme.
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.
- Before starting to process the OLA please, ask who is the contact person in your host university for confirming your OLA or learning agreement. Please clarify whether the host university can accept OLA or above mentioned pdf version of learning agreement.
- Online learning agreement must be prepared based on the study plan confirmed by your academic unit at UT and you must list both, the courses you attend at the host university and how the courses will be recognized for your study program at UT.
- From UT side, OLA will be confirmed by a contact person in the respective academic unit.
- If the OLA has been approved by the host university, the student and the contact person in UT academic unit can see it in the SoleMOVE. For clarification, the host university does not approve the online learning agreement in the SoleMOVE – via data exchange it moves to their system;
- Based on the approved OLA, the dean's office/institute at UT will register your study abroad period at the host university in SIS; the study abroad period in SIS must coincide with the period agreed in the (online) learning agreement.
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:
Guidelines for creating online learning agreement (OLA)
Other Study Abroad programmes
The learning agreement must be concluded using the paper form provided for this purpose, see the next sub-topic "Signing the learning agreement on paper“
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.
Only a learning agreement that has been compiled on the basis of approved study plan can be signed. Use UT forms (not the foreign university forms) when formalizing your study agreement.
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:
- Study plan and a traineeship plan specifying the content of the traineeship
- Trilateral training agreement on paper (which explains activities, evaluation and monitoring plan of the traineeship in addition to the rights and obligations that the three parties have agreed).
For submitting the documents do like this:
- agree on the content and program of the traineeship both with your programme director at UT and with the supervisor at the receiving organisation
- add agreed traineeship program to your traineeship plan and training agreement and get it signed by UT contact person
- send the trilateral training agreement to the receiving organisation for signing
- fill in the study plan and submit it together with the traineeship plan and training agreement to the Institute/College/School. The student will be registered as a student doing a traineeship abroad.
- please note that the trilateral training agreement doesn´t have to be an original, it can be scanned or faxed copy of the signed agreement.
If you are planning to finance your traineeship through Erasmus+ traineeship programme, please use Erasmus+ training agreement:
- Erasmus+ Training Agreement Guidlines how to prepare the agreement can be found here. NB! The agreement is signed by UT contact person
- study plan with
- traineeship plan, where the content and the tasks are described
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:
- study plan (to open the link in Goolge Chrome, please click "open link in new window")
- traineeship plan
- Training agreement
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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.
1. Adding subjects to the learning agreement
If the student would like to study more subjects than planned in the initial learning agreement:
- The student submits to the VÕTA (RPL) committee an additional study plan, i.e. an application containing only the subjects to be added;
- the VÕTA (RPL) committee of the academic unit will make a decision within 14 days after the submission of the application, approving the application in full or in part or rejecting it;
- the faculty informs the student studying abroad of the decision of the VÕTA (RPL) committee by e-mail (e.g. sending the study plan to the student in scanned form);
- on the basis of the approved additional study plan the student draws up the changes to the original proposed 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 student asks the foreign university to sign the changes to the original proposed learning agreement;
- the student sends changes to the original proposed learning agreement as a scanned copy by e-mail to the academic unit to be signed by the responsible person at UT. Please see the list of Learning Agreement contact persons by faculty.
The changes to the original proposed learning agreement and the additional study plan are kept in the respective academic unit.
2. Cancelling subjects in the learning agreement
If the student wishes to cancel participation in a subject specified in the original learning agreement:
- the student selects the appropriate "changes" form from the above list and fills it out, listing only the courses he/she plans to cancel. The changes must be approved through the process described above. NB! If you want to cancel subjects specified in the original learning agreement, you do not need to submit an additional study plan, because the cancellation does not need to be approved by the VÕTA (RPL) committee.
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.
- the student submits a transcript of records of the studies completed abroad to the respective academic unit (school/institute/college);
- the student specifies the subjects from the approved study plan for which he/she would like to receive credit as part of his/her study programme at UT and registered in the SIS (min 15 ECTS/semester);
- the Faculty registers the subjects in the SIS (if the subjects specified in the transcript of records match those specified in the study plan).
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.