Credits are the units used to measure the academic load of each subject.
In undergraduate degrees belonging to the European Higher Education Area, the concept of academic credits is different from what it used to be before (1 credit = 10 hours of class).
Undergraduate degrees are organised on the basis of ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits, which were created as a way to assess and recognise studies undertaken in European universities by students participating in Erasmus programme.
When the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) was created, ECTS credits started to be used as the academic assessment unit for subjects included in official studies in European universities.
ECTS credits are based on the effort that students have to make to pass a subject, rather than on the effort made by the teacher (class hours) as in the former system. Therefore, ECTS credits value students' dedication in terms of class attendance, study hours, time devoted to class assignments, projects and seminars, as well as the hours used to prepare and take the exams. ECTS credits range from 25 to 30 hours maximum. In the University of Alicante, ECTS credits are equivalent to 25 hours.
In the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), undergraduate degrees are 4-year courses comprising 240 ECTS credits (60 per academic year), with the sole exception of the Undergraduate Degrees in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine and Principles of Architecture, which are longer.
Official Master's Degrees account for 60 to 120 ECTS credits and have a duration of one or two academic years.
Undergraduate degrees include optional subjects, which in the University of Alicante will be taught in the second half of the syllabus.
The aim of optional subjects is to provide students with important knowledge that is not already taught in core or compulsory subjects.
Optional subjects may be grouped into itineraries, of which students have to choose only one.
Non-university traineeships will be included in all undergraduate degree syllabus as compulsory or optional subjects. Said traineeships will only be accessible for students in the last two years of the degree.