Advance approval of credit transfer and ECTS

Conversion between credits/units and ECTS

When calculating how many courses your study programme must include, you should start by finding information about the standard length of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree programme for an ordinary full-time student at the faculty/department in question. (At ST, the standard length is three years for a BSc and two years for an MSc.)

Next, you should find out how many credits you need to pass in order to complete the degree programme. (At ST, 180 ECTS credits are required to complete a BSc, and 120 ECTS are required to complete an MSc.) Please note that particularly in the United States, Canada and some Asian countries there is often a difference between the workload per credit, depending on whether it is Bachelor’s or Master's course.

Finally, you should find out how the academic year is structured (trimester or semester structure as well as how many weeks of classes). For trimester or quarterly structure, depending on the number of weeks of teaching per trimester or quarter, it may be practically impossible to achieve what corresponds to 30 ECTS. An example is the University of Calgary, where you will typically be able to take a range of courses corresponding to 25 ECTS.

Example conversion: 
You want to take courses at the University of Technology, Sydney. At this university, the following conditions apply:

Standard length of degree programme: Three-year Bachelor's degree programme (undergraduate)

Required number of credits to complete the programme: You must pass at least 144 credits in order to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. So you have to take 24 credits per semester in order to have a full workload.

Academic year: The academic calendar at the University of Technology is based on a semester structure with approx. 15 weeks of classes per semester. This corresponds to the semester structure at Nat-Tech.

24 credits = 30 ECTS
Their courses typically have a value of six credit points, so you have to take four courses of six credit points to get a full workload equivalent to 30 ECTS.

You are welcome to book an appointment with your international coordinator via our booking system, if you need guidance on conversion between credits and ECTS.

Alternative conversion of credits/units to ECTS

In rare cases, it may be impossible to find the necessary information to convert to ECTS as above. In these cases, you can calculate the number of courses required using the following method.

ECTS is a tool for measuring the workload required in order to complete an educational activity, for instance a course. 60 ECTS represent a student’s workload for one full year of study and correspond to 1,680 hours of study (28 hours per ECTS). When calculating a student’s workload, all working hours related to completion of a course are included, such as lessons, preparation, independent study, exam preparation and exams. The workload in connection with exams is usually not indicated in the universities’ course descriptions. As a rule, you can therefore use a conversion factor which does not include exams – i.e. 25 working hours per ECTS. 

When you are planning a study programme and calculating the workload, you should establish a) the number of weeks of teaching, b) the credit value of the courses, and c) the weekly number of working hours spent on teaching, preparation and independent study (but the exam). This must be done for all the courses you are planning to take. Then you add up the total number of working hours for all courses throughout the entire semester and divide the sum by 25. This will give you the number of ECTS credits corresponding to one semester.

Example: At the University of X, one semester consists of 12 weeks of teaching. The courses are normally worth 12.5 points. A course worth 12.5 points comprises three lessons (contact hours) plus seven hours of independent study per week -> 12 weeks * 10 hours = 120 hours for 12.5 points. 
This means that a course of 12.5 points corresponds to 4.8 ECTS (120/25). So, to reach approximately 750 hours, you must participate in six courses worth 12.5 credits at the University of X.

How to apply for advance approval of credit transfer

You should apply for advance approval of the subjects you will be doing abroad after you have received a reply to your application for an exchange place and before you leave. In order to maintain your exchange place, you must have advance approval. This also ensures that you can receive transfer credits for your stay when you return to AU.

Advance approval is issued by your board of studies. Your board of studies will also determine the number of courses you have to take at your host institution to make up 30 ECTS.

If there are any changes in your course programme while you are abroad, you should NOT apply for new advance approval. Instead, you should have the new programme approved by your head of degree programme to make sure that you can transfer credits for all of your courses when you return from abroad.

The application must state the courses you are planning to take at the foreign university and the component of the Danish degree programme which they will replace. If you only have elective subjects in the relevant semester at AU, you may state the programme components replaced by the courses you will take during your study abroad period as one group worth 30 ECTS credits, for example:

Host institution



Course 1

Elective course 1

Transferred jointly as 30 ECTS

Course 2

Elective course 2

Course 3

Elective course 3

Course 4

Elective course 4


If you are planning to study abroad in the autumn semester, you are advised to apply for advance approval no later than 7 May. If you are planning to study abroad in the spring semester, you are advised to apply for advance approval no later than 7 November.


Your application must be sent directly to your board of studies via selvbetjeningen ( Please note that your application cannot be processed until you have entered all relevant information and attached the required documentation. You must therefore make sure to submit your application for advance approval of transfer credit to your board of studies well in advance of the above deadlines, so that there is time to obtain additional documentation if necessary. It takes approximately four working weeks for your application to be processed (excluding holidays), provided that the required documentation is attached to the application. However, it can take up to eight weeks. Read more about advance approval here.