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EHEA (European Higher Education Area)




Credit accumulation. In a credit accumulation system, learning outcomes totalling a specified number of credits must be achieved in order to successfully complete a semester, academic year or a full programme of study, according to the requirements of the programme. The credits are awarded and accumulated if the achievement of the required learning outcomes is proved by assessment.


Grant or Scholarship or Fellowship. Payments to some or all students to cover tuition and / or maintenance. They can come from national or local governments, charities or private companies.


Grade. A final evaluation based on the overall performance in the programme of study.

Student workload. All learning activities required for the achievement of the learning outcomes (i.e., lectures, practical work, information retrieval, private study, etc.).

Cycle. A course of study leading to an academic degree. One of the objectives indicated in the Bologna Declaration is "the adoption of a system based on two main cycles, undergraduate (first) and graduate (second)". Doctoral studies are generally referred to as the third cycle.

Class. The group of students in the same year of a given programme of study.

Lecture. Provision of content by presentation and explanation (possibly including demonstration) given by a lecturer.

Competences (academic or professional). In the Tuning Project, competences represent a dynamic combination of attributes “with respect to knowledge and its application, to attitudes and responsibilities” that describe the learning outcomes of an educational programme, or how learners are able to perform at the end of an educational process. In particular, the Project focuses on subject-area related competences (specific to a field of study) and generic competences (common to any degree course).

Convergence. Voluntary adoption of suitable policies for the achievement of a common goal. Convergence in the architecture of national educational systems is pursued in the Bologna Process.

Credit. The ‘currency’ used to measure student workload in terms of the notional learning time required to achieve specified learning outcomes.

Assessment criteria. Descriptions of what the learner is expected to do in order to demonstrate that a learning outcome has been achieved.

Intensive course. A short full time course of one to four weeks concentrating on a particular topic. It may take place at another institution or in a summer school.

Elective course. A course to be chosen from a predetermined list.

Optional course. A course unit or module which may be taken as part of a progremme of study but is not compulsory for all students.


Supervisor. Member of academic staff of the university who monitors the progress of a Doctoral student, provides advice and guidance, and may be involved in assessing the thesis. S/he will normally be a member of the research group where the student is working..

Doctorate or Doctoral Degree. A high level qualification which is internationally recognised as qualifying someone for research or academic work. It will include a substantial amount of original research work which is presented in a thesis. It is generally referred to as the degree awarded after completion of third cycle studies.


ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). A system for increasing the transparency of educational systems and facilitating the mobility of students across Europe through credit transfer. It is based on the general assumption that the global workload of an academic year of study is equal to 60 credits. The 60 credits are then allocated to course units to describe the proportion of the student workload required to achieve the related learning outcomes. Credit transfer is guaranteed by explicit agreements between the home institution, the host institution and the mobile student.

Higher Education. Programmes of study which may be entered by students holding either a qualified school leaving certificate of an upper secondary school after a minimum of twelve years of schooling or other relevant professional qualifications. Providers may be universities, universities of professional studies, higher education institutions or colleges.

ICT Teaching. Teaching / studying / learning making use of information and communication technology. It usually takes place in e-learning environments.

Doctoral student. See research student.

Research student or Doctoral student. A student seeking to obtain a degree primarily on the basis of research.

Doctoral studies or Doctoral programme. Course of study leading to a Doctorate or attainment of the title of Doctor.

Undergraduate studies. A course of study leading to a First Degree (first cycle).

Graduate or Post-graduate studies. A course of study following a First Degree (first cycle) and leading to a Post-graduate Degree (second cycle).

Assessment. The total range of written, oral and practical tests, as well as projects and portfolios, used to decide on the student’s progress in the course unit or module. These measures may be mainly used by the students to assess their own progress (formative assessment) or by the University to judge whether the course unit or module has been completed satisfactorily against the learning outcomes of the unit or module (summative or continuous assessment).

Continuous assessment. Tests taken within the normal teaching period as part of an annual or the final assessment.

Exam. Normally formal written and/or oral test taken at the end of a course unit or later in the academic year. Other assessment methods are also in use. Tests within the course unit are classed as continuous assessment.

Comprehensive exam. Assessment of the overall learning outcomes achieved over the past/previous years.

Resit Exams. Additional exam session offered to students who have not been able to take or pass their exams on the first dates scheduled.


Skills and competences (academic/professional). The skills and  competences developed as an outcome of the learning process can be divided into ‘subject-area related’ and ‘generic’.

Contact hour. A period of 45-60 minutes teaching contact/cooperation between a staff member and a student or group of students.


Post-doctoral researcher. A recently qualified researcher with a Doctorate, who will probably be employed on a short term contract.


Credit framework. A system that facilitates the measurement and comparison of learning outcomes achieved in the context of different qualifications, programmes of study and learning environments.

Module. See course unit.


Credit level. An indicator of the relative demand of learning and of learner autonomy. It can be based on the year of study and/or on course content (e.g., Basic /Advanced/ Specialised).

Mark. Any numerical or qualitative scale used to describe the results of assessment in an individual course unit or module.


Poster. A written presentation of some work on a display which can be read by a number of people.

Oral presentation. A verbal presentation to a lecturer and possibly other students by an individual student. It may be on a topic researched by the student in the published literature or a summary of project work undertaken.

First Degree. First Higher Education qualification taken by the student. It is awarded after the successful completion of first cycle studies which, according to the Bologna Declaration, should normally last a minimum of three years or 180 ECTS credits.

Programme of study. An approved set of course units or modules recognised for the award of a specific degree. A programme of study can also be defined through the set of learning outcomes to be achieved for the award of a specified number of credits.

Group project. A piece of work given to a group of students which needs co-operative work for completion. This work may be assessed either individually or as a group.

Independent project. A piece of work given to a single student or a group of students for completion. This work will be assessed either individually or as a group.


Learning outcomes. Statements of what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completion of a process of learning. Learning outcomes are distinct from the aims of learning, in that they are concerned with the achievements of the learner rather than the overall intentions of the teacher. Learning outcomes must be accompanied by appropriate assessment criteria which can be used to judge that the expected learning outcomes have been achieved. Learning outcomes, together with assessment criteria, specify the minimum requirements for the award of credit, while marking is based on attainment above or below the minimum requirements for the award of credit. Credit accumulation and transfer is facilitated if clear learning outcomes are available to indicate with precision the achievements for which the credit will be awarded.


Seminar. A period of instruction based on written or oral contributions by the learners.

Diploma supplement. The Diploma Supplement is an annex to the original qualification designed to provide a description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies that were pursued and successfully completed by the holder of the qualification. It is based on the model developed by the European Commission, Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES. It improves the international transparency and the academic/professional recognition of qualifications.


Workshop. A supervised session where students work on individual tasks and receive assistance and direction when needed.

Tution fees/Tutorial fee. Charges made by university to student for teaching and/or supervision.

Thesis. A formally written report presented within the framework of doctoral studies, based on independent research work, which is required for the award of a Post-graduate Degree or Doctorate.

Notional learning time. The average number of hours a student will take to achieve specified learning outcomes and gain credits.

Credit type. An indicator of the status of course units in the programe of study. It can be described as Core (major course unit), Related (unit providing instrument/support) and Minor (optional course unit).

Degree. Qualification awarded by a higher education institution after successful completion of a prescribed programme of study. In a credit accumulation system, the programme is completed through the accumulation of a specified number of credits awarded for the achievement of a specific set of learning outcomes.

Second or Postgraduate Degree. Second Higher Education qualification taken by a student after the first degree (first higher education qualification). It is awarded after the successful completion of second cycle studies and may involve some research work.

Coursework. Taught course units, tutorials etc., which are a preparation for further independent work.

Tuning. Developing agreement and harmony by combining single sounds into a common "tune" or pattern of sounds. In the case of the Tuning Project, it relates to higher education structures in Europe and recognises the diversity of traditions as a positive factor in the creation of a dynamic common higher education area.

Tutorial. A period of instruction given by a tutor aimed at revising and discussing materials and topics presented at lectures.


Course unit or Module. A self-contained, formally structured learning experience with a coherent and explicit set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

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Public University of Navarre
Arrosadia Campus
Tel. 948 169000
Fax. 948 169169
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Tudela campus
Avda. de Tarazona s/n
31500 Tudela
Tel. 948 417800
Fax. 948 417892
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