EHEA bachelor's degrees

Glossary of key terms

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Admission pathways

These are the academic paths by which school leavers and other prospective students are admitted to university studies. Examples of an admission pathway might be successfully completed upper secondary school studies in a particular study area combined with a pass mark in Spain's national university entrance examination, or else a successfully completed vocational training course in a given subject area.

Basic training subject area

A basic training subject area comprises a series of basic training subjects that students are required to complete and that are common to different degree courses within the same branch of study. The course curriculum will contain at least 60 credits in basic training which, once successfully completed, can be recognized in those cases where the student wishes to pass to another degree course if the two courses are offered in the same branch of knowledge.

Branch of knowledge

This is an area of knowledge containing a series of EHEA bachelor's degree courses.  Each degree course must be officially attached to one of the following five branches: Arts and Humanities, Sciences, Health Sciences, Social Sciences and Law, or Engineering and Architecture.

Career options

The series of particular professional pathways for which degree courses are designed to qualify students.

Competence/competences

In its widest sense, ‘competence' describes the combination of attributes to be gained by the student during the learning process and includes the principles and bases of knowledge and the abilities, attitudes and responsibilities the student is required to demonstrate at the end of this process. So being competent or having ‘competences' means being able to assimilate and integrate different aspects of learning to effectively manage a series of real situations in a field of activity. Each degree course is designed to help the student acquire the competences to address the particular professional and academic realities which lie beyond that course and which have characterized and differentiated its design from any other.

Compulsory subject area

The compulsory subject area comprises a series of compulsory subjects that are only taught in one particular degree course and that students must successfully complete in order to be awarded the degree qualification.

Curriculum

The curriculum is the document describing the design of a university qualification and detailing its particular framework (competences, learning objectives, career opportunities, study areas, the total number of credits the course carries and their weighting in subjects that the student is required to do and subjects that he or she can choose to do). In the case of the EHEA bachelor's degrees, the successful completion of the curriculum of a degree course entitles the student to a degree qualification that is official and valid throughout the European Higher Education Area.

Course plan

The course plan is the public document which specifies the aims of a subject area, how the subjects will be taught to achieve those aims, and how students will be assessed.  It reflects an intermediate level of planning between a curriculum and a subject syllabus, when and where this structure is present.  Course plans must first be approved by the university department in which the subject is taught.  Then approval must be obtained from studies council or master's committee.  A course plan must contain sufficient information so that teaching staff can identify and distribute criteria and so that the document can be made public and students can use it as a point of reference. As a result, a course plan needs to specify the aims of the course (the "what"), the methodology to be used (the "how"), and the system and characteristics of assessment. 

EHEA bachelor's degree

Following the directives of the European Higher Education Area, this is an official first-cycle university qualification that prepares students for professional practice in the labour market. The degree takes four years to complete and carries a total of 240 European credits.

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System credits (ECTS credits)

This is the official European system that calculates in hours the amount of work that a student must do to achieve the learning objectives on any given degree course. At the UB, each ECTS credit is equivalent to 25 hours of student work, including face-to-face learning (e.g., class attendance, seminars, laboratory work and classroom assessment), time given over to the preparation of teacher-directed assignments to be completed out of class, tutorials, and hours of private study.

European Higher Education Area (EHEA)

This is the project that aims to harmonize the university studies offered in 46 European countries and endow these studies with a similar academic structure, hereby enabling EU students a greater degree of mobility and maximizing the opportunities for them to travel to other parts of Europe, whether  to continue their studies, complete work placements in study programs or find employment in their professional area.

Final project

The final project is an assignment completed by the student during the last academic year of the new bachelor's degree. Its purpose is to assess the student's general competences in the subject of the degree course and it must carry between 6 and 30 credits.

Optional subject area

The optional subject area comprises a series of optional subjects that the student can select from a range of subjects offered in a particular degree course, and that provide him or her with the opportunity to specialize in a specific field.

Subject area

Within individual university course curricula, subject areas gather together specific series of competences (see above) and contents that the student must acquire and learn in a given area of knowledge. For example, the subject area might be Mathematics, for a total of 20 ECTS credits, and this area would contain a series of specific subjects, such as linear algebra, differential equations or vector calculus, each carrying part of that total number of credits.

University master's degree

Following the directives of the European Higher Education Area, this is a second-cycle university degree qualification that is officially recognized across the EU and provides students with advanced, specialized or multidisciplinary training in a specific field. Courses towards university master's degrees take either one or two years to complete and carry a total of between 60 and 120 European credits.

Work placement

A work placement is a learning activity completed by the student which allows him or her to experience professional activity in a given field and put into practice the principles and theory acquired during the course. The work placement is therefore designed to complement the student's course studies. Depending on the degree course, work placements can either be mandatory for all students or a component that the student can choose to do. The maximum number of credits allowed for work placements offered in the new bachelor's degree courses is 60 ECTS credits and the placements themselves should be offered in the second half of the program.

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