EHEA bachelor's degrees

Frequently asked questions

What is the European Higher Education Area or EHEA?

The European Higher Education Area is a project undertaken by a group of European Union member states to develop a common higher learning area aimed at:

  • improving the quality of higher education in Europe;
  • ensuring that university degrees are comparable (although not necessarily equal in qualification) and promoting exchange programs for students and teaching staff.

 

With the Bologna Process, are certain degree studies disappearing?

No. The UB is keeping its present offering in degree studies; what is changing is the kind of degree course these studies are offered in: what until now were offered as diplomas, undergraduate degrees and engineering degrees are being offered as the new EHEA bachelor's degrees. In fact there are a greater number of options because the new system has led to the creation of new study areas.

What are the advantages of the new degree courses?

  • The new degrees are recognized by all countries in the EHEA, increasing students' professional and study opportunities.
  • The three-tiered system of undergraduate or bachelor's degrees, university master's degrees and doctorates is already in operation in most countries around the world, so the new degrees will be easier to compare.
  • With the new degrees, if a student wants to pass from one degree course to another in the same branch of knowledge (in the same university or in a different one), the student's earned credits in basic training subjects receive recognition.
  • For the first time in Spain, university master's degrees will receive funding at publicly regulated fee levels.
  • Degrees at all universities are to be reviewed and updated. Increasing the diversity and flexibility of learning activities will enable different subjects to meet their unique objectives more effectively.
  • The new credit system takes into account the actual hours required by students to complete courses, rather than only reflecting the amount of class time required.  This change improves educational planning, enables pathways to be created for part-time students, and introduces flexibility in the regulations governing student enrolment and continuance policy —the conditions for students remaining at the UB from one year to another.
  • Greater importance is given to the ability to apply acquired knowledge; knowledge is important, but being able to use that knowledge is also important.
  • More value is placed on a student's work, rather than on mere class attendance.
  • Assessment systems take into account all course work done by a student, not just a single final examination.
  • The Diploma Supplement and credit system show much more effectively what a student has actually accomplished at any given moment.
  • Work placements can be introduced into curricula more broadly, rather than remaining an option reserved for a limited number of students. 

 

Is it true that from now on, it won't be possible to study at university and have a job at the same time?

 

 

Quite the opposite. Until now and in general terms, studying and working at the same time was particularly difficult because in the case of many degree courses students couldn't enrol in anything less than a complete academic year of subjects. The University of Barcelona is now taking all the steps it can to plan its courses so that students can enrol in fewer subjects, and the new regulations now allow students to enrol either full- or part-time.

What are ECTS credits?

ECTS credits express students' workloads in each subject or activity. Under the old system in Spain, a credit corresponded to ten hours of class time, irrespective of how many hours of study or work were required outside of class. By contrast, this system is intended to take into account and recognize all the work done by students. As a result, an ECTS credit corresponds to 25-30 hours of work, including:

  • Lectures and practical classes
  • Private study, on- or off-campus
  • Participation in seminars, assignments, practical work and projects
  • Preparation for and completion of examinations and assessment tests

This doesn't mean that more hours are required.  Rather, it takes into account all the hours of work required in an academic year, a subject or an activity. These hours were already necessary before, but they were not counted explicitly.

Now, degrees are planned according to the criterion that a full-time academic year is equivalent to 60 ECTS credits. In other words, the workload for an academic year, including all work required, totals at between 1,500 and 1,800 hours. 

Are classes taught differently in the new system?

The new ECTS credit system gives greater flexibility to how work will be done in each subject. This does not mean that classes are taught differently in all cases. What it does mean, however, is that each subject can be revised flexibly. Changes can be made to what subject matter is taught and how, including alterations to the activities and materials that are used. For example, more suitable forms of student assessment can be adopted in light of the course objectives to be achieved.

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