1. What is the use of ECTS?

Foreign exchange students often see themselves confronted with difficulties in getting their results accepted and transferred due to the diverging crediting systems in the different countries. Thus the European Community Course Credit Transfer System (ECTS) was developed by the Commission of the European Union in order to help students to take maximum advantage of their studies abroad. 145 universities from all EU and EFTA member states have tested and improved ECTS over the course of several years.

The Faculty of Law at the University of Trier is applying ECTS since academic year 1999/2000. This system is based on the allocation and transferral of academic credit points combined with a grading scale.

2. Credit points

Credit points do represent the complete amount of work necessary for a student to obtain his/her degree in four years. This means that the attending of lectures and the obtaining of certificates for the whole studies is described with a value of 240 credits. Consequently, a certain fraction of this value is apportioned to each lecture. The work load of a student should be 60 credits per year, i.e. 30 credits per semester. It is important to note that credit points can only be awarded when the exam of the respective lecture is passed.

3. Grading scale

The grading scale should enable universities to transfer the results obtained abroad. Furthermore, it comprises additional information, e.g. a detailed description of the achieved results. The grading scale is based on every-day-definitions of evaluation such as the terms "excellent", "good" etc. Apart from this, statistical data is used in order to take into account the range of marks normally achieved by German students.

ECTS serves as an example for the organisation of academic acknowledgement, as it provides for greater transparency of course contents and student performances. Contents, structure and equivalence of degrees are in no way influenced by ECTS. The universities must determine these qualitative aspects for themselves.

4. Allocation of credits

After the students have passed the exam at the end of the semester, the respective lecturers will issue a certificate which shows the achieved grade (points) according to the grading scale used at the Faculty of Law in Trier. The points will be transferred into ECTS-grades and credits will be allocated in the transcript of records.

Foreign students have to determine their choice of courses with their home university and sign a learning agreement. Most universities expext their students to achieve 30 ECTS credits for one semester and 60 ECTS credits for one year respectively.

With regard to lectures 2,5 credits can be given for each hour per week per semester provided that an exam is passed at the end of each course.

5. Information for Erasmus students

a) Choice of courses

Generally all courses offered by the Faculty of Law are open to foreign students.  However, some tutorials and seminars (see previous page) are less suited for foreign students.

Registration for participation in lectures is not necessary. For seminars students have to register with the respective lecturer, for accompanying tutorials students have to register with the student advisor.
The choice of courses depends on the requirements set by the home university.

At the end of the previous semester the staff and course catalogue of the university for the following semester is published which contains a complete list of courses and a lot of additional information. This catalogue is available online. A list of courses will be sent via e-mail to all Erasmus students (in July for the winter semester (WS), in January for the summer semester (SS). 

Most courses are offered as described in each winter or summer semester respectively, only the seminars offered may vary. As not all seminar topics are fixed by the time the course catalogue is published students have to inquire about them individually in the Faculty of Law from mid-September respectively mid-March. It should be noted, however, that seminars are mainly aimed at advanced students, as they are very specific and difficult.  Therefore they are not always suited for Erasmus students.

Participation in a seminar is only possible by arrangement with the professor and the student advisor of the Faculty. Because of this the Faculty offers special seminars for Erasmus and LL.M. students. The seminar topics are announced at the beginning of the semester. Participants in such a seminar are expected to prepare a written paper of around 15 pages within a longer period of time (minimum 2-3 weeks).

An introductory course on German Constitutional Law is offered especially for foreign students.

b) Exams

As no exams are planned for German students in the individual courses, the Law Faculty offers special exams for Erasmus students at the end of each semester. These exams can be oral or written and cover the material dealt with in each course.

For the exam each Erasmus student has to register him/herself with the secretariat of the respective lecturer. The type of exam, time and date can be arranged with the lecturer and these information are usually indicated during the lectures.
There is no exam held in the accompanying tutorials. However, a certificate will be issued after regular attendance.
Participants in a seminar are expected to prepare a seminar paper.

c) Transcript of records

Students can obtain their transcript of records at the end of the Erasmus period at the student advisor´s office in room C 17.

Please show the following papers:

  • certificate of enrolment / TUNIKA
  • exam certificates
  • a paper with your full name, date, place of birth, home address and matriculation number.

6. Grading system for Erasmus students

Exams are marked using the same scale as for German law students at the University of Trier:

excellent (sehr gut) (16, 17, 18 points)an exceptional performance
very good (gut) (13, 14, 15 Punkte)a performance significantly above average requirements
good (vollbefriedigend) (10, 11, 12 Punkte)a performance above average requirements
satisfactory (befriedigend) (7, 8, 9 Punkte)a performance which corresponds with average requirements in every respect
pass (ausreichend) (4, 5, 6 Punkte)a performance which, despite faults, corresponds with average requirements
fail (mangelhaft and ungenügend) Both "inadequate" and "insufficient" mean that the candidate has failed to pass the exam. (0, 1, 2, 3 Punkte)

- inadequate (mangelhaft): a performance with significant shortcomings which is on the whole no longer sufficient

- insufficient (ungenügend): a completely unacceptable performance

Furthermore, the ECTS-grades according to the following grading scale will be indicated in the transcript of records. The following table shows the transferral of German grades to ECTS-grades:

Points according to the German grading systemECTS-gradeDefinition (according to the ECTS-User´s Guide)
14 - 18



Outstanding performance with only minor errors

10 - 13


(very good)

Above the average standard but with some errors

08 - 09



Generally sound work with a number of notable errors

06 - 07



Fair but with significant shortcomings

04 - 05



Performance meets the minimum criteria

01 - 03



Some more work required before the credit can be awarded




Considerable further work is required

7. Advice for Erasmus students

In the week prior to the starting of lectures of the winter and summer semesters there is a meeting to provide information for all new foreign students. Information on the individual courses are given and the choice of courses can be discussed with the student advisor.

During the semester the student advisor can be approached with all questions and problems within the office hours.