Credit Transfer & Accreditation of Prior Learning


European Credits (ECs) provide an instrument to create transparency, to build bridges between institutions and to widen the choices available to students. The system makes it easier for institutions to recognise the learning achievements of students through the use of commonly understood measurements - credits and grades - and it also provides a means to interpret national systems of higher education. The European Credit system is based on three core elements: information (on study programmes and student achievement), mutual agreement (between the partner institutions and the student) and the use of European Credits (to indicate student workload).  European Credits are a numerical value (between 1 and 60) allocated to course units to describe the student workload required to complete them. They reflect the quantity of work each course unit requires in relation to the total quantity of work necessary to complete a full year of academic study at the institution, i.e. lectures, practical work, seminars, tutorials, fieldwork, private study - in the library or at home - and examinations or other assessment activities. European Credit is thus based on a full student workload and not limited to contact hours only.

  • One European Credit equals 28 hours of student workload. The total European Credits for passing a normal (four years of education) study year are 60 ECs. Wittenborg offers full bachelor’s programmes of study for three years, therefore, the workload in European Credit is increased to 80 credits per study year.
  • European Credits are a relative rather than an absolute measure of student workload. They only specify how much of a year's workload a course unit represents at the institution or department allocating the credits.
  • In European Credits, 60 credits represent the workload of a normal undergraduate academic year of study and normally 30 credits for a term. A postgraduate academic year of a full 12 months may have 90 credits.
  • European Credits ensure that the programme will be reasonable in terms of workload.

Example: In order to complete successfully the ‘Principles of Marketing’ subject and gain the 5 European Credits assigned to it, the student has to spend 140 hours in workload for this subject. These 140 hours are comprised of 24 contact hours/lectures and 116 hours in practical work, seminars, tutorials, fieldwork, examinations, and preparation time, etc.

Question - 180 or 240 ECs - A Bachelor's in 3 Years or 4 Years?

Dutch bachelor's degree programmes at universities of applied sciences are generally 4-year study load programmes, weighted at 240 European Credits (ECs) of 60 credits per year.
•    Wittenborg offers its bachelor's degree programmes in 3 phases, allowing motivated students to complete modules in a minimum of 3 years with a higher study load of 80 ECs per year, or in 4 years at the standard pace of 60 ECs per year.
•    The curriculum remains timetabled in a manner that allows dedicated students to follow the programme either in 3 years or 4.

The ECTS Grading System for Credit Transfer

In cases where credits are transferred between countries (mainly in student exchanges) European Credit Transfer & Accumulation System (ECTS) grades can be used. It is good practice to add an ECTS grade, particularly in the case of credit transfer. The ECTS grading scale ranks the students on a statistical basis.

Therefore, statistical data on student performance is a prerequisite for applying the ECTS grading system. Grades are assigned to students with a pass grade as follows:

A distinction is made between the grades FX and F that are used for unsuccessful students. FX indicates: "Fail - some more work required to pass", and F indicates: "Fail - considerable further work required". The inclusion of failure rates in the Transcript of Records is optional.

Progression through the WUAS bachelor's programmes by gaining European Credits:


3-Phase PathwayAvailable ECsECs Required at Entry4-Year PathwayAvailable ECsECs Required at Entry
Phase 1800Year 1600
Phase 28080Year 26040
Phase 380160Year 360100
Phase 480 Year 460180


Credit Transfer & Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

Credit Transfer at Wittenborg is based on the Lisbon Recognition Convention, officially the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, an international convention of the Council of Europe together with UNESCO. This is the main legal agreement on credential evaluation in Europe.

APL is a generic term covering the exemption of a student from a module or modules on taught courses at the university on the basis of prior achievement of the relevant learning outcome, whether certificated or by experiential learning. WUAS has systems in place to provide Credit Transfer for Periods of Study and exemptions in European Credits for much of the programme based on Prior Learning, both in education and in the workplace.

The Convention stipulates that degrees and periods of study must be recognised unless substantial differences can be proved by the institution that is charged with recognition. Students and graduates are guaranteed fair procedures under the convention. 

According to Dutch regulations, at least 25% of a programme has to be gained at the Dutch higher education institute in the Netherlands in order to obtain a degree under the Dutch act of higher education (WHW).

As specified in article 7.13, 2 sub r of the Dutch Higher Education Act (WHW) the Graduation and Examination Board may grant exemption from a test or examination on condition that the student:

  • either has completed a course of a university (of applied sciences) or higher vocational degree, in the Netherlands or abroad, that is equivalent in content, work load and level;
  • or can demonstrate by work experience or other non-traditional methods of learning that learning outcomes and sufficient knowledge and skills in respect of the course in question has been obtained.

Examples of credit transfer possibilities:

  • Students who have obtained a Dutch Associate Degree (worth 120 EC) or an international equivalent such as the two-year programme “Hotel & Tourism Management” at the International College of Tourism and Management (ITM) in Bad Vöslau, Austria, could get credits transferred into the Bachelor of Business Administration programme.
  • Student who have obtained credits at another European University (of applied sciences) or at a non-EU Higher Education Institute that is nationally recognized and accredited, on a Bachelor level (EQF level 6) can apply for credit transfer for modules that are similar to Wittenborg's curriculum.
  • Student who have obtained credits at another European University (of applied sciences) or at a non-EU Higher Education Institute that is nationally recognized and accredited, on a Master’s level (EQF level 7) can apply for credit transfer for modules that are similar to Wittenborg's curriculum.

In all cases credits can only be transferred after the learning outcomes of the specific modules have been assessed.

Students can apply for exemptions/credit transfer from an individual module or multiple modules based on evidence of learning formally assessed through certificated awards. Such applications will only be granted following a satisfactory mapping of learning outcomes for the modules and course aims for which exemption is sought. This will require an applicant to provide a portfolio of evidence. For applicants with non-Dutch certificates and diploma's, a student’s portfolio is verified by usage of Nuffic and Naric databases and information. In exceptional cases, the portfolio is sent to the NUFFIC for certificate evaluation.

Students must submit a request for credit transfer/exemptions according to APL during their application procedure and before they commence their degree programme.

During the application procedure, students can apply for Credit Transfer/exemptions based on previous obtained credits from a recognized higher education study programme. Students must always be admitted to the overall degree programme before Credit Transfer/exemptions are considered.
On behalf of the GEB Credit Transfer and Exemptions Committee, the Student Registrar will validate and verify the submitted diplomas, marks lists, with Nuffic and ENIC-Naric, confirming that the documents are legal, genuine, internationally recognized, accredited and at the level they are said to be. The Registrar will advise the GEB Credit Transfer & Exemptions Approval Committee on proceeding with the Credit Transfer/exemptions Approval Request.

The evaluation of the Credit Transfer/exemptions into the WUAS programmes is done by the Graduation and Examination Board(GEB) subcommittee Credit Transfer and Exemptions Committee, which is comprised of four qualified faculty members of the GEB with knowledge of the degree programmes. At least two faculty members, with knowledge on the specific curricula of the degree programmes, the end qualifications, competencies, modules, progression requirements and other requirements, will be seated in this subcommittee. The committee can also seek the advice of an expert module lecturer if specific expertise is needed to compare the required and obtained learning outcomes, which can incidentally be the case with certain specialisations. This Credit Transfer and Exemptions Committee will consider all applications and approve or disapprove all requests for conditional credit transfer/exemptions.

The Graduation and Examination Board will formally decide on granting the credit transfer/exemptions after formal registration of the student (customer) to Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences BV, i.e after payment has been made and study contract has been entered into by both parties. The student will be informed of the final decision on the credit transfer/exemptions by the Graduation and Examination Board with the letter (of award). This letter will contain a clear motivation/rationale behind the award of credits.

Students can apply for Credit Transfer/exemptions, as long as the prior obtained credits at a higher education has been completed at a recognised partner institution or are a part of a nationally recognised higher education programme at a nationally recognised higher education institution according to Nuffic in The Hague as the ENIC-NARIC national information centre.

The application form for the Credit Transfer can be found here: Credit Transfer into Bachelor programme | Wittenborg Webforms.

ENIC-NARIC is a network of national centres which share information on foreign qualifications in order to support the mobility of students. The 57 centres are located in the countries which signed up to the Lisbon Recognition Convention, which first went into effect in 1999.

Nuffic in The Hague is the ENIC-NARIC national information centre in the Netherlands, and reports to the Ministry of Education. ENIC stands for European Network of National Information Centres, and NARIC for National Academic Recognition Information Centres.

Applicants may apply for exemptions from modules directly related to work experience based on evidence of learning arising from professional experience and related study or training which is certificated by a recognized provider of competence measurements certificates. If this certificate is obtained in the Netherlands, this certificate must be submitted in agreement with the national Quality Code EVC. International certificates should also have a national equivalent to guarantee the validity and quality of the certificates.

An applicant could receive exemptions based on a certificate of experience if:

  1. the acquired competences described in the certificate of experience are at least equivalent in level and content to the competences of the module(s) that are considered to be exempt from the examination;
  2. the certificate of experience per competency proves the level and content;

This might require an applicant to provide a portfolio of evidence. Skills, Competencies and Knowledge acquired in the workplace will be mapped against the aims and objectives of Work Experience or modules in the chosen programme.

Maximum 50% of the degree programme can be exempted based on APEL.

Applicants may also request for exemption of the practical work part of a work placement module or an internship. Written submissions must in these cases always be fulfilled. Application for APEL for work placement can be submitted to the Graduation and Examination Board during the study programme.

An agreement between Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences and the New European College (NEC) in Germany means students can now also study part of Wittenborg's curriculum in Munich. Wittenborg provides and delivers 75% of its degree programme curriculum to Wittenborg Munich students, who can then complete their final 25% of their studies and gain a Dutch degree in The Netherlands at Wittenborg.

All Wittenborg students in Munich are registered as contracted students of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, location Munich, except they are not registered as students under the Act of Higher Education and Research in The Netherlands, until they are studying at a Wittenborg campus within the borders of the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Wittenborg students in Munich have exactly the same rights of service and facilities and the same obligations towards Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences as students in the Netherlands, as described in the Education and Examination Guide (EEG).

The curriculum of the programmes offered to Wittenborg students in Munich is exactly the same as that offered in the Netherlands and falls under the Education and Examination Guide (EEG) of Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, including its Graduation & Examination Board (GEB).

Transfer to The Netherlands

If the curriculum followed in Munich is followed as described in the EEG, the European Credits achieved in Munich are valid and FIBAA accredited EC that will be transferred into the NVAO degree programme, under the Act of Higher Education and Research of The Netherlands, as soon as students have started their final 25% of the study at a Wittenborg campus in the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

For the Wittenborg students who have started their studies in Munich under the above described regulations, and choose to complete their studies in The Netherlands, hereby transferring their credits into the degree programme under the Act of Higher Education and Research of The Netherlands, the Graduation and Examination Board Credit and Exemptions Committee will carry out its formal credit transfer procedure as laid out in the “Credit Transfer Procedure” as stated in the EEG.

As with the standard credit transfer procedure, students who start their studies in Munich will have their gained European credits formally transferred into the degree programme in order to gain a Dutch bachelor or master degree, only upon formally registering in the Netherlands at Wittenborg as a student.