What is meant by 120 credits?
If we describe the academic complexity of a course by ‘levels’, then we use ’credits’ to measure the size of a course, which relates to the duration of study and/or the volume of material to be studied. Total Qualification Time (TQT) is a measure of the total number of hours that might typically be required to complete a qualification. Learning time can be a combination of different factors such as contact time with a tutor (Guided Learning Hours), as well as non-contact time such as in an online course and self-directed study as well as time spent completing assignments.
TQT is related to ‘credits’ as follows:
1 credit = 10 hours of learning
If we take a typical year at university as representing a year of undergraduate study, this equates to 1200 hours of learning in total or 120 credits. A Foundation Degree would be 2 years of undergraduate study and therefore 240 credits.
In Europe, an alternative measure of study time is used, known as The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). ECTS allows credits taken at one higher education institution to be counted towards a qualification studied at another.
1 credit (UK) = 0.5 ECTS
If we take a typical year at university as representing a year of undergraduate study, this equates to 60ECTS.
A Foundation Degree would be 2 years of undergraduate study and therefore 120 ECTS.
Although the USA has no formal Higher Education framework the use of ‘credit-hours’ is used, where:
1 credit (UK) = 0.25 USA credit-hours
If we take a typical year at university as representing a year of undergraduate study, this equates to 30 USA credit-hours.
An Associate Degree would be 2 years of undergraduate study and therefore 60 USA credit-hours.
Qualification Titles: Awards, Certificates, Diplomas, Higher International Certificates / Diplomas
In the UK various pre-defined ‘sizes’ of qualifications are expressed in terms of total qualification time (TQT).
Qualification titles are also often connected to the amount of credits, and hence duration of study required to complete. For example, some common qualification titles are shown below:
It is important to remember that the terms Award, Certificate, Diploma and Higher International Diploma do not relate to progression, rather they are indicators of how long a qualification will take to complete. For progression, we need to refer to the ‘level’ of a qualification.
Thus, the Higher International Diploma offered by iLearn Engineering® is accredited at EduQual Level 5 to bring it in line with Foundation and Associate degree level qualifications.
For example, let us take the following course from iLearn Engineering®:
Higher International Certificate in Aerospace Engineering (EduQual Level 4)
Course Structure: 120 Credits
Total Qualification Time (TQT): 1200 hours
Total Guided Learning Hours (GLH): 480 hours
Foundation Degrees, Associate Degrees and Higher International Diplomas
A Foundation Degree from the UK comprises of a total of 240 credits with 120 credits studied at level 4 (the first year of university) and 120 credits studied at level 5 (the second year of university).
In Europe Foundation Degrees are similar comprising of 120ECTS. In the USA equivalent of the Associate Degree is 60 USA credit-hours.
The Higher International Diploma is an alternative qualification to traditional Foundation and Associate degrees. This accredited qualification has the advantage that it can be studied online remotely anywhere in the world and is available at a far more affordable price than foundation/associate degree equivalents.
You can see the selection of Higher International Diplomas offered by iLearn Engineering® here.