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Teaching and Learning Support Office

The Bologna Process - Manchester's Position

The UK view

The UK (as a whole and each of its constituent parts) is fully committed to the Bologna process. The UK was one of the primary signatories to the process and has been making good progress to implement it. Many of the changes are taking place at a national level; for example, the QAA is undergoing a review process to check that the English national credit framework complies with Bologna norms.

Learning Outcomes versus Time Served

One of the major areas of discussion in the Bologna process is around the topic of "learning outcomes" versus "time served". This issue is at the centre of current debates across Europe on the value and validity of one-year Masters degrees in the UK.

Credit Weightings

Another issue which has been brought to the forefront as part of the Bologna Process is credit weightings. It is generally accepted that the UK notion of credit equates to notional student effort of 10 hours. The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is a Europe-wide system of credit, designed by the European Commission. Two UK credits are equivalent to one ECTS credit. A full-time UK HE year is normally made up of 120 UK credits, while a normal full-time European HE year is comprised of 60 ECTS credits.

A separate issue relates to the full-year Masters degree which operates in the UK. 180 credits ought to be worth 90 ECTS credits in relation to a 12-month Masters degree. However, the view across European higher education authorities is that students can not achieve more than 75 ECTS credits in any one academic year. There is consequently some suspicion from certain sections in Europe in terms of UK Masters degrees.

The University of Manchester's Position

Because Bologna is an inter-governmental process, and the UK HE system was more in line with the objectives of the process than many countries when it started, it has not required many changes for the University of Manchester.

The University has introduced the Diploma Supplement, which incorporates information currently contained in a degree transcript into a document which sets a student's course in the national context. In addition, we are engaged with the national bodies who are in a position to influence the process.

To find out more about the Bologna Process generally, please see the 'Bologna Process - general info' section of the TLSO website.