Students’ FAQs &answers on higher education system in the EU and Erasmus+scholarships
1. What is the higher education system in Europe like?
The education system in Europe is based on Three Degree Cycle. Two basic degrees, Bachelors and Masters, have been adopted now by every participating country. Typically, a bachelor’s degree requires 180-240 ECTS credits and a Master programme between 90-120 ECTS credits, however with a minimum of 60 ECTS (corresponding to one typical full-time academic year of learning within a formal learning programme) at Master level. This allows for a flexible approach in defining the length of both Bachelor and Master programmes. The participating countries have made substantial changes to their systems in response to the Bologna Process. In the third cycle, there is European Ph.D. programmes.
2. What is European Higher Education Area?
In 1999, the Ministers of Education from 29 countries in Europe met in the Italian city of Bologna to propose the creation of a European Higher Education Area through a resolution called the Bologna Declaration. The aim of the Bologna Declaration was to create a cohesive European Higher Education Area by 2010 in order to facilitate academic mobility, increase the comparability of studies across all the educational systems of the participating countries as well as promote Europe as a world education destination.
3. What is the structure of the higher education system in the European Higher Education Area?
First cycle (Bachelor’s Degree) 180 - 240 ECTS (3 - 4 years)
↓ Second cycle (Master’s program) 90 -120 ECTS (1,5 - 2 years)
↓ Third cycle (Doctoral studies) No ECTS range
4. What is the ECTS System?
The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is a credit system that was first introduced in Europe in 1989 within the educational exchange program Erasmus. However, the ECTS is now widely used throughout higher education institutions as it facilitates student mobility within Europe and the comparison of study programs and courses.
5. How does the ECTS benefit students?
The ECTS is a learner-centered system based on the student workload required to achieve certain course outcomes. The workload refers to the amount of time a student needs to complete the learning activities, such as self-study, seminars, projects or exams, to achieve the course outcomes. The credits can be attached to study programs, courses or even modules within a course. Furthermore, students can accumulate credits and pass them over to other institutions to continue with their studies. Therefore, the ECTS is also referred to as European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. The use of the ECTS by institutions is not compulsory. However, if you plan to study in Europe, you will notice the majority of institutions provide students with the number of ECTS each course and module is worth.
6. How many ECTS is an academic year worth?
A full-time student would need to complete 60 ECTS per academic year, which represents about 1,500 to 1,800 hours of study. According to the ECTS, study programs in Europe are worth the following number of credits:
• Bachelor's degrees (first cycle) are worth 180 - 240 ECTS (3 to 4 years)
• Master's programs (second cycle) are worth 60 - 120 ECTS (1 to 2 years)
• PhD studies (third cycle) have no ECTS range
7. What is Erasmus+?
Erasmus+ is the European Union (EU) programme for education, training, youth and sport for the period 2014-2020. Erasmus+ funds academic mobility and cooperation projects that involve partners from ‘Programme Countries’ and ‘Partner Countries’ throughout the world. Erasmus+ supports activities that are closely matched with the EU's priorities for cooperation policy with partner countries and regions.
Erasmus+ consists of four different actions:
• International credit mobility (ICM)
For over 30 years, students and staff have moved between European universities in the Erasmus programme. Since 2015, Erasmus+ has also allowed short-term mobility to Europe from other parts of the world for students, researchers, and staff. This two-way mobility allows students to study in a foreign university for 3-12 months and obtain credits, which are then recognized at the sending institution as part of their degree. Starting in 2018, traineeships are also possible. There are also grants for staff mobility for 5-60 days.
• Erasmus Mundus Joint master’s degrees
Erasmus Mundus Joint master’s degrees (EMJMDs) award EU-funded scholarships to Master students from around the world. The programmes last from one to two years during which students study in at least two different European countries, and obtain a joint, double degree, or multiple degrees. Institutions from partner countries can also be part of the consortia that deliver these programmes (though this is not mandatory as Full Partners, which means they officially award degrees, or as Associated Partners, where they participate in the programme in some kind of capacity, but do not award the actual joint degree. Each EMJMD receives EU funding to award a certain number of scholarships to students worldwide. The scholarship covers tuition, travel, and a living allowance. Additional scholarships are also available for students from regions comprising emerging or developing economies. Students apply directly to the programme coordinator and can find the programmes on the EMJMD catalogue.
• Capacity-building for Higher Education
Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education actions (CBHE), which lasts from two to three years, are aimed at modernizing and reforming higher education institutions, developing new curricula, improving governance, and building relationships between higher education institutions and enterprises. They can also tackle policy topics and issues, preparing the ground for higher education reform, in cooperation with national authorities. Around 26% of the annual global budget for CBHE projects is earmarked for Asian countries.
• Jean Monnet Activities
Jean Monnet (JM) activities aim to develop EU studies worldwide. For over 25 years they have been supporting Modules, Chairs, and Centres of Excellence to promote excellence in teaching and research on the European integration process at higher education level. The programme also supports policy debate with the academic world through networks and a number of associations in the domain of EU studies.
• Erasmus+ website: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/node_en
• Erasmus+ projects & results: http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/projects/
• Erasmus+ funding opportunities: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus-plus/funding_en
• Erasmus Mundus programme catalogue: https://eacea.ec.europa.eu/erasmus-plus/library/scholarships-catalogue_en
8. What has been the record of Indian students with regard to Erasmus Mundus scholarships?
Nearly 450 Indian students and staff members have been awarded the prestigious Erasmus+ scholarship and mobility grants funded by the European Union to study in leading universities across Europe this year. Europe is an increasingly attractive destination for Indian students. Thanks also to the grants offered by the EU Member States, more than 50,000 Indians are pursuing education in Europe at any given point of time. Since the opening of the program to India in 2004, the number of Erasmus scholarships and grants awarded to Indian students and staff members has now reached nearly 5900. There are now more than 123 Erasmus Mundus Joint master’s degree programmes currently open for students to apply.
9. How can I find about Erasmus Mundus Scholars to know about their experience?
To learn more about the benefits of Erasmus Mundus during and after your studies on the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni Association website:
for information about EM explained by fellow European EM students and alumni.
10. Where can I learn about research and innovation opportunities in the EU?
You can visit the following website to learn more about research and innovation Opportunities in Europe:
EURAXESS - Researchers in Motion is a unique pan-European initiative providing access to a complete range of information and support services to researchers wishing to pursue their research careers in Europe or stay connected to it. For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/
11. Where do EU HEIs stand in the global ranking of higher education institutions?
European universities take just over 40 per cent of the places in the list of the best universities in the world. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 ranks almost 1,400 universities around the world and over 500 of them are universities from Europe. In the EHEVF 2020, out of nearly 63 EU Higher Education Institutions that are participating, we have 7 universities from Top 200 universities and 16 universities from the Top 500 participating in EHEVF 2020 (basis THE’s World University Rankings 2020 & QS World University Rankings 2020)
12. Is there mobility within the EU system for higher education? For example, can we divide a masters course duration between two universities/HEIs?
Yes, you can but you will have to check with the individual institutions on the mutual agreements.
13. How do I know if the course I am considering is good or not? How does the EU assure quality standards in the HEIs in EUMS?
The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) is an umbrella organisation which represents quality assurance organisations from the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) member states. ENQA promotes European co-operation in the field of quality assurance in higher education and disseminates information and expertise among its members and towards stakeholders in order to develop and share good practice and to foster the European dimension of quality assurance.
The Erasmus Charter for Higher Education (ECHE) provides the general quality framework for European and international cooperation activities a higher education institution (HEI) may carry out within the Erasmus + Programme. The award of an Erasmus Charter for Higher Education is a pre-requisite for all HEIs located in an eligible country and willing to participate in learning mobility of individuals and/or cooperation for innovation and good practices under the Programme. For HEIs located in other countries, the ECHE is not required, and the quality framework will be established through inter-institutional agreements between HEIs.
14. Is the Indian graduate degree recognised for admission to a post-graduate course in any EU HEI?
Yes, Indian graduate degrees are recognised for admission to a post graduate course in EU HEI but admission criteria could differ from one institution to another.
15. Is there a common admission test for European HEIs like there is GMAT and GRE for US universities?
No. EU higher education institutes have no common admission tests.
16. Is it mandatory for Indian students to have passed TOEFL or IELTS in order to enroll on a study program that is taught entirely in English?
Yes, as a general rule, you need TOEFL or IELTS in order to apply for programs that are taught in English at the European universities. If, however, you’re applying for a postgraduate program and already hold a bachelor’s degree with English as the language of instruction, you should contact the respective institution and check.
17. Are there any scholarship opportunities available for Indian students wishing to take admission in EU HEIs?
Yes, there are several scholarships available for Indian students who want to pursue Higher Education in EU. Europe offers a vast range of higher education courses, and scholarships from national, regional or other funds may also be available. You may be interested in exploring these other scholarship and funding opportunities by consulting the "Study in Europe" website, which provides a range of useful information for students and links to courses, universities and national agencies.
18. I am an Indian postgraduate student and wish to do a Ph.D. in one of the EU HEIs. How do I proceed?
You should register at the website and check the list of institutions which are participating in the fair. Once you have selected the institution, check the eligibility criteria for enrolling for a Ph.D. Programme. You could join the webinar and address your queries first-hand to the EHEI representatives on 25th, 26th and 27th November, 2020.
19. Does the EU system allow Indian students to work in the EU after their college/ university education is completed?
Yes, but you will have to check in the country from where you have completed your education to know about the specific working rules and regulations for international students/ requirement of work or resident permit.
20. What is the value of a European higher educational degree in the Indian job market? Do Indian employers recognise European degrees or qualifications?
A good quality programme from European HEIs provides a great platform for job prospects not only in India but also prepares you for the international job market. It all depends on which kind of course you choose and which subject you specialise in. You will be able to learn more about job and career prospects at the virtual fair.
21. What are the visa requirements for the Indian students admitted to one of the EU HEIs?
You would need to apply for a Schengen Visa, if you plan to study in Europe. This enables people from outside Europe the right to move freely within the signatory countries of the Schengen Agreement as internal borders checks no longer exist within Europe.
22. What documents do I need when I apply for a student visa?
You have to inquire at the Embassy or consulate general in order to be certain, usually the following documents need to be submitted:
• Proof of your previous studies (and a higher education entrance qualification recognized in EU),
• Proof of admission from your university (or confirmation that you are soon to receive a letter of admission),
• Proof of your health insurance coverage,
• Proof of possessing sufficient financial resources and
• Proof of your language skills.
23. Won’t I find a language barrier in these countries?
All the European higher education institutions, which are participating in the EHEVF 2020, offer their programmes in English. So, for students from India, language will not be a problem while studying in Europe.
Europe is fast becoming a top region for finding study programmes in English, even in countries where English is not the local language. Over the years there has been an increase in the number of English-taught programmes even at the bachelor’s degrees.
24. Aren’t these universities very expensive?
European higher education institutions welcome Indian students in Europe. There are several scholarships and funding available in all the European countries, where the students can apply to when they get admission. The tuition fees in Europe are generally low compared to other continents.
25. How do I fund my education in these universities?
Take the time to look for financial support. You can connect to the relevant embassy in your country, they often have information at hand. Also check the national information portals that often provide lists of possible scholarship for their country. Do not forget to check out EU-funded scholarships under Erasmus+ programme.
26. Will I get a job in Europe after taking a degree from there?
As a student you can work while studying in most of the European countries. On completion of your degree with regards to getting a job you will have to check with the country you have opted to study. Work permits and visa rules vary on completion of the programme.
List of Programme Countries
India is a Partner Country part of Asia (Region 6)