As stated in the ERASMUS+ Student Charter, students should take full advantage of all the learning opportunities available at the host university and endeavour to perform to the best of their ability in all relevant examinations or other forms of assessment.
Studies at host university
Students must ensure that the modules they register for at the host university equate to 30 ECTS credits to pass Erasmus.
Students whose degree includes an integrated academic exchange are expected to take the majority of their modules in their own academic field. It may be possible to take a couple of modules from other academic areas, if permitted by the host university.
Students on a voluntary academic exchange are expected to select modules that match the content of the UL semester as closely as possible.
The UL Erasmus Academic Coordinator should be consulted before departure to establish the agreed workload with regard to module selection and degree requirements. The Academic Coordinator will usually have details of the courses available in partner universities and students should discuss what courses they are expected to take while abroad. It is important that students know exactly what is expected of them, in terms of the types of courses to take, workloads, credits, results etc., before leaving Ireland.
If there are changes to the provisional module selection, students should contact the UL Erasmus Academic Coordinator to verify changes. If there are any issues regarding courses at the host university, it is important to contact the UL Erasmus Academic Coordinator immediately.
The Learning Agreement is an essential ERASMUS document. It is the contract of study agreed between the student, the UL Erasmus Academic Coordinator and the host institution.
The Learning Agreement outlines the modules that the student intends to study at the host university, along with the ECTS credit weighting of each module and the required level of language competence.
The Learning Agreement must be signed by the student, the UL Erasmus Academic Coordinator and the Academic Coordinator at the host university prior to the academic exchange. This helps to ensure that the choice of courses is approved by the UL academic coordinator and thus can help to prevent any later misunderstandings.
Learning agreement process:
- Step 1: Complete the Learning Agreement with a provisional choice of modules.
- Step 2: Have it signed by the Erasmus Academic Coordinator, taking the original to be confirmed on arrival. Upload a copy of the provisional Learning Agreement onto the Erasmus SharePoint site before departure.
- Step 3: On arrival at the host university, make contact with the Academic Coordinator to discuss module selection and examination arrangements. Students normally have the first two weeks of term to finalise module choices.
- Step 4: Record changes on the Learning Agreement and have it signed by the host university.
- Step 5: Get the form approved by the UL Erasmus academic coordinator. Once signed by all parties, upload the form to the Erasmus SharePoint site.
Please contact the UL Erasmus Academic Coordinator once you are enrolled at the host university for advice on selection of subjects or if there is any deviation regarding the number of subjects or credits from that listed on the initial Learning Agreement.
What is the Online Linguistic Support (OLS)?
As of 1st January 2015, a mandatory language assessment has to be undertaken both before and at the end of the mobility period in order to monitor students’ progress in language competences. The Online Linguistic Support (OLS) is the platform used to assess students’ level of the language they will use to study at the host institution.
The Online Linguistic Support is currently available for the following six languages: Czech, Danish, German, Greek, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish.
The results of the assessment carried out before departure will not impact on students’ acceptance at the host institution.
In addition, a number of students will be given the opportunity to follow a free online language course during their stay in the host country to improve their linguistic competence.
Who must take the OLS language assessment?
The OLS language assessment is mandatory for all ERASMUS+ participants studying in a country where the main language of instruction is Dutch, French, German, Italian or Spanish.
Students must take the assessment twice - before and at the end of the mobility period - in order to monitor progress. The student’s language skills (listening, reading and writing) are assessed according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
What are the assessment steps?
Prior to the start of the ERASMUS+ mobility period, students will receive a login and password to access the OLS platform.
Students must complete the first language assessment before the mobility period. Taking the OLS language assessment before departure is a pre-requisite for the mobility, except if duly justified.
At the end of the mobility period, students will be requested to take a second assessment to assess the progress made.
What happens with the assessment results?
Only the students and the home institution receive the results of the assessments. The results will not be communicated to the host institution and do not prevent students from taking part in the ERASMUS exchange.
The assessment results can be used by UL to identify the participants most in need of linguistic support. Those students will be given access to the OLS learning platform to follow an online language course before and during their mobility period.
For more detailed information on how to participate, please consult the OLS website:http://erasmusplusols.eu/
ERASMUS students may choose modules from various disciplines and various years. Therefore, unlike in UL where students would follow a specific course within a specific year, there is no pre-established timetable for ERASMUS students at the host university. Students must organise their own timetable. The number of modules that students need to take will vary from one university to another as credit weightings can range from 1 to 15 ECTS credits per module. Modules must add up to 30 ECTS credits in total.
Students normally have two weeks to organise their timetable and register for modules. This can be a stressful exercise due to clashes, classes being full or not running, etc. It is advisable to set realistic goals, for example, undergraduate students will find Master’s modules very difficult; registering for an Economics module if you have never studied Economics is inadvisable.
Problems in organising the timetable should be discussed with a member of staff in the International Office or the academic coordinator at the host university.
In some universities students may be required to make an appointment with the lecturer for an individual assessment.
Students should be aware that the semester dates at the host university will be different to those at UL. For example, the Autumn semester may start as early as August in some universities, or not until October in others. Erasmus students must adhere to the academic calendar and exam schedule of the host university.
In the majority of European universities, Autumn examinations take place in January/February. It is usual to travel back after the Christmas break to finish classes and write examinations, even if this means missing the first week of the second semester at UL.
TERM DATES AT GERMAN UNIVERSITIES
Universities in Germany begin and finish later than in most other countries. The typical semester dates are mid-October to mid-March. You may not receive confirmation of accommodation until early October. This applies to other universities in certain other countries, where the administration offices are not as well staffed or as well funded as they might be. Concerned students may contact the UL ERASMUS Coordinator for advice, if this occurs. Students going to Germany may also experience difficulty because of the overlap in term dates between UL and the German partner. The ideal solution to this is to opt for a full year placement, with the approval of your Academic Coordinator and Course Director. Lecturers in Germany will issue certificates or Scheine at the end of January, as proof of studies; these include details of attendance, marks for essays and tests, as well as the Lecturer’s assessment of the student’s academic performance. The issue of the certificate should be arranged at the beginning of the semester.
Any request to extend the duration of the mobility period must be submitted before 31st October.
Students who wish to extend their placement from one semester to the full academic year should first check with the host university if it possible to extend the placement. If so, students must then seek approval in writing from the UL Erasmus Academic Coordinator and the UL Course Director for the relevant degree programme and must notify the UL Erasmus team. Authorisation by e-mail is acceptable. This is to ensure that it is possible from an academic perspective to spend the Spring Semester abroad. Students should provide a list of the modules they intend to take in the Spring semester. The modules need to be comparable to what students would be normally taking as part of their UL degree programme. If the FYP process begins during the Spring semester, students will have to choose a supervisor, submit their brief, etc. while studying abroad.
Students who extend their academic placement to the full academic year should be aware that the Spring semester placement is quality-graded, i.e. the grades obtained abroad will impact on the UL QCA, and students are required to take 30 ECTS credits (NB: this does not apply to International Business students).
Students of International Business should also seek approval from the Cooperative Education office.
Certain degree programmes, e.g. Psychology and Psychology & Sociology, do not have the option to extend the placement to a full academic year.
Students who start the Erasmus academic placement in the Spring semester do not have the option to extend the placement to a full academic year.
Students who have to withdraw from the Erasmus programme are required to contact the UL Erasmus team and the UL Academic Coordinator beforehand.
If the Erasmus placement is a requirement of the degree programme, students are required to obtain approval from Student Status Committee (SSC). Depending on the time of withdrawal, students may have to resume their studies at UL and register for alternative modules for the remainder of the semester.
Students who withdraw during the academic semester abroad will be required to reimburse the Erasmus grant.
Students must complete the full placement period as agreed at the host university and are expected to adhere to the academic calendar and examination schedule of the host university. This means that students are expected to take all examinations and assessments at the host university. Assessments can take many forms so make sure that you know how and when each of the modules will be assessed, and plan your studies and revision carefully.
Students should make sure that they understand the exam structure and grading system at the host University. It is imperative to attend classes, adhere to all deadlines and write all examinations at the host university.
Please note that Autumn examinations are scheduled in January in the majority of European universities. This means that students must make arrangements to travel back to the host University after the Christmas break to complete the semester and write examinations. This may cause some difficulties if examinations clash with the beginning of the UL Spring semester. Students are advised to sit examinations at the host University. This may mean missing the first week of the UL Spring semester. It is inadvisable to miss more than two weeks of the semester.
Each case is different according to the host University’s academic system and the modules being studied. If there is concern about sitting examinations abroad, please get in touch with the staff at UL, either the Erasmus Academic Coordinator in the relevant subject area or the UL Erasmus team, as soon as the exam timetable is published.
Students should be aware that the grading system in place at the host university will apply during the mobility period (not the UL grading system). The grading system, examination format, etc. at the host university will be different from that of UL. For example, most European universities have a 50% Pass rate, some universities have a 60% Pass rate. Some universities enforce an 80% attendance rule. Students who have an attendance record of less than 80% in a module may receive an automatic fail for that module.
To obtain the credits, the student must pass each module. No credits are awarded for failed modules and compensating fails do not apply.
Students are required to submit an official Transcript of Records (TOR) issued by the host University on return to UL. A Transcript of Records from the host university is the only proof that the placement has been successfully completed and academic requirements have been fulfilled.
It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that they obtain all the examination results from the host university and submit them to the UL Erasmus team as soon as possible.
Before returning to Ireland, students must ensure that they understand the host university’s procedure for obtaining the Transcript of Records. Some institutions forward the transcripts to the UL Global office, some post them out to the student’s home address, some do not issue a Transcript of Records unless students request it beforehand. Students studying in Germany should ensure that they collect all their ‘Scheine’ at the end of the academic placement. Students studying in Italy should ensure that they collect their Transcript of Records at the end of the semester.
Students who have taken a language course during the academic placement should submit the Language Certificate to the UL Erasmus team along with the ERASMUS Transcript.
The UL Erasmus team will transmit the Transcript of Records to the UL Erasmus Academic Coordinator and Academic Registry. Provided that the student has obtained the required credits at the host university, the Academic Coordinator will award a Pass to the student and will inform Academic Registry of same. For students whose Erasmus semster is graded on Normal basis, the Academic Coordinator will convert the host university grades to UL grades and will inform Academic Registry so that the student’s record can be updated.
Students should be aware that details of Erasmus results, such as module titles and local grades, will not appear on their UL Transcript of Records.
Failure to submit results before the end of the Erasmus academic year may delay progression to the following year and/or prevent graduation from UL.
There can be serious academic consequences to failing the semester abroad.
Any student who fails a module should take the repeat examinations at the host university in order to clear the Fail grade. However, this may not always be possible when repeat examinations take place at a time when students have left the host country. If so, where a student returns from Erasmus with less than the required ECTS credits, it may be possible to compensate the missing credits (if the credit deficit is small) by submitting additional work agreed with the UL Erasmus academic coordinator. Such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the student’s circumstances, the credit shortfall and the grades obtained. A decision on how to proceed can only be made once UL receives the student’s official Transcript of Records.
In cases where a student returns from Erasmus with no or very few credits, he/she may be required to complete an additional semester at UL, provided that this decision is approved by the Student Status Committee.
Students are also required to submit an Erasmus report within one month of finishing the Erasmus placement. The report, if deemed satisfactory, carries 6 ECTS credits.
Failure to secure a Pass for the ERASMUS academic placement will prevent graduation.