EU affairs training courses offering certificates come under the Bologna process, whose aim is to harmonise EU member states' higher education systems.

The process was set in motion in 1999 with the joint declaration of European education ministers in Bologna, Italy. With the aim of creating a European higher education area', it has sought to improve the understanding of and comparability between education systems, programmes and degrees by organising, first of all, a system of easily understandable and comparable academic grades, and a system based on three cycles: degree, master's, doctorate (see box).


By defining the different cycles of studies through a number of credits' to be obtained, the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) is seen as Bologna's key instrument. From now on, in all member states, a year of higher education is worth 60 credits, a semester 30 credits and a trimester 20 credits. The calculation of the credits is based on the amount of work - set at 25 to 30 hours per credit - which the student needs to do to achieve the results of the courses. These are results that "describe what the student must usually...

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