The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System endows teaching and learning across Europe with a transparency apparatus, and eases recognition of all studies. ECTS cred-its are allocated to entire qualifications or study programmes, as well as to their educational components. They are based on the workload students need to invest in order to achieve and express expected learning outcomes. In this context, learning outcomes are verifiable state-ments of what learners who have obtained a particular qualification, or completed a pro-gramme or its components, are expected to know, understand and be able to do.

Positive assessment of learning outcomes is the pre-condition for the award of credits to a learner, since it makes it possible to ascertain whether he has acquired the desired knowledge, understanding and competences.

In the Salzburg II Recommendations, the European University Association states that: Ap-plying the credit system developed for cohorts of students in the first and second cycles is not a necessary precondition for establishing successful doctoral programmes. Some universities consider credits useful for the taught components of doctoral education, especially in cross-institutional (joint) doctoral programmes. Credits, however, do not make sense when meas-uring the research component or its associated dissemination outputs. Applied wrongly, rigid credit requirements can be detrimental to the development of independent research profes-sionals.

Nevertheless, a number of countries in the European Higher Education Area have already adopted a line allocating ECTS credits to all components of the third cycle, and there is a tendency towards increasing relevant numbers. In addition, a credit system would greatly add to the unambiguous clarity of joint programmes or to any type of mobility between structured doctoral programmes.

In view of the student-centred approach, which lies in the essence of the Bologna Process, and of the overall tendency to allocate ECTS credits at doctoral level – it should be considered to which degree and within which frame credit allocation is advantageous for doctoral candi-dates in chemical sciences within the European Higher Education Area.

In this context, and while taught educational components are easily ‘measurable’, it must be emphasised that the research part forms one integral non-modularised learning activity.

Actually, in the third cycle the workload is not connected to time, but reflects the total effort done by the candidate in order to complete his research. If administrative requirements proceed to the allocation of ECTS credits per semester or year, attention should be called to the fact that this splitting up does not quantify progress in research, and frag-mentary credit award is nominal and provisional.

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