Recognition of study credits

Legal basis

Since the 'Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region' – the European Union's so-called Lisbon Convention – was ratified by Germany in 2007 and integrated into German law, universities are generally required to recognise externally obtained study credits. This recognition can only be denied if the university can demonstrate that the study credits obtained abroad are not equivalent.

The burden of proof that an application for recognition does not fulfil the necessary criteria because there is a substantial difference lies with the body responsible for the recognition of credits, which at HAW Hamburg is usually the Examinations Committee for the respective degree course. This principle is reflected in Section 40 of the Hamburg Higher Education Act (HmbHG).

Recognition process in the faculties

The recognition of study credits earned abroad is the responsibility of the departments in the faculties. The processes in the faculties and departments vary. This is why it is essential to organise an advising session with the responsible person in your faculty well in advance of your study stay abroad.

General procedure:

  • Before the stay abroad: The student and the responsible individual in their department/faculty agree on the course programme during the study stay and complete a binding written agreement regarding the recognition of credits at HAW Hamburg (for Erasmus+ this takes place via the mandatory 'Learning Agreement' document)
  • After the stay abroad: Student applies for recognition of credits in accordance with the department-specific process, submitting the application to the responsible individual.

HAW Hamburg does not have any generally applicable tables for converting study credits or grades. Each department decides independently on recognition and conversion.