Academic Information

Sorbonne Abu Dhabi follows the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) in which academic credits are attached to the completion of different components of study.

The definition of credits in higher education systems may be based on different parameters, for example, written and oral assessments, tutorials and personal work.

The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is a student-centric system based on the workload required to achieve the objectives of any individual programme. Objectives are specified in terms of the learning outcomes and competencies to be acquired.

ECTS is based on the principle that 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student during one academic year. Credits in ECTS can only be obtained after successful completion of the work required and appropriate assessment of the learning outcomes achieved. Learning outcomes are sets of competences outlining what the student will have learnt, understood or be able to do after completing a process of learning.

In general, credits awarded in one programme may be transferred to another programme offered by the same or another institution. This transfer can only take place if the awarding institution (Sorbonne University, Paris Descartes University and the Pierre et Marie Curie University) recognises the credits and the associated learning outcomes. Successful credit transfer requires academic recognition of credits by the Academic Committee.

Academic Progression

In order to pass a semester, students must obtain a minimum grade of 10 out of 20.

Passing from the first year to the second year of an undergraduate programme requires successfully completing semester 1 or semester 2. Passing from the second year to the third year of an undergraduate programme requires successfully completing semester 1, Semester 2 and Semester 3 or Semester 4. In order for an undergraduate student to graduate at the end of the third year, they need to successfully complete six semesters.

Once a unit of teaching has been earned, it can be kept indefinitely and used towards the overall result for obtaining a diploma. Units of Teaching (UE – Unités d’ Enseignement) higher or equal to 10/20 can be kept for a maximum of four years. Compensation operates at three levels without eliminating results: within the UE, between all the UE’s of the same semester and between the semesters of the same level of study.

Assessment and Examinations

The academic year is made up of two semesters, each comprising 13 weeks of teaching. Students are evaluated throughout the semester (continuous assessment) and a final examination takes place at the end of each semester.

Regular, enrolled students are eligible to sit for exams. First and second semester exams are held in January and May or June. A catch-up exam session is held for students who fail their courses. This session is normally held in June. All exam periods are confirmed and identified in a published academic calendar.


Attendance is compulsory to all types of classes, including lectures, tutorials, labs and class related conferences and activities.

In case his recorded attendance is less than 75% of the sessions of one course, the student may not be allowed to sit for the final exams of that course. In case his average recorded attendance is less than 75% of the classes offered in the programme, the student may be withdrawn from the programme.

An exceptional scheme can be applied for undergraduate students who cannot attend classes either due to employment or for medical reasons, subject to the acceptance of their request by the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Due to their professional activities, attendance of postgraduate students may follow specific rules, in agreement with the Head of Masters Department and the Director of the programme.


Any student who decides to withdraw their studies should inform the Admissions Department, complete the withdrawal form and hand over his/her ID card.