What is Erasmus?
What is Erasmus?
The purpose of Erasmus is to improve the quality of higher education and strengthen its European dimension. It does this by encouraging transnational cooperation between universities, facilitating the movement of students and teachers between European countries, and contributing to improved transparency and academic recognition of qualifications and studies throughout the European Union.
Bilateral Agreement is the agreement defining the framework and duration of the exchange planned by two higher education institutions within the scope of Socrates/Erasmus.
View or download the NHC Erasmus Charter (pdf).
Erasmus supports the following activities:
Student mobility - SM
Erasmus gives students (up to and including doctorate students, except for students enrolled in their first year of higher education) the opportunity to study for a period of 3-12 months at a university or higher education establishment in another participating country in the framework of agreed arrangements between universities.
Students who have been selected by their universities to spend an Erasmus study period at a partner university in Europe do not have to pay fees to the host university for tuition, registration, examinations or access to laboratory and library facilities during the Erasmus studies. However, costs such as insurance, student unions, the use of photocopiers and laboratory products may be charged. This condition also counts for Erasmus students not receiving a grant.
Teaching staff mobility - TM
Erasmus provides support for teachers giving, generally short courses, as part of the official curriculum of a partner university in another European country.
Organization of mobility - OM
Erasmus provides support to higher education institutions for the creation of optimal conditions:
- for students, to undertake recognized periods of study at partner institutions in other participating countries
- for teachers, to organize fully integrated teaching assignments of short duration
- for implementation of ECTS and Diploma Supplement (DS)
Erasmus policy statement
Erasmus policy statement
We are currently developing a robust international strategy with our partner institutions as part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. Our partners have evolved through previous relationships or where another academic partner can evidence good partnership. For new partnerships we are currently working with the UHI International Development Group about the use of agents and exploring examples of good practice as this is an attractive option in setting up new partnerships. So many contacts can now be made through email and video conference to establish a new partnership before a visit. Additional partnerships come through networking and speculative enquiries to the College and to the University central office in Inverness.
The main non EU geographical areas that are of most interest to us at present are North America, India and Pakistan, South East Asia, e.g. China and over to Malyasia. Each of the academic partners has some links in these countries already and we recently had a visit from professors from the Hunan Institute of Engineering which is a growing partnership between the two institutions.
Within the EU context we are particularly interested in the Scandinavian countries where in some cases we already have established links in Sweden, Finland and Iceland.
The Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters just of the coast of Caithness and very close to North Highland College has seen the world’s first commercial leasing round for wave and tidal devices. There has been worldwide interest in these developments and we are maximising the opportunities to develop incoming and outgoing student and staff mobility particularly in the renewables field. Our staff and students in Engineering have a lot to share but equally a lot to learn about how renewable energy is being implemented elsewhere in the world and through our Environmental Research Institute recent visits to Germany we are in very early discussions aiming to take forward a joint European Masters with colleagues in Germany, Spain, Norway and ourselves.
A large part of our mobility would be for those under taking short cycles, e.g. Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas which equate to first and second year of a degree programme. These certificates and diplomas are still highly valued by both students and employers as an exit route. Many of our previous students on these programmes studied part time as they worked at a local nuclear plant. However as the plant is now being decommissioned we are seeing our full time numbers grow and feel a period of study abroad should become an integral part of the programmes to ensure we continue to be at the forefront of engineering training, as the benefits’ of studying or working abroad speak for themselves.
As we are seeing an increase in our fulltime provision in first and second cycles we are encouraging staff to engage in mobility and as part of our staff development provision at the beginning of next academic year we have booked in several teachers from our own and partner institutions to provide some short talks on their experiences of undertaking a mobility placement. Additionally this will include from within the EU as well as non EU placements at our Environmental Research Institute.
Within the University of the Highland and Islands we have structures in place to award joint degrees in History and Politics to name an example. We have previously development a European Masters programme in Radiation Protection with partners from other countries and have used lessons learned around validation to inform our thinking on a potential new master’s programme in Energy Engineering with other European organisations.