The short-cycle is practically-based, leading to qualifications that are occupationally specific and prepare learners to enter the labour market
The short cycle is often an independent part of the first cycle in the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area (equivalent to ISCED Level 5). The descriptors of the short cycle correspond to the learning outcomes of EQF level 5.
The Short cycle is typically represented by approximately 120 ECTS credits within national contexts. Some programmes are longer than three years but typically will not give more than 180 ECTS credits.
In the majority of countries students can use most of the credits earned to progress to degree courses.