I misunderstood the credit allotment for projects at Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão de Águeda. As it turns out, the project design courses carry credits in keeping with architecture design courses in the States. Jose sent me this explanation:
Good to hear from you, and thanks for sharing your blogpost.
I am afraid, though, that you didn’t get the project dynamics right. Projects are awarded, on average, 6 ECTS, which is more than they get for each of the supporting courses (we call them that, too), which tend to have 3ECTS each. At the end of the semester, the groups of students have to write a report and there’s a public discussion of their work, before a panel that includes the project supervisor and, usually, an external member (from another HE institution or from industry). Students get individual grades for their project work.
In fact, the number of credits associated with project work (exclusively, not including the supporting courses) in the program is roughly 30% of the total number of credits.