With a variety of courses to choose from and the chance the learn a second language for free studying in Denmark is a smart idea
Located in northern Europe, Denmark has a history of academic excellence. While a growing number of university courses are taught in English, studying in Denmark gives you the perfect opportunity to learn a Scandinavian language.
Living in the country isn’t cheap, especially on a student budget but high-quality public services such as free healthcare and an efficient transport system help to alleviate the financial pinch. Investing in a bike might be a good idea – the Danes love to cycle, which is good for the bank balance and the environment.
Denmark is regularly voted as one of the safest and happiest places to live making it a great choice for international students.
In your study free hours you can visit major cities such as Aarhus, Copenhagen and Aalborg and explore more than 400 islands.
Universities in Denmark
There are four types of higher education institution in Denmark:
- Universities offer traditional Bachelors, Masters and PhD degrees across a range of subjects, from psychology to zoology. There are eight of these in total, including the University of Copenhagen, which is ranked 81st in the QS World University Rankings 2020.
- University colleges provide vocational professional courses, in areas such as nursing, engineering and social work. These colleges have strong links with businesses and universities, opening students up to placement and employment opportunities.
- Artistic higher education institutions are specialist art schools for design, music, architecture and textiles students, among other artistic disciplines.
- Schools of maritime education and training offer research and practice-focused courses. These schools can be found in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Fredericia and Svendborg.
A full list of these institutions and their locations can be found at Study in Denmark – Higher education institutions.
The academic year runs from September to June, with exams taking place in January and June.
You won’t need to be fluent in Danish, the country’s official language, to study in Denmark – the country offers more than 600 degree programmes taught entirely in English.
Degree courses in Denmark
There are two types of undergraduate qualification in Denmark:
- Professional Bachelors – studied at university colleges, Professional Bachelors courses take three to four and a half years’ study and are designed to help you enter a particular profession. As part of a Professional Bachelors you’ll attend lectures and seminars and apply the knowledge you gain through placements before submitting a final project.
- University Bachelors – these three-year courses, focusing on one or two subject areas, give you academic grounding through research-based teaching to enter the labour market or go on to study for a postgraduate qualification.
You’ll submit any undergraduate course applications through optalgese.dk, where you can apply for up to eight courses per cycle and list institutions in order of preference. The deadline for applications is 15 March for start dates in the following August or September.
To study for a Bachelors degree you’ll need an entrance examination comparable to a Danish upper secondary school leaving certificate and proof of proficiency in English.
Search for Bachelors courses at Study in Denmark – Find your study programme.
Danish Masters degrees, otherwise known as Candidatus degrees, take one to two years to complete. Available in a range of subjects, on a Masters programme you’ll submit a dissertation or complete a practical project, as well as attend lectures and seminars.
Unlike with undergraduate courses you’ll apply for a Masters directly to the institution, usually via their website. Individual institutions advertise their own deadlines, although for European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss national students these will typically be around March for entry in the autumn. For international students application deadlines can be as early as January.
Entry requirements for a Masters include an internationally recognised Bachelors degree. There may be additional entry requirements for certain subjects – you should check with the institution that offers the course you are interested in before applying.
Search for a Masters at Study in Denmark – Find your study programme.
PhD studies in Denmark involve three years of independent research under expert supervision, where you’ll have access to the latest equipment and information to complete a thesis. Teaching and participation in research networks and placements are other integral parts of Danish PhD programmes.
To be eligible for a PhD you’ll need to hold a qualification equivalent to a Danish Masters degree, including all Masters degrees obtainable in the UK.
Students attending a UK university who would like to study in Denmark can do so via Erasmus+, the EU’s education, training and youth support programme. Erasmus+ offer study, work experience and voluntary opportunities to more than four million European students, with placements ranging from three months to one academic year in length.
Financial support is available through the Erasmus+ Grant, details of which can be found in the Erasmus+ Programme Guide. You’ll likely still incur charges for insurance or student union membership, but otherwise will be exempt from paying fees at the institution you complete your placement at. Speak to your university for information on how to apply.
If you’re from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, or studying in Denmark on an exchange programme, you’re in luck – you won’t incur any fees when studying a Masters.
You’re also exempt from paying for your education if you hold a permanent residence permit, a temporary permit that can be upgraded to a permanent one, or have a parent who is from outside the EU/EEA but works in Denmark.
All students whose circumstances fall outside these conditions are charged for their tuition. Fees will vary between institutions, but are generally in the region of €6,000- €16,000 (approx. £5,091-£13,577)
It’s worth remembering that, even if you qualify for free tuition, the cost of living in Denmark is higher than what you may be used to. Make sure you’ve budgeted and can cover the costs of food, accommodation and course materials – see Study in Denmark – Bank & Budget for a rough guide of how much living in Denmark will cost.
Funding to study in Denmark
While free tuition isn’t available to all students, there are plenty of funding options available.
For instance, American postgraduate students, at either Masters or PhD level, can apply to receive funding through the Fulbright Commission, which covers the recipient for a year’s tuition fees – between $8,000 and $21,000, depending on the institution.
Highly-qualified exchange students and researchers from other countries around the world may be eligible for funding from the Danish Government Scholarships under the Cultural Agreements. Scholarships are offered for long-term study periods and to cover the costs of summer language courses.
A full list of what’s available can be found at Study in Denmark – Tuition fees and scholarships.
If you’re a non-EU/EEA citizen, you’ll need a visa to study in Denmark – check to see if your country appears on the government’s list at New to Denmark. The type of visa depends on the duration of your stay. If you plan to study for less than three months you’ll need to apply for a short-term tourist visa. If you plan to study for more than three months you’ll need to apply for a residence permit before you arrive in the country.
You’ll need to pay the visa fee and will also need:
- a valid passport and passport photo
- an acceptance letter from your university
- proof of English proficiency
- proof of finances
- proof of travel and health insurance.
You don’t need a visa to study in Denmark if you’re from an EU/EEA country or Switzerland. However, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit upon your arrival if you’re staying for longer than three months (six if you’re employed).
To apply for this permit you’ll need to take your passport, a passport photo and a letter of admission from your institution to your local state administration (Statsfervaltningen).
How to apply
To apply for a postgraduate programme in Denmark you’ll need to provide evidence of previous education, including copies of your academic transcripts and Bachelor’s certificate, a photocopy of your passport, a CV and proof of your proficiency in the language your course is taught in.
Apply as early as you can. Check with your institution for their specific application deadlines.
You can start your search for English-taught postgraduate courses at Study in Denmark – Find your study programme.
To be accepted onto a higher education course in Denmark you’ll need to prove your proficiency in English, which you can do by passing one of the approved examinations:
Individual institutions specify their own pass rates for these exams. Native English speakers are exempt from test requirements.
If you’d like to study in Danish you’ll likely have to prove your proficiency by passing the Study Test in Danish as a Second Language – visit Studieskolen – Learn Danish for more information.
As an international student enrolled on an English-speaking programme, you’ll have the opportunity to learn Danish for free alongside your studies.
Admission requirements for studies at university in Denmark
First cycle studies (bachelor’s)
If you have successfully completed upper secondary studies in one of the signatory countries of the Lisbon Convention, are in possession of a valid school leaving certificate and qualify for higher education studies in your home country, you may also qualify for higher education studies in Denmark. However, you are requested to prove your level of English and/or Danish. In some cases, you are also requested to take additional qualifying courses.
Second cycle studies (master’s)
If you are applying for a master’s program at an institution in Denmark, you are required to be in possession of a relevant bachelor’s or equivalent degree diploma.
Third cycle studies (PhD)
In the event you are applying for doctoral studies at an institution in Denmark, you are required to be in possession of a relevant diploma or master’s degree program.
Language requirements to study at university in Denmark
If you are a student from another Nordic country, you don’t need to take a Danish test. However, if you are not a Nordic student, you will need to prove you are proficient in Danish both orally and in writing. In some cases, you may be requested to pass the exam “Studieprøven i dansk som andetsprog” (“Study Test in Danish as a Second Language”). In general, you should always check the language requirement with your host institution because it may vary depending on the study program you will be taking.
Additionally, you may also be requested to take course a in English if you don’t have the necessary level of command to successfully complete the selected study program. You should therefore check with your university if your current level of English is sufficient. For the majority of programs in Denmark, you will be required to have a level of command of English equivalent to a B1/B2 according to the Europass Language Passport scale.
Minimum grade requirement to access higher education studies in Denmark
For some competitive study programs, students may be ranked based on their grade point average from their previous studies. Therefore, always check with your Danish university or college about the minimum passing grade you need to meet.
University Entry Requirements in Denmark
Entry requirements vary depending on institution and program, however there are a few constants which will be covered here:
For admission to a Bachelor’s, you will need certificates of prior educational qualifications, complete with original stamps and signatures. Qualifications from other countries are usually eligible, however to improve your application you might want to assess how your educational qualifications correspond to Danish ones at ufm.dk/en/recognition. You may also be able to tell how your prior education compares to the Danish system by doing a transfer of credits. If this is not possible, non-EU students may be required to take an entrance exam.
To embark on a Master’s program in Denmark, a Bachelor’s that is relevant to your chosen subject matter and worth the same number of credits as a Danish degree (180 ECTS) is required. For admission to a PhD, you usually need to have a recognized Master’s or the equivalent in ECTS. In some cases, a longer four-year PhD program is offered to students who have a Bachelor’s degree plus one year of postgraduate study.
Proof of language proficiency
Because Denmark is a small country with a relatively small number of native speakers, many programs in Danish universities are taught in English. Entry onto these courses requires proof of a high level of English. Applicants to undergraduate and postgraduate programs must prove proficiency comparable to ‘English B’ in the Danish secondary school system as a minimum. Proficiency is determined by international language tests TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge ESOL (CAE). If you wish to undertake your degree in Danish, you will need to prove your proficiency in Danish by taking the ‘Danish as a Foreign Language’ test (Studieprøven i dansk som andetsprog) or ‘Danish Test 2’ (Danskprøve 2).
How to apply
For those applying to study a Bachelor’s degree starting at the beginning of the academic year (August/September), the deadline for admissions is 15 March. A few institutions have the option for students to commence their studies half way through the year at the start of the spring semester (January/February), in which case the deadline for applications is 1 September. Applications are submitted to the national admission website rather than to individual institutions. Application forms can be found here, and can be submitted from 1 February for the 15 March deadline. Responses to applications are received by 28 July.
Deadlines for applications to postgraduate study may vary as programs are run by individual institutions. It is recommended that you contact your chosen institution directly for details.
Top Five Reasons to Study Abroad in Denmark
- With one of the lowest rates of crime in the world, is a safe (and fun!) place to study abroad in Denmark.
- Enjoy listening to the world famous Royal Danish Orchestra, watching the Danish national football team or taking pictures of Jeppe Hein’s interactive works of art as you study abroad in Denmark.
- Indulge in fun food like “Sun Over God’s Home”, “Vet’s Late Night Bite” and “WienerbrØd”.
- Studying abroad in Denmark will be a culturally enriching and vibrant experience as art, design, music and cinema are all beloved treasures in Denmark.
- Denmark is one of the most socially progressive countries in the world. If you’re curious about alternative ways to create a successful society, Denmark will be a fascinating country for you to study abroad.
Studying Abroad in Denmark
Denmark is located in Northern Europe and is one of the region’s Scandinavian countries. It is neighbors with Sweden, Germany and Norway and shares borders with both the Baltic and North Seas. There are many islands in proximity to Denmark and the country, together with Greenland and the Faroe Islands, form the Kingdom of Denmark.
Study abroad in Denmark will place you among good company. There are approximately 230,000 students in Denmark and more than 18,000 of them hail from foreign countries. These students are offered a multitude of study abroad options and enjoy classes and programs in subjects like technology, business, healthcare, education, design, architecture and numerous others. Universities in Denmark offer students unique opportunities to combine theoretical study with hand’s-on practicum and many of the programs in Denmark focus intently on theoretical studies, academic research and skills acquisition.
Study abroad programs in Denmark will allow you to familiarize yourself with Danish, a Germanic language spoken throughout the country. You may also pick up on some Faroese and Greenlandic if you decide to visit Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Studying and practicing Danish will allow you to connect with your new community and also add a desirable skill to your resume. If Danish doesn’t come easily to you, don’t worry—there are numerous organizations in Denmark that offer free language class to students and the majority of the Danish population also speaks English. Denmark will allow you to press your linguistic limits and enjoy the comfort of hearing a familiar language.
If you decide to study in Denmark you’ll be living in the European Union but forgoing the Euro currency. The Krone is the official currency of Denmark and Kroner can be used to pay for anything from transportation to food to nights on the town. If you attend a Denmark study abroad program it’s a good idea to keep both Kroner and Euros on hand—Denmark’s quality ferry services can ship you to the land of the Euro in no time.
If you want to collect Kroner while you’re studying in Denmark, finding a part-time job or internship is a brilliant idea. Denmark has a strong and steady economy with an emphasis on free markets, globalization and labor security. The Danish enjoy a high quality of life and see their hard work paid off with security in career, income and benefits. Denmark is especially devoted to green energy and quality production of foods and goods. Bio and medical technology are others strong fields. Denmark, in fact, has the third-largest commercial drug-development pipeline in Europe and is one of the region’s largest exporters of medical technology. Finding a job or internship in these industries or others can be a great way to gain experience and enhance your adventure.
Life in Denmark
Denmark is a country steadfastly devoted to sustainability and security. The people of Denmark enjoy high social and financial security and the country is often times ranked as the world’s happiest. Its low levels of poverty, inequality and corruption lend a hand to the health, vibrancy and productivity of its people and its commitment to clean technology, life sciences and fiscal responsibility lend a hand to the strength of the nation. If you commit to studying abroad in Denmark you’ll find yourself in an environment rich with forward-thinking people, thought-provoking policies and life-enhancing opportunities.
Denmark, in addition to being a somewhat serious and focused country, is a fun and inspiring hotspot. Residents and tourists alike enjoy laughter-filled places like the Tivoli Gardens and BonBon-Land and frequent fascinating destinations like Experimentarium and the Statens Museum for Kunst (Denmark’s National Gallery). They enjoy beautiful zoos and parks, educational and creative museums, and beautifully designed castles and buildings. There is no shortage of exhilarating, influential, and inspirational destinations in Denmark.
Denmark is also leading the world in green technology. In fact, approximately 20 percent of Denmark’s electricity needs are covered by wind power and one of the largest wind power companies in the world is located in Denmark. The government has also committed to ending its dependence on fossil fuels by 2050 and has partnered with a company in the United States to transform the energy source of cars. If green energy and technology are on your list of interests, Denmark is the perfect location for you.
Study abroad in Denmark also allows you to experience the day-to-day life of the Danish. Extensive transportation options, communities and organizations devoted to sharing the very best of the country, and a kind and considerate population all contribute to a safe, secure, and fun time as you explore the country, attend your classes, and take care of everyday responsibilities.
History and Culture of Denmark
The population of the region now known as Denmark has been growing, transitioning and transforming since prehistoric times. The area’s prehistoric stories combine with the nation’s modern history to form a country that is a delightful combination of delicious antiquity and comfortable modernism.
Numerous influences have shaped Denmark throughout time. Famous people, like author Hans Christian Anderson, philosopher SØren Kierkegaard, and comedy pianist Victor Borge hail from Denmark and contribute to its dynamic literature, philosophy, and music scenes; styles of architecture, from Romanesque to Baroque to Neoclassicism, eventually joined a highly popular form of Functionalism to give Denmark its signature and unique look; and highly popular folkekomedie (folk comedy) has united with more serious, well-respected, and educational film productions to make Denmark’s cinematic scene a beloved source of entertainment and information.
Overall, Denmark is a blissful combination of stunning intelligence, whimsical fun and thoughtful composition; making it a wonderful destination to study abroad.
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