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Study in Denmark


Find, in this article, all that you need to know about the Danish higher education system if you are looking forward to study in Denmark.

If you are planning to study in Northern Europe, you might probably choose Denmark for its prosperous economy and high living standards. The country also has a developed higher education system thanks to the presence of several prestigious universities. It has thus been attracting foreign students in large numbers since many years. But in all cases, before moving, make sure you are aware of all relating conditions and formalities.

Higher education system

The Danish higher education consists of 8 universities, 14 specialized higher education institutions, as well as over 500 programs that are fully taught in English.

There are three types of institutions in Denmark: universities, university colleges and vocational academies. Each of these offers different diplomas.

If you choose to study in a university, you will be entitled to a Professional Bachelor’s Degree, a Top Up, a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree or a PhD. Vocational academies and university colleges, for their part, grant Academy Professions Degrees, Professional Bachelor’s Degrees and Top Ups.


There are six major higher study programs in Denmark:

  • 2 year Academy Profession (AP) programs are provided over two years by vocational academies. These are closely linked to the labor market and are at human scale. Theoretical and practical training is provided, including compulsory internships so as to train students more rapidly and allow them fit into the labor market more rapidly.
  • Top Up programs, for their part, allow students to go directly to the third year of Professional Bachelor’s Degree following the AP.
  • The Professional Bachelor’s Degree is provided over three to four and a half years, depending on whether the student has chosen a full-time or part-time course. They will then be qualified in a specific professional field.
  • Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s Degrees and PhD include three years, five years and eight years of studies respectively, as elsewhere in Europe.


Vocational academies

To register in a vocational academy, you must be the holder of a general, professional or technology baccalaureate. Given that courses are delivered in English, you will be required to pass an English language test through the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE.


Universities are accessible to holders of end of secondary studies diplomas. Note that a good command of English is required. You may thus have to pass a language test via the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE.

In general, registration forms are available two months prior to the deadline. The fall is either in January or February for first groups and in September or October for the rest.


Each institution manages its registration applications locally. However, these are coordinated at the national level. You are thus required to apply through the national Optagelse website for registration to undergraduate studies. All information relating to registration and conditions is available on this website.

 Good to know:

Unlike in many countries where rates range between 10, 20 and 100 marks, Danish institutions proceed differently. Seven grades are taken into account:

  • -3     Ungraded
  • 0      Unacceptable work
  • 2      Minimum acceptable
  • 4      Pretty good job, but significant weaknesses
  • 7      Good work, some weaknesses
  • 10    Very good job, some gaps
  • 12    Excellent

Student resident permit

Foreign students are entitled to two types of resident permits. The first applies to students at all levels, except the PhD level. The second type of permit applies to PhD students only.

In both cases, the first part of the application form has to be filled by the Danish higher education institution. A NemID will be issued to the student who then have to fill the second part of the application form. A set of documents will be requested and fees apply.

Applications are generally made online but printed forms are also available. Procedures are the same. However, documents will have to be sent by post. Moreover, the applicant will have to deposit his application file and pay relating fees at the nearest Danish embassy or consulate to his place of residence in his home country. Note that all documents have to be produced within 30 days following the application date.

In case you are already in Denmark for other reasons, you can still apply for the student resident permit on the spot. The application file can be deposited at the Citizen Center of Copenhagen or at the nearest police station.

 Useful links:

Study in Denmark – Denmark Official Student Portal
Study in Denmark – Universities
Study in Denmark – Tuition fees and scholarships
Optagelse – University registration guide

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