Higher education in Denmark

Højere videregående uddannelser i Danmark
Here you can find information about university, academy and vocational college programmes in Denmark, and about how to apply for admission if you wish to study in Denmark.

A wide range of programmes of higher education are offered in Denmark. Most programmes of higher education are either university study programmes, professional bachelor (academy) study programmes or vocational college programmes. As a general rule, you must have completed secondary school education in order to be admitted.

The Nordic countries have entered into an agreement on access to higher education in the Nordic countries. The agreement gives everyone living in a Nordic country the right to apply for admission to programmes of higher education throughout the Nordic region on the same terms. If you live in another Nordic country and wish to study in Denmark, you can apply to be admitted to a programme of higher education in Denmark on the same terms as residents of Denmark.

You can read more about study programmes in Denmark at Uddannelsesguiden (The Education Guide).

    University programmes

    The universities offer three-year Bachelor programmes and two-year Master's programmes. The Master's programmes build upon the Bachelor programmes. A complete education can therefore last five years.

    Graduates of Master's programmes can apply for a research position and take a PhD.

    A university education is scientifically based, with scientific theories and methods forming the foundation of the approach to the subject area. It provides both academic breadth and deep, specialised insight.

    Academy profession and vocational colleges

    At academies and vocational colleges, you can take the following types of programmes:

    • Academy profession programmes with a duration of from 1½ to 2½ years.
    • Professional Bachelor study programmes, which usually last from 3 to 4 years
    • Professional Bachelor study programmes as graduate programmes, which last 1½ years

    You can build further upon several vocational college programmes with a Professional Bachelor degree.

    Academy Profession (AP) programmes

    An Academy Profession (AP) programme usually lasts around two years, and was previously known as a short course of higher education. It includes theoretical tuition at the place of education and practical work experience of at least three months’ duration, either in Denmark or abroad.

    Examples of academy profession programmes include:

    • Dental care professional
    • Construction technician
    • Linguistic officer
    • Multimedia designer
    • Retail manager

    Graduates of an Academy Profession programme are entitled to use the title “AP Graduate in” (in Danish: ‘AK’).

    Professional Bachelor programmes

    A Professional Bachelor programme is a vocational programme that usually lasts 3½ years. It was previously known as a medium-length course of higher education. The programme consists of both theoretical and practical teaching, in which the practice or clinical tuition (in the health science study programmes) has a duration of at least six months. However, some programmes have longer periods of practical experience.

    The programmes can be organised in such a way that the final 1½ years, or more, can be used as a superstructure in relevant vocational college programmes, of which at least three months must consist of practical work experience.

    The educational institutions can also arrange independent graduate programmes for the vocational academy programmes. Together with the qualifying programmes for admission to vocational college, these usually have a total duration of from three to four years.

    Examples of Professional Bachelor study programmes are:

    • Educator
    • Primary school teacher
    • Actor
    • Journalist
    • Ship’s officer
    • Nurse
    • Bachelor of Engineering

    A Professional Bachelor programme confers the title “Bachelor of” (in Danish: Professionsbachelor).

    Other educational study programmes:

    Other education and training opportunities are available besides university, Professional Bachelor and Academy Profession programmes, such as with the police or defence forces. There are also a number of artistic programmes.

    Admission to programmes of higher education in Denmark

    Anyone living in a Nordic country has the right to apply for admission to programmes of higher education in Denmark. However, all applicants with a foreign examination must apply by 12.00 pm on 15 March in the year in question.

    The study places available are divided into two quotas: ‘quota 1’ and ‘quota 2’. If you are a Nordic citizen, you will be assessed under both quota 1 and quota 2.

    You can apply for admission at Optagelse.dk

    Quota 1: Application on the basis of upper secondary school education

    In quota 1, you are admitted on the basis of your average grades in the examination that qualifies you for admission. The initial average is the one that applies; no grades from any later, supplementary subjects will count towards the average in quota 1.

    This means that even if you have improved your grade average through supplementary courses since completing your upper secondary school examination, you can only use the average grade in your original examination when you apply for admission under quota 1 to a programme of higher education in Denmark.

    Supplementary courses may however be used to meet the requirements for your level in specific subjects.

    Quota 2: Application on the basis of previous education and other experience

    In quota 2, you are admitted on the basis of an overall assessment. This may include work experience, supplementary education, stays at folk high schools and the like, depending on the individual institution and the specific study programme.


    If you have previously completed courses in a study programme, you can apply for one or more of the subjects to be credited as part of a new study programme.

    All inquiries about this should be directed to the educational institution in question.

    Further information


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