Education System in Denmark
As of 2003, the Danish education system follows the same two-cycle model as the rest of Europe, dividing study into undergraduate (Bachelor’s) and postgraduate (Master’s and PhD/Doctorate). This system serves to facilitate and encourage international mobility within Europe, as the qualifications are equivalent throughout all countries involved in the Bologna agreement.
Danish institutions of higher education are categorized according to level of study and field of teaching:
- Academies of professional higher education (Erhvervsakademier) offer short-cycle pre-Bachelor programs called Academy Profession degrees (detailed below)
- University colleges offer 3-4 year professionally orientated programs (Professionshøjskoler) at a level corresponding to a Bachelor’s
- Universities offer long-cycle programs and are either multi-faculty or specialize in fields such as engineering, technology and business
- Universities of the arts offer long-cycle programs – they are regulated by the Danish Ministry of Culture and offer courses in visual arts, music, film, theatre and media
The types of degree available to you in Denmark are as follows:
Academy Profession degree (erhvervsakademigrad)
This is a pre-Bachelor’s qualification obtained after 1.5-2.5 years of study, depending on the amount of ECTS (European credits) required. Programs are geared towards employment in business, industry and science, and entail a work placement of a minimum of three months. Sometimes the Academy Profession qualification can be ‘topped up’ to become a Bachelor’s with a further 1.5 years of study.
Professional Bachelor’s degree (professionsbachelorgrad)
This degree takes 3 to 4 years to complete, depending on the chosen program. It caters to vocational professions, and all programs include a compulsory period of in-service training (for a minimum of 6 months). Taking a Professional Bachelor’s provides a gateway to a Master’s program in the same or a similar field. This is the degree that is awarded after ‘topping up’ an Academy Profession degree with an extra 1.5 years of study.
- Bachelor’s degree: This takes 3 years to complete, and is awarded after 180 ECTS have been obtained. A Bachelor’s degree can be awarded in all disciplines apart from the liberal arts and leads onto a Master’s qualification in a similar field.
- Bachelor’s degree within the arts: This program is also takes 3 years and is awarded after 180 ECTS. It is a qualification in liberal arts such as fine art, architecture or music. A degree in filmmaking or musical theatre is awarded after 4 years or 240 ECTS, and admission is usually conditional on passing an entrance exam.
Diploma degree (diplomuddannelse)
These are preparatory courses for students pursuing highly qualified occupational or vocational fields. A Diploma degree must be undertaken before admission to a Master’s in such a field. The qualification is awarded after 2 years or 60 ECTS, and admission to the course requires a relevant educational qualification and at least 2 years of work experience.
- Master’s degree (kandidatgrad) : A Master’s usually takes 2 years to complete and requires 120 ECTS, however certain programs such as medicine and veterinary medicine are longer, taking between 2.5 and 3 years to complete
- Master’s degree within the arts: This qualification caters to the arts, is 2-3 years long and requires 120-180 ECTS. Music academies also offer a specialist degree of 2 to 4 years.
- Master’s degree (adult/continuing higher education): This is the postgraduate equivalent of the diploma degree. It prepares students for highly qualified occupational or vocational pursuits such as engineering, technology and business. You are required to have completed a Bachelor’s in the relevant subject matter, as well 2 years of work experience.
PhDs involve a research project undertaken independently. You need to have completed a relevant Master’s degree (PhDs are usually the culmination of 8 years of study), and the qualification itself usually takes 3 years (180 ECTS).
Learn more about education in Denmark: