Study abroad guide to Denmark

study abroad in denmark

By Yashi Banymadhub,


Situated in the north of Europe, Denmark is a kingdom of picturesque landscapes and historic cities, a place bursting with adventure and new opportunities if you are looking to broaden your horizons by studying abroad. Home of the Kronborg castle (better known as Elsinore in Shakespeare’s Hamlet), Denmark is bound to be a popular location for studying, especially among literature lovers.

With several Danish universities ranking among some of Europe’s finest institutions, it comes as a surprise that there is only one UK student that studies abroad here for every 15 international students that come to the UK.  Let’s face it, moving far from friends and family to study overseas can be daunting. However, if immersing yourself into a new culture, seeing the world and dodging a long term debt of £40,000 sounds appealing, then completing your higher education in Denmark could be just the thing for you.


Education is completely free of charge in Denmark, but on the other hand the living cost is considerably higher in comparison to the UK. The Technical University of Denmark has revealed that students spend up to an estimated 8980 Kroners (£1,015) per month on rent, food and household expenses,  books, clothing, transport, leisure and quarterly expenses (that too on a tight budget!). That’s double the amount spent by the average UK student. Outrageous. But here are a few steps you might want to consider in order to make sure you are not out of pocket by the end of the month.


Although Danish is the official language of Denmark, English is compulsory for children at primary school and is therefore spoken by nearly all Danes. Many courses are also taught in English. So you can get away with not learning any Danish and still communicate perfectly well with everyone at university. Even so, learning the official language will not only be a valuable asset but it can also be socially rewarding and could increase your chances of finding a job in Denmark. The great thing is that both day and evening Danish courses are offered to all international students, free of charge, by language centres all over the country. If you have a really busy agenda, online courses are also available so that you can learn the language in your own time. Click on the link below to see a map of language centre locations in Denmark:


Rich in culture and heritage, Denmark is the home of the Vikings. Discover its fascinating history through ancient monuments, Viking boats and other relics scattered across the country. Denmark is also unique in arts and fashion, with a wide range of cultural activities to offer:

Denmark has a number of popular theatres that are often frequented by young people. Among those are The Royal Danish Playhouse and the Det Ny Theatre. Set on the Langelinie waterfront, the oak-boarded platform outside The Royal Danish Playhouse is a perfect place for a late night stroll after a theatre performance or to chat with a friend over a cup of coffee whilst admiring the stunning views that the harbour has to offer. If you fancy somewhere a bit more posh, the Det Ny Theatre could be the ideal hangout for you if you are in need of a little glamour. The grand staircase with its exquisite statues and red and gold theme will have you thinking you are on board the Titanic (in a good way). If you want to let your hair down, drink yourself to oblivion and party ‘til the sun comes up, you will want to check out the various underground clubs such as Bakken Kbh, HIVE and Jolene. Denmark offers a number of musical events and festivals throughout the year to suit all music tastes, including the annual Jazz Festival.  

Top universities in Denmark

Danish universities include a number of traditional and technical institutions that offer Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD qualifications in all academic fields. There are eight main universities in Denmark:

  • The University of Copenhagen
  • IT University of Copenhagen
  • Copenhagen Business School
  • Roskilde University
  • Technical University of Denmark
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • Aalborg University
  • Aarhus University

According to QS World University Rankings 2013, statistics show that the best Scandinavian universities are actually in Denmark, with the University of Copenhagen in 51st place in 2013, making it the best Nordic university in the world.  The University of Copenhagen is also the best Danish university according to the Shanghai Jiao Tong rankings at 42nd place on the list. The Times Higher Education (THE) world university rankings also includes three of Denmark’s top universities on its list, with the Technical University of Denmark coming first and ranking 117th in the world, closely followed by Aarhus (138th  place) and the University of Copenhagen (150th place). With five of the country’s eight universities on these lists, there is no doubt that Denmark offers a quality education.

The University of Copenhagen

Founded in 1479, the University of Copenhagen is Denmark’s oldest university. With a student body of 37,000, 2,300 of which are international, it is also the largest institute of research and education in Denmark. Specialising mainly in scientific approaches, the university offers more than 200 courses in health sciences, humanities, law, life sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, science, social sciences and theology. The University of Copenhagen is also part of the IARU (International Alliance of Research Universities) that consists of 10 universities worldwide, including the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and Yale University.  

Aarhus University

A relatively new university founded in 1928, Aarhus is Denmark’s second largest university, consisting of several institutional departments: Arts, Science and Technology, Health Sciences and the School of Business and Social Sciences. Aarhus is said to be one of the best European cities to study in. It is a blend of vitality and history; a serene location on the Jutland peninsula, with student life dominating the city.

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Just north of Copenhagen, in the Lyngby district of Denmark’s largest island, Zealand, is where DTU is situated. One of the top technical universities in Europe and founded by H.C. Ørsted  (the father of electromagnetism) it specialises in natural and technical sciences.  Its website claims that there is ‘never a dull moment at DTU’.

University of Southern Denmark

The University of Southern Denmark was established in 1998 and consists of approximately 20, 000 students. Located in Odense, the birthplace of the renowned writer, Hans Christian Andersen, and just over an hour away from the bustle of the capital, Copenhagen, where you can find the famous statue of The Little Mermaid (one of the most popular landmarks in Denmark, in memory of the storyteller). At the University of Southern Denmark you can enjoy the high-tech facilities and connect with the university’s network of businesses and institutions to increase your work experience. Main departments consist of engineering, humanities and social services faculties.  

Aalborg University

Set in a lively, urban city, Aalborg University is an internationally focused university, with international students constituting 10% of the main student body. Aalborg University is renowned for its trademark learning model - the PBL Alborg model - that is nationally and internationally recognised as an effective and advanced learning model.

Admissions requirements

In Denmark, admission requirements depend on each individual university and the course itself. Non-Danish citizens without Danish qualifications are only eligible for admission if they have qualifications that are equivalent to Danish entrance qualifications. Although requirements vary from university to university, it is advisable to have your qualifications assessed, in order to get a rough idea of how they match the Danish requirements. This can be done at

Some institutions require a B in English at upper secondary school level (or A levels in the UK) while others ask for an A. This is because all higher level education programmes in Denmark require a good command of English. Examinations are also set as proof of a high level of English, however, native speakers are exempted from this.

Recognition of degree

You can rest assured that your Danish degree will be of a high quality and relevance and will be recognised on a global scale. All universities in Denmark use the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTAS) which makes international credit transfer a lot easier. Certificates and other relevant documents will be received upon the completion of your degree.

You will be able to pick between a Professional Bachelor’s Degree (obtaining a degree which is aimed at a specific job from a university college) or a University Bachelor’s Degree, which is predominantly research and theory based.