What and how can I study in Denmark?

There are many study options in English for international students in Denmark, from short AP degrees to bachelor’s, master’s and PhD’s and in various academic fields. Get an overview of what you can study in Denmark and how to apply through the common application system.

Study options

Full degree

Bachelor’s degree

There are two different types of bachelor’s degrees available in Denmark:

  • Bachelor’s degree: A 3 year/180 ECTS programme which is largely theoretical in its teaching. Offered by universities and is based on research. Provides access to further studies at master’s degree level.
  • Professional bachelor’s degree: A 3,5-4,5 year/app. 210 ECTS programme focused on professional practice in fields as healthcare, engineering, teaching, social work and business. Teaching is conducted as a combination of theory and practice and includes internships. Offered by university colleges, business academies and universities and based on research and close collaboration with industries. Provides access to further studies at master’s degree level in the same field. See VIA’s professional bachelor’s degree programmes and get more details on the professional bachelor’s degree here.

AP degree

Academy professional degree is a 2 year programme, usually consisting of 120 ECTS and oriented towards a specific profession. AP programmes are offered by university colleges and business academies and combine theoretical teaching with a practice-oriented approach, e.g. workshop classes or internships. See VIA’s AP degree programmes.

Top-up degree

An AP degree can be combined with a top-up degree of 1-1,5 year/90 ECTS, which provides graduates with a professional bachelor’s degree. As opposed to other study programmes in Denmark, you apply directly to the education institution rather than through the common optagelse.dk. See VIA’s top-up programmes.


A master’s degree is a 2 year/120 ECTS  research-based programme, enabling students to combine theoretical knowledge with the ability to apply this knowledge in practice. Some master’s degrees in Denmark include internships and all require independent research activities and a master’s thesis equal to at least 30 ECTS. A bachelor’s or professional bachelor’s degree is required to take a master and a master’s degree provides access to further studies, e.g. PhD. Primarily offered at universities.


A Danish PhD takes 3 years to complete/180 ECTS, and includes independent research, teaching and collaboration with other research institutions. There is some flexibility in planning a PhD programme.

Short term

Exchange programmes

Exchange programmes are study abroad programmes based on one institution exchanging a study place with a partnering institution abroad, usually for 1-2 semesters. This means that you have to be enrolled at an institution of higher education in your home country to be able to apply. Contact the international office at your home institution to learn more about your options. See VIA’s exchange programmes.

Summer school

A number of Danish institutions offer international summer schools at various levels and in many academic fields. Courses last 2-4 weeks and are a great opportunity to get a study abroad experience if you only have limited time to do so, or want to try studying in Denmark before applying to a degree programme. See VIA’s summer schools.

Short term exchange

Short term exchange programmes are a great alternative to taking a full semester abroad. Lasting from 2-6 weeks/5-15 ECTS, you can take a deep dive into a subject of your interest at an institution abroad. See VIA’s short term programmes.

Education institutions

In Denmark, there are four types of higher education institutions – universities, university colleges, business academies and artistic higher education institutions. Learn more about each type of education institution in Denmark here.

How to apply for an education in Denmark

Once you are ready to apply, make sure you fulfil both the general entry requirements, the specific entry requirements and language requirements of the programme and institution you are applying to. At VIA, you can find the entry requirements under enrolment at the webpage of your chosen study programme – Find VIA’s study programmes here.

  • Full degree application - In Denmark, application to higher education institutions is coordinated centrally at optagelse.dk. This means that you do not apply directly to the institution. You can apply for up to 8 prioritised study programmes in Denmark at the same time, but you will only be offered a study place at one.
    Application deadline for international students is 15 March 2023 at 12 noon. You will get an answer to your application 28 July.
    Go here to get VIA’s step-by-step guide for application to a full degree programme: EU-citizens – Non-EU citizens
  • Exchange application – Application for exchange programmes, both semester programmes and short term programmes, requires a nomination from your home institution. Therefore, your need to contact the international office at your home institution and they will guide you on the further process. Application deadline varies from programme to programme, but most are 1 May. See VIA's exchange programmes.
  • Summer school application – Apply directly at the webpage of the summer school programme you are interested in. See VIA’s summer school programmes. Application deadline is 1 April.