Vol. 1 – Defining Educational Degrees in Denmark

The Danish education system is complex and it’s difficult to figure out how the system works. We have selected a great deal of the Danish educational degrees for further education, which will be presented and explained to reduce confusion.

Katrine Lionett Pedersen

If you’re wondering how the complex Danish educational system is structured or just curious about the exact definitions and meanings of the various educational degrees out there, you’ve come to the right place. Hold your horses! Because we’re going to make it clearer for you with Vol. 1 – Defining Educational Degrees in Denmark. It will be continued with a Vol. 2, as a student guide.

Structure of the Danish Education System

Firstly, before we’re getting deeper into the educational degrees, it’s quite essential to know that the Danish system for further education is ECTS-based. And whatever does ECTS mean?

Introducing 5 out of 11 educational degrees in Denmark:

A bachelor’s degree

A professional academy degree

An academy degree

A professional bachelor’s

A top-up bachelor’s degree

Students - Defining Educational Degrees in Denmark
Students. Photo by Fausto Bottini

It’s an abbreviation of the European Credit Transfer System. It’s a European shared point system that makes it easier to credit transfer programs across countries. Each program is given a particular amount of ECTS-credits. The ECTS-points given rely on the academic content and the required time to finish the program.

Moreover, when taking part in a program of further education you can be entitled to the State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme (SU – udannelsesstøtte). But you and your educational degree or program must meet certain requirements. One of the requirements is that your educational degree or program has to be classified as a full-time study. However, look at the specific requirements at The Ministry of Higher Education and Science (Uddannelses og Forskningsstyrelsen).

Now we’re going to present all the opportunities you might have after graduating from the Gymnasium. Or completing any educational degree, and want to upgrade your education as the passionate student you’re. Here is Vol. 1 – Defining Educational Degrees in Denmark.

A Bachelor’s Degree (Bacheloruddannelse)

A bachelor’s degree is a research-based and full-time type of educational degree that typically lasts for three years.

The educational degree corresponds to 180 ECTS-credits and will give a student the respective professional knowledge. Moreover, the methodical and theoretical qualifications within a specific field. The purpose of the educational degree is to provide the university student with the capabilities to work within a chosen area.

There are two types of bachelor degrees: a bachelor of arts (BA) and a bachelor of science (BSc). You can typically do a BA within the areas of arts, languages, humanities, social sciences, history, communications, and etc. On the other hand, a BSc typically covers the areas of natural sciences, business and management, engineering, mathematics, informatics, and etc.

A great tip: you can sign up on Excelerate just before writing your bachelor thesis to get a thesis collaboration with a company. The best way to apply your knowledge to real-life business cases. Furthermore, to combine your thesis with your passion!

A Professional Academy Degree (Ervhervsakademiuddannelse)

A professional academy degree combines theory with practice and is targeted towards a specific profession. The educational degree typically lasts for two years, full-time, including a mandatory internship. It corresponds to 120 ECTS-credits. 

There are currently around 27 different kinds of professional academy degrees you can choose from in Denmark. If you hold a professional academy degree you get access to top-up bachelor degrees and other relevant diploma degrees. 

An Academy Degree (Akademiuddannelse)

Although this educational degree sounds very similar to the above described Professional Academy Degree, they are not identical.

Although both educational degrees are more or less on the same level, the requirements for an academy degree are different, as well as its primary target group.

This is typically an educational degree you take, as an adult while working, in order to specialize within a field of your work. It typically takes three years to complete, part-time. But some academy degrees can be completed full-time in one year. You register for one module at a time and the whole degree corresponds to 60 ECTS-credits in total.

It’s required that you’ve vocational training (erhvervserfaring) or an education at the upper secondary level (gymnasium). Moreover, two years of relevant professional work experience is required as well. With an academy degree, you get access to diploma and master degrees.

You’ll have to pay a student fee when enrolling at academy programs since they’re not SU entitled. You can take an academy degree within various kinds of areas.

A Top-up Bachelor’s Degree 

A top-up bachelor’s degree program is a type of educational degree you can take as a progression of your professional academy degree. Or if you have vocational training. Hence, you’ll also get access to candidate’s or master’s degree programs, subsequently. A top-up bachelor’s degree takes 1½ year as a full-time study to complete and corresponds to 90 ECTS-credits.

A Professional Bachelor’s (Professionsbachelor)

You can study for a professional bachelor’s at a university college, which typically lasts for 3½ years. In most cases, a professional bachelor corresponds to 240 ECTS-credits but others can also correspond to 180 or 210 ECTS-credits. When studying for a professional bachelor’s you’ve to take part in an internship for 6 months at a minimum. 

Moreover, the practical part, or “hands-on” part, is a lot more in focus than the theoretical part when enrolling in a professional bachelor’s program. In particular, in comparison to a bachelor’s degree where the theoretical part is in focus. Nevertheless, a mix of theory and practice is still present.

Students. Photo by Fausto Bottini

A professional bachelor is obviously targeted towards a very specific profession. There are currently about 85 different kinds of professional bachelor’s you can choose from in Denmark. As an example, after finishing a professional bachelor, graduates can get jobs as nurses, police officers, and physiotherapists.

Stay tuned to learn more about the educational degrees in Denmark, which include a candidate’s degree, master’s degree, diploma degree, HD, Ph.D., and a doctor’s degree. Read more about that in Vol. 2 – Defining Educational Degrees in Denmark.