admission to higher education
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Admission to Higher Education Programmes in Denmark

Guide to citizens from EU and EEA countries, who wish to apply for admission to an English taught higher education programme in Denmark

Students with diplomas from an upper secondary educational institution in EU and EEA countries can apply for admission to higher education programmes in Denmark. These applicants will be considered on equal terms with Danish applicants and must meet the same entry requirements.

Applications to higher education programmes in Denmark are coordinated centrally. Thus, prospective students do not apply directly to the single educational institutions, but through the national admission website: www.optagelse.dk

You can find a guide for international applicants: How to fill in your application.

The website opens on 1 February. The deadline for applications is 15 March at 12 noon. Applicants can apply for up to 8 different higher education programmes at one time, among those the same higher education programme at several higher educational institutions. You need to make a priority of your choices. You may only be offered a maximum of 1 study place. If you are offered a study place, it will be at the highest possible of your priorities. If you are not admitted to any of your prioritized higher education programmes, you will receive a rejection letter from the coordinating authority.

Information about studying in Denmark

The website http://studyindenmark.dk/ contains information on studying and living in Denmark.

The Danish official website http://www.ug.dk/ has a short description of programmes taught in English.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science in Denmark lines up the rules for applying to a Danish higher education programme with a foreign exam. However, it is the individual higher education institution that assesses your application and assesses whether you meet the entry requirements.

Regulations of Admission ( Quota 1 and Quota 2)

There are some general rules concerning the application for an undergraduate higher education programme.

On most higher education programmes the applicants are separated into two quotas; 1 and 2. Citizens from EU and EEA with a qualifying exam can be assessed in both quotas. If you have another access basis, e.g. vocational training or single subject courses, you need to be assessed in quota 2.

In both cases (quota 1 and 2) the application deadline is 15 March, at noon. If you finish your exam in June, you can apply before the deadline anyway. In this case you can attach the diploma to your application on optagelse.dk before the 5th of July.

Quota 1

In quota 1 you will only be assessed on basis of the result of your qualifying exam (an upper secondary education); your grade point average (GPA). You must upload your diploma to your application at optagelse.dk. The higher education institution will convert your GPA to the Danish 7 point grading scale, in order to compare your GPA with the GPA’s of the Danish applicants. This requires that your upper secondary school exam can be equated to a Danish upper secondary school exam.

The assessment in quota 1 is based on the principle of descending order of grade point averages. This means that applicants with the highest grade point averages are admitted until all the seats are taken. The last applicant’s grade point average is the minimum GPA for admission, and this is first known when the entire admission process is completed on 30 July.  This GPA’s can therefore vary from year to year depending upon the number of applicants, the GPA’s of these applicants and the number of available study spots. 

Quota 2

Two different groups of candidates can apply through this quota:

You have an upper secondary education: If your GPA is not high enough for admission in quota 1, you can apply through quota 2 and be assessed on your other qualifications as well. Your application will automatically be assessed in quota 1 simultaneously, so you only have to apply for each programme once.

You have other qualifications than an upper secondary education:  You can apply for some programmes based on other qualifications, e.g. vocational training or single subject courses. However, this is only an option for specific programmes, e.g. some professional bachelor degree programmes and academy profession programmes.

Criteria in quota 2

Each higher education institution sets the criteria for admission through quota 2 for each programme. The criteria express the range of qualifications on which the higher education institution evaluates the applicant. You do not need to meet all these qualifications, but the more qualifications you meet, the greater is your chance of admission. Please notice that some programmes might have specified minimum criteria that you have to fulfil. Some higher education institutions request a motivational essay as a part of a quota 2 application.

You will find more information on the specific criteria on the website of each higher education institution. There you will also learn more about which kind of information and documentation they need to assess your quota 2 application. It is very important to do a thorough study of the requirements (criteria and documentation) to be sure that your application can be assessed in quota 2. If you apply for the same programme at different higher education institutions, please note that they might have different quota 2 criteria.

Applying for admission through quota 2 gives you an extra opportunity to be admitted. But it only makes sense to apply, if you actually meet some of the qualifications that the higher education institution asks for.

Admission Test and Interviews

Some programmes only admit applicants through quota 2. These programmes have admission tests, interviews or a combination.  The test or interview will take place after 15 March. It is mandatory to attend the test or interview in order to maintain a possibility to be admitted.

Please note that some programmes with admission tests require that you produce different kinds of written material and attach it to your application before the application deadline 15 March, at noon. Learn more on the website of the single higher education institution.  

Application deadline

The application deadline is 15 March, 12 noon.  It is always a good idea to apply at www.optagelse.dk well before this date to avoid any queue at Optagelse.dk and to make sure that the higher education institution(s) have received the signature page before 15 March, 12 noon. The signature page will be generated on optagelse.dk after finishing the digital application. You must print it, sign it, and send it to the higher education institution. The page contains an application ID, which is needed for the higher education institution to find and download your application at Optagelse.dk.

The signature can be sent by email. Learn more on the website of the higher education institution.

Please note, that you must send a signature page for each application.

Application process

Most non-Danish applicants apply for a programme taught in English, which requires a certain level in English. If you want to apply for a programme taught in Danish, you must meet requirements of your skills in Danish. If you do not have any proven Danish skills, you may need to take Danish lessons for a period of up to 3 years in order to obtain the required level in Danish. Citizens from other Nordic countries with Danish, Swedish or Norwegian included in their Upper Secondary Education usually do not need to prove their skills in Danish. If you want to apply for a programme taught in Danish, you will have to use the Danish Entrance: ‘Søg videregående uddannelse’ at www.optagelse.dk

The following is a guide to apply for an educational programme taught in English at optagelse.dk:

On www.optagelse.dk you will find a separate entrance: Apply for higher education in English. In making the application, you will get relevant information about the steps in the application and what to do.  On www.optagelse.dk you will find a guide with a comprehensive description of the application procedure step by step. To create an overview, please read it before you start the application process.

If you apply for more than one programme, please note that you must make a priority. Your 1st priority is the one you prefer to be admitted to, 2nd priority the next, etc.

Important points:

  • You can apply for up to 8 programmes
  • You must send a signature page for each application
  • It is possible to make a mix of quota 1 and quota 2 applications
  • If you apply for the same programme at several places, you must make an application to each higher education institution
  • You may only be offered a maximum of 1 study place
  • After the application deadline 15 March, at noon you can change the order of your priorities until 5 July, 12 noon.

It is mandatory to use www.optagelse.dk . If you are disabled and therefore unable to use the digital application system, you may contact the higher education institution to be exempted and get a permit to send an application by mail. In that case the higher education institution will provide paper forms.

Entry requirements and basis

Your educational background determines which kind of programmes you can apply for. Many higher education programmes require a full upper secondary education. You can apply for some higher education programmes with other qualifications, e.g. vocational training or a number of single subject courses.

Information about the programmes that you can apply for with your educational background can be found on www.ug.dk: Programmes in English. You will find information about specific requirements on the website of each higher education institution.

The specific requirements could be:

  • Subjects passed on a certain level. In Denmark we use the levels A, B and C. A is the highest level.
  • Subjects passed with a certain minimum grade
  • The diploma in total passed with a certain minimum GPA
  • Passed admission test/interview

It is necessary to meet both the requirements in general and the specific requirement to be able to apply for a programme. If you do not meet the specific requirements, you may pass a supplementary course to be eligible for admission. In Denmark these courses are mainly offered in Danish. The result from a supplementary course will not be considered as a part of your GPA. Thus, you cannot improve the GPA from your upper secondary education through later courses.

A diploma from an upper secondary education will never expire in order to apply for a higher education programme in Denmark. If you have more than one diploma, it will always be the first diploma, which forms the basis for assessing in quota 1.

Standby

When you apply for admission at a programme, you are allowed to apply for a Standby place as well. This is a prioritized waiting list with a limited number of students. If you are offered a Standby place, the higher education institution will offer you a place if they get some cancellations within the period from July until mid-August. Holding a standby place, you are not guaranteed a place the same year as this depends on the number of cancellations. However, if you are not admitted, you will receive a pre-approved admission for the following year.

Please be aware of the consequences by applying for a standby place. If you are offered a standby place at one programme, you will not get any other offers from any lower-prioritised programmes although you could have been admitted.

Therefore, you risk having to wait another year to start your education, if you apply for and are offered a standby place.

By applying for a stand by place, you do not impair your chances to be admitted directly to the programme.  You will primarily be assessed for a place directly – if this is not possible, you will be assessed for a standby position.

Remember! You will only have a chance to be offered a stand by place, if you have applied for one.

NB: Some higher education institutions do not operate with standby places.

Summer and Winter

Most higher education programmes only have study start once a year: in August or September. However, a limited number of programmes also have an additional study start in January or February. Whether this holds for the programme you are applying for can be seen from www.optagelse.dk in connection to each education.

The application deadline will be 15 March in both cases. The higher education institutions distribute the places study seats and decides whether you will have a start in summer or winter. During the application process, you can make a statement of the preferable start. The higher education institution will make the final decision.

However, some programmes have a separate application for both winter and summer. If you choose this, you only apply for the specific start.

Order of priorities and change of priorities

If you apply for more than one programme, you must prioritize. Since you may only be offered a maximum of 1 study place, the order of priorities may have great influence on which programme you will possibly be offered.  You will first be assessed on your first priority, and then your second etc.

Regardless of the priority, each application will be assessed on equal terms with other applicants. Your chance of being admitted to a programme is not influenced by a high or low priority.  

Your applications will be listed in the order of priority that you choose on www.optagelse.dk in the section ‘Choice of education programme’. You may change the order of priority by using the arrows on the website. Up to the deadline 15 March, 12 noon you can add more applications. You can change the order of your priorities or delete an application that you regret until 5 July, 12 noon.

Please remember to approve each application before 15 March. After approving you can no longer change the application. However, you can still change the order of priorities and add enclosures. If you want to make changes to the application, you will have to contact the higher education institution and ask them to change it – they are not obliged to do so.

After having approved your application on www.optagelse.dk , please remember to print, sign and send the signature page to the higher education institution as mentioned in the section Application Deadline.

Documentation and Enclosures

It is important to add the relevant and requested enclosures to each of your applications. The diploma from your upper secondary education or other qualifying exam must be attached to each application whether you apply in quota 1 or quota 2.

If you apply in quota 2, you must state the qualifications you want to be assessed on in the application for most programmes. www.optagelse.dk contains fields to fill in. 

Your quota 2 qualifications must be documented by adding relevant documentation to your digital application. Read more on documentation requirements at the website of the higher education institution.

Some higher education institutions request a motivational essay as a part of a quota 2 application. Learn more on the website of the higher education institution whether this is a requirement of the programme(s) you are applying for. Read the instructions carefully, they may vary between the higher education institutions.

Documentation and enclosures must be uploaded and added to each application by ticking the box next to each application in the section “Enclosures” at optagelse.dk.

You may add enclosures after the application deadline within the time limit given by the higher education institution. This could for instance be a diploma, if your finish your upper secondary education after 15 March. Or it could be documentation of activities finished after 15 March relevant to a quota 2 application. You must make sure that the higher education institution approves of assessing activities finished after the application deadline.

Exemption

You might have reasons to seek exemption. If you want to seek exemption you must contact the higher education institution, which you will apply to. Contact them as soon as possible to inquire whether it is possible.

You must seek exemption to each higher education institution separately.

Information about seeking exemption is given on the website of each higher education institution.

Response to your application

You will receive response to your application(s) in the end of July. You will only receive response from one place. Either you will receive a letter from the higher education institution that can offer you a place or a standby place. Or you will receive a rejection letter from the coordinating authority.

If you receive a letter offering you a place at a programme, it will be sent from the higher education institution, which is able to offer you a place whether it is your 1st, 2nd or a lower priority. You will not receive a letter from each of your priorities.

A rejection letter implies that you have not been admitted to any of the programmes you have applied for. You may have a possibility to apply for one of the programmes with vacant study places after completing the admission procedure. They will appear in a list at www.ufm.dk from 28. July.

Confirming an offer

If you are admitted, you must confirm that you want to be enrolled at the programme. Otherwise you will lose your study place. The higher education institutions must know the number of students that wants to be enrolled. Vacant places will be offered to applicants holding a standby place.

You must submit your answer in early August. The specific date and procedure will be indicated in the admission letter from the higher education institution. If you know that you will be unable to answer, due to e.g. holiday, you can give a family member or a friend a power of attorney to respond on your behalf.

Complaint

In the admission process mistakes can happen. If you have not been admitted to a programme that you have applied for and are of the opinion that there has been a mistake, you may complain about it. As soon as possible – within 2 weeks – you can send a written complaint to the higher education institution.

Guidance

You can receive general guidance on the choice of education programme and application procedure at ‘Studievalg Danmark’ and ‘eVejledning’. The guidance counsellors can help you to get an overview and ideas for your education choices.

eVejledning offers personal guidance by chat, email, text messages and telephone daytime, evening and weekends.

Studievalg Danmark consists of 7 regional centres. They offer personal guidance during opening hours and also by email and telephone.

For specific questions about an education programme, you must contact the higher education institution directly. Both Studievalg Danmark and eVejledning will refer you to the higher education institution if they are not able to give an answer to your questions.