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This country at a glance

Total population.
Colleges that offer programs taught entirely in English.
English-taught bachelor's programs offered.
English-taught master's programs offered.

Best Universities in Denmark for International Students

These universities have been vetted to accepted international students and offer programs that have no foreign language requirements.

Why should I study in Denmark?

Denmark is a well-liked study destination because it has a reputation for having a high quality of life and is frequently named the "happiest country in the world." It is also one of Europe’s safest countries, with high levels of equality and freedom of speech. If that wasn’t enough, the Danes are ranked as the best non-native English speakers in the world!

Situated in Northern Europe, Denmark is a small country with a population of 5.5 million. It is bordered by Germany to the south and is connected by a bridge to Sweden in the east. Although it is part of Scandinavia, the weather does not get quite as cold as its neighbors. In winter, the temperature averages in the 30s, and the shortest day is six hours. By summer, the weather is pleasant with temperatures in the high 60’s. If you consider yourself an active person, then Denmark may be of interest. It has the highest number of sports facilities per capita in Europe!

The education system of Denmark is excellent and benefits from a large amount of government expenditure. International students are warmly welcomed; the country has the highest percentage of programs in English for non-English-speaking countries. Like in other Scandinavian countries, there is a distinct non-hierarchy between teachers and students.

While the academic standards are high, there is also an emphasis on acquiring knowledge that is applicable to the real world. Studying here requires high levels of independence. For every hour of classroom time, you are expected to study for 3 hours outside of class. You are also expected to actively contribute to classroom discussions, and working in groups is often prioritized. 

How to Get Into the Best Unis in Denmark

For undergraduate studies, while each school has its own set of requirements, there are certain minimum requirements for admission. To be considered, US students must have completed one year of college, three AP tests, or possess an IB diploma. Students from other countries without an IB can find their requirements here.

Students from non-anglophone countries must demonstrate English proficiency through IELTS or TOEFL scores. The Danish application is called the Coordinated Enrollment System, or "KOT". Students can apply to up to 8 programs or apply to all the schools in the country. When you apply, you rank the schools in order of preference. If you qualify for more than one, you get your highest choice pick. You won’t be accepted at more than one. 

The application deadline is March 15th for non-EU students. You should hear back by June 1st. 

As of 2019, Denmark has started to put caps on the number of international students at certain types of programs and schools.  Even though non-EU students pay much more in tuition than EU students, the government still subsidies a huge amount of it.  One reason some countries, including Denmark, provide English-taught programs is to benefit their economy and labor market. Denmark, in particular, has a significant labor shortage.

The Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science conducted a study to explore the costs and contributions of international students. They found that the subsidies paid for international students (for EU and non-EU students) are “paid back” by their contribution to the economy after nine years in the country (which includes their years of study).  The problem is that only one in three international students stays in the country for long enough to positively contribute to the economy.

The ministry explored this to determine the types of programs that had the largest number of students returning home after graduating, and they are cutting the number of international student spots in those types of programs. This does not apply to all universities in Denmark or all programs. It is primarily affecting master’s degree programs as well as bachelor's degree programs related to engineering.  

Proof of means requirements.

Students must have documentation of access to 800 euros per month for each month of study.

Working in Denmark as an International Student

International students are required to obtain a work permit, after which they can work up to 20 hours per week during the school year and work full time during breaks.

Student visas are automatically extended for six months after graduation and can be extended for another six months as well.

Student Residence Options in Denmark

1. Students from Australia, New Zealand, and the US don't need an entry visa.

Students from other countries can check here whether a visa is required to enter Denmark.

For stays longer than 90 days, students will need a residence permit. To get a residence permit, you'll need the following: Proof of acceptance from a Danish school; Proof of financial means; if your school charges tuition, you'll need to prove that you've paid it; you must be able to speak and understand one of the following languages: Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English, or German.

You can apply for a residence permit at the nearest consulate or embassy. The school will need to fill out section 2 of the form. If you need help obtaining a residence permit, contact your school's international office. They can help.

Health Insurance in Denmark for International Students

If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen and you plan to stay in Denmark for more than 3 months, then you must obtain a Danish residence permit and register with the Civil Registration System. Hereafter, you are entitled to free medical treatment in Denmark.

Special notes

One thing that surprised me is the concept of "Friday bars".

Each Friday at noon, the academic departments set up bars in a classroom or canteen in the building, offering beer and soft drinks.  Students within the department then have a place and time to socialize and have drinks with other students as well as their professors.  There are two things striking about this. One is how different the relationship is in regards to informality and access between students and professors than at most schools in the US.  The other thing this shows is the different attitude to drinking in Europe.  The drinking culture amongst students in Europe is more relaxed and does not necessarily happen primarily in the context of "partying", as is often the case in the US. That’s certainly not to say that students in Europe are not getting drunk, but it is worth noting that there are different attitudes towards drinking.

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