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Extraordinarily high intake of students for the second year in a row

This year, almost 67,500 applicants will be offered a place in higher education. This is the second highest number ever.

Jul 27, 2021

Quite predictably, however, this is lower than the 2020 enrolment, which was affected by applications made in the COVID-19 situation, and the extra study places offered under a broad parliamentary agreement.

From tonight onwards, a total of 67,425 applicants for places in higher education will be offered the opportunity to start a course of studies. This is the second highest figure ever in Denmark and higher than in 2019, which was the last enrolment year before the COVID-19 crisis began.

- Last year's uptake was extraordinarily high due to the COVID-19 situation. This year, the number of places offered is a bit lower and the number of applications more or less back to normal. Even so, the number of students we have admitted to courses of higher education is historically high. The time spent studying makes for some of the best years of one's life, during which you develop your academic skills and become involved in new networks. At the same time, education is what we have to live on in Denmark: we need wise heads and skilled hands. So, many congratulations to all of you who have been accepted by a study programme, and many congratulations to Denmark as a whole for all that you will contribute in the future, comments the Minister for Higher Education and Science, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

Just like so many other activities in Danish society, the total enrolment figures for higher education have been affected since the emergence in Denmark of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020. For example, COVID-19 has made activities such as work, courses at Folk High Schools and travelling abroad very difficult. As was expected, it also affected applications and admissions to higher education in 2020. For this same reason, a broad parliamentary majority allocated funds to allow educational institutions, exceptionally, to create more study places. Approximately 4,000 of these were created in 2020. According to the terms of the agreement, up to 2,000 new places may be created in 2021.

Studies related to the health and welfare professions still attract most students

Studies related to the health and welfare professions still attract some of the largest number of students in Denmark. This year, more than one fifth of all applicants have been offered a place in one of the four major study programmes in this category (Social Education, Nursing, Teaching and Social Work). Social Education and Nursing are thus among the study programmes that have accepted the largest number of applicants. Social Education degree programmes in 23 institutions spread throughout the country have accepted a total of 4,781 students, the largest number of all. Nursing, with 4,112 admissions, comes second.

- Skilled social educators, nurses, teachers, social workers and indeed all the other professions working with people in our society shoulder a huge task every day, whether they are working in Rødovre, Ringkøbing or Rebild. To them I would like to say: You really make a difference in the lives of people in Denmark every day, and I have a huge respect for your choices of study - choices that I am constantly striving to encourage more people to make. In fact, we have launched an ambitious programme to further strengthen courses in Social Education and Teaching, adds the Minister for Higher Education and Science, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

In this coming autumn, the government will present proposals for improving Social Education which should make the degree programme even more attractive. At the same time, the government has initiated a development project to rethink teacher education.

STEM courses are based on the progress made since 2019

The approximately 4,000 additional study places created extraordinarily in 2020 also included the STEM sector. In 2021, the number of admissions is therefore expected to be lower than in 2020.

However, compared to 2019, the most recent year before the corona crisis, we now see a higher number of admissions. This is but a further extension of a steady upward curve in the number of people admitted to STEM programmes compared with previous years.

The figures also show that the proportion of women who are admitted to a STEM programmes has been increasing significantly over a number of years. In 2021, 34% of all applicants admitted to a STEM programme were women. That is a 10% increase since 2019, the actual figure being 473 more admissions.

- The business community has an increasing demand for IT and technical skills, so it is really encouraging to see that the overall positive trend towards more people taking STEM programmes - and significantly more women doing so - is continuing. I find it so satisfying that since 2019 we have seen a 10% increase in the number of women following STEM programmes. We need to nurture all talents, regardless of gender, emphasises the Minister for Higher Education and Science, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

Since 2017, enrolment in non-limited STEM programmes has increased by 10%, compared to 3% for higher education as a whole.

Admission to courses of education outside the four largest cities is unchanged

One in four applicants have been offered a place outside the four largest cities. This means that the percentage distribution of applicants accepted in and outside the largest cities is on a par with 2019 and 2020.

26% have been admitted outside the four largest cities, while 74% have been offered a place in one of the largest cities.

- A more evenly balanced Denmark in terms of higher education is high on the government's agenda. This involves establishing a greater number of attractive educational places outside the largest cities. The fact that many young people continue to apply for places in the big cities is exactly the reason why, just before the summer holidays, a broad majority of the Parliamentary parties entered into an agreement to strengthen higher education outside the major cities. It should be possible to follow a course of education of the highest quality no matter where you live in the country, says the Minister for Higher Education and Science.

Reaching out to rejected applicants - who will be contacted with offers of guidance

4 out of 5 of have been offered a place on the education programme of their first choice. However, as in previous years, there are also applicants who have not been offered a place on any of the programmes they have applied for. This may be partly due to the fact that they have only applied for admission to one or only a few programmes, and that in addition these are enrolment restricted.

A total of 11,188 qualified applicants have not been accepted by a study programme of their choice. Almost half of these have only applied for one particular programme. This year, however, this group of rejected qualified applicants can look forward to being contacted directly and being offered guidance by Studievalg Danmark concerning their options. There are in fact more than 14,000 vacancies in higher education.

This increase in the number of rejected qualified applicants may be partly attributed to a large increase (24%) in the number of applicants from other EU/EEA countries for English-language programmes. This increase has led to the rejection by English-language programmes of more qualified applicants.

Important dates in connection with admission to higher education

  • July 28: All applicants will receive a personal response to their application. KOT key figures for 2021 will be published at 00.01 at: ufm.dk/optag/kot (only in Danish)
  • July 28: Study programmes with vacancies that may still be applied for will be found from 00.01 at: ufm.dk/en/admission-and-guidance/study-places-available
  • July 28 and onwards: Study guidance efforts will continue over the summer and in the late admission period, including an active outreach effort targeting those applicants who were refused admission in the first place.
  • 1 September: Semester start for most programmes (some start on 1 February).
  • October 2021: Results of late admissions to vacant places, admissions to standby places and numbers of admitted applicants who have refused a study place will be calculated.

Facts: Applications and admissions in 2021

  • The total number of applications was 93,388.

  • 67,425 applicants will be offered a study place in higher education on 28 July.

  • 80% have been admitted to the study programme of their first choice. 20% have been admitted to another course for which they have applied.

  • 38,259 have been admitted to a business academy degree or professional bachelor degree programme.

  • 29,166 have enrolled on a bachelor's programme.

  • 15,569 (23%) of those admitted are under 21 years of age.


For more information, contact:

Press inquiries to the Minister of Higher Education and Science, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen: the Ministry's press line: 7231 8181.

Inquiries regarding admission statistics and Coordinated Admissions: Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education, Head of Division Jens Storm, 7231 7982, jst@ufm.dk.

last modified Jul 27, 2021