Best universities in Denmark

Explore the top universities in Denmark using data from the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings

December 12 2016

View universities in Denmark ranked in the 2016-17 World University Rankings

With Scandinavia to its north and Germany to its south, Denmark is a draw for students from across the world with excellent English language study opportunities at a wide range of great learning institutions. Tuition is free for Swiss students and any citizen of the European Economic Area.

Historically Denmark has been a seafaring nation, and the massive Arctic island of Greenland remains a satellite state of the country. One of the lasting cultural references of Denmark is through William Shakespeare, who is never known to have actually visited the country but set his most famous tragedy Hamlet around the machinations of the Danish royal court. While Denmark retains a monarchy to this day, they are now figureheads of a constitutional democracy.

Denmark is a socially progressive nation with a long history of secular, democratic ideals such as freedom of expression and equal rights for all citizens. This includes a history of liberal thinkers such as philosopher Soren Kierkegaard and the physician who became de facto regent of Denmark, Johann Struensee.

Such is the presence of English fluency in Denmark that it is possible to get by as a student without needing to know Danish, though many Danes will appreciate students who make the effort to learn the language.

Below are four of the best universities to study at in Denmark.

Resources: top universities worldwide

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University of Copenhagen (UCPH)

The University of Copenhagen is one of the premier European universities, with a campus in the centre of Denmark’s thriving capital. It consistently performs well in social sciences and the humanities.

The university is an established research centre which belongs to the prestigious International Alliance of Research Universities, a network of research-intensive institutions which also includes UC Berkeley, Oxbridge and Yale.

While many courses at the university are taught in Danish, English courses are also plentiful at Copenhagen for both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in a wide range of fields, from Experimental Medicine to Theology. The university also operates on a credits system giving students the opportunity to take new courses in different schools each semester, so that students have more flexibility than, for example, in the United Kingdom.

Founded in 1479, the university has had countless influential figures pass through its doors, including professor Ole Rømer, an astronomer and the first person to measure the speed of light. Famous alumni also include two recent Danish prime ministers, Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Helle Thorning-Schmidt. The university has an established and extensive alumni network for students who wish to use its resources and contacts upon graduating.

Aarhus University

Aarhus is a city on the west coast of Denmark’s Jutland peninsula, and the university campus is located in the city centre. As well as being a leading research institution, Aarhus is a university well known for its arts subjects. 

There are over 60 courses taught in English at Aarhus at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. A Danish green card programme allows international students to stay in Denmark up to six months after the end of their degree, and Aarhus has a dedicated job bank established to help graduates find a job in their field in this time.

Former Secretary General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen is an alumnus of Aarhus, as is Lene Hau, a physicist who led a team at Harvard that was able to slow and stop light. Co-founder of Google Maps Lars Rasmussen (no relation to Anders) also attended.

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

Located 15km north of Copenhagen, DTU stands at the forefront of engineering institutions across the European continent, having merged with five other research centres in 2007.

Undergraduate courses are taught in either Danish or English, with degrees such as a BSc in General Engineering offered in English. The master’s programme with a focus on modern engineering is taught entirely in English.  The university also offers courses in conversational Danish, and strives to find accommodation for all of its foreign exchange students.

An example of the truly incredible research undertaken at the DTU their work in creating translucent concrete, a scheme part of the EU funded Brightwall project involving embedding optic fibres into concrete to create a screen.

While DTU was still a polytechnic it was attended by Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Henrik Pontoppidan. In more recent years attendees include Andreas Mogensen, the first Dane to fly in space, and Danish international footballer Ebbe Sand.

Aalborg University

Since the founding of the university in 1974, Aalborg University has maintained an international outlook. This includes forging strong connections with China through the Sino-Danish network, and the BSU organisation, which is devoted to initiatives to improve university education in developing countries. The university also offers scholarships on Erasmus Mundus programmes for international students across the world.

English is the dominant language across all taught programmes at Aalborg. Language courses are also offered as extracurricular activities, which are taught in English as well as the foreign language studied.

The university’s motto is ‘Viis Novis’, Latin for ‘new ways’, and Aalborg has certainly lived up to this with its extensive research into and launching of ‘CubeSats’, which are miniature satellites used for space research. Other next generation research is taught on the Sustainable Biotechnology programmes and in the School of Robotics.

As well as a main campus in Aalborg on the Jutland peninsula, the university also has campuses in in Esbjerg and Copenhagen.

Top universities in Denmark 2017

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2016-2017 results

Denmark Rank

World Uni Rank




Aarhus University



University of Copenhagen



Technical University of Denmark



Aalborg University



Copenhagen Business School



University of Southern Denmark



Roskilde University

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