The University of Southern Denmark began life as Odense University in 1966, and took on its current name in 1998 after a merger between Odense University, the South Jutland University Centre and the Southern Denmark School of Business and Engineering.
In 2006, Odense University College of Engineering was also incorporated into the institution and a year later, the National Institute of Public Health and the Business School Centre in Slagelse were merged with the University of Southern Denmark.
The university now has five faculties providing courses for more than 22,000 students, a fifth of whom are international. It offers 115 study programmes in the fields of engineering, health sciences, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, and there are more than 4,000 employees across the institution’s main campus at Odense, which is home to the university library, and its satellite campuses in Esbjerg, Slagelse, Kolding, Copenhagen and Sønderborg.
The main building at Odense is considered to be a fine example of Danish functionalist architecture and has been dubbed Rustenborg (which means The Rusty Castle) by students and staff, because of its construction from grey concrete slabs clad with steel.
The University of Southern Denmark's strengths are considered to be in the fields of communication, information technology and biotechnology, but there are a number of national research centres in other fields based at the institution, including the Hans Christian Andersen Centre and the RoboCluster network for innovation in robotics and automation. Odense is also renowned for its research in the field of geriatrics.
The university places a strong emphasis on business links and has established the SDU Cortex Lab as a supportive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.