01 - Denmark - Historical overview

Higher education is offered at three levels: Short-cycle higher education, medium-cycle higher education and long-cycle higher education. Approximately 45 % of an age group attends the higher education programmes. The responsibility for higher education is divided between three ministries, namely the Danish Ministry of Education (short-cycle and medium-cycle), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (long-cycle) and the Danish Ministry of Culture (medium and long cycle education in the arts).

In 1479, King Christian I got the Pope’s permission to establish the University of Copenhagen (Københavns Universitet). And it was for nearly 400 years the only higher education institution in Denmark, but during the 19th century a number of specialised institutions were established i.a.: the Technical University of Denmark (Danmarks Tekniske Universitet), the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University (Den Kgl. Veterinær- og Landbohøjskole), and the Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences (Danmarks Farmaceutiske Universitet). In the 20th century eight new universities were added to the already existing, namely the University of Aarhus (Aarhus Universitet), University of Southern Denmark (Syddansk Universitet), Roskilde University (Roskilde Universitetscenter), Aalborg University (Aalborg Universitet), Copenhagen Business School (Handelshøjskolen i København), Aarhus School of Business (Handelshøjskolen i Århus), the Danish University of Education (Danmarks Pædagogiske Universitet), and The IT University of Copenhagen (IT-Universitetet i København).

During 2006 a process to reduce the number of universities was started. The reason for this process was to strengthen research, education and innovation in Denmark. This has resulted in a new map of Danish universities and research institutions in 2007. Today long-cycle higher education is concentrated at eight universities, among these three major universities where approximately 2/3 of all university activity is concentrated. The three major universities are: the University of Copenhagen, University of Aarhus, and The Technical University. The last five universities are the University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University, Roskilde University, Copenhagen Business School and the IT University of Copenhagen.

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Date: 2009
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