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Learning and teaching culture

In the Danish educational system, the relationship between student and teacher is often very informal. Photo: Simon Jeppesen, AU Photo.

Aarhus University offers two Bachelor’s and 50+ Master’s degree programmes in English, covering a wide range of research areas with programmes to suit all interests. All PhD programmes are in English. Our educational programmes are deeply rooted in research and are reviewed on an ongoing basis to meet the highest national and global quality standards. 

Active participation in class 

Most courses use a combination of large lectures and smaller classroom-based seminars. You are expected to actively participate in the seminars, such as by asking questions, taking part in discussions, or through giving presentations. Critical thinking and freedom of speech are intrinsic to the learning culture at Aarhus University, and it is completely acceptable not to share all of your lecturer’s opinions. 

Study methods at AU and in Denmark 

Danish higher education is characterised by an analytical approach. Students are thus not only expected to accumulate and reproduce knowledge but also to compare, analyse, and evaluate in groups and on an individual basis. Most courses are followed by both Danish and international students, creating a classroom environment enriched through social interaction amongst a variety of cultures. 

While course work activities count as part of the final examination grade for many courses, there are rarely visible check-ups (e.g. roll calls) on your presence in class. This leaves you with a high degree of freedom to achieve through your own responsibility and self-discipline. However, please note that in some courses, class attendance is a pre-requisite for participating in the exam. 

Classroom culture 

As an international student or researcher, you may be surprised by the study culture at Aarhus University. The study culture in Denmark is informal, and the hierarchy between lecturers and students is flat and not very strict. This means you can benefit from a positive study relationship with your lecturers where questions are welcomed and actively encouraged to enhance your learning experience.

Rather than Ms., Mrs., Mr., Dr. or Professor, most lecturers will ask you to call them by their first name, with students and lecturers typically being on first-name terms. Professors and other staff members often chat informally with the students and socialise with them during breaks. This is representative of a majority of professional environments in Denmark, which means that when you graduate, you are already well-accustomed to the Danish workplace attitudes and communication styles.

The Danish grading system

7-point grading scale
12 For an excellent performance. A
10 For a very good performance. B
7 For a good performance. C
4 For a fair performance. D
02 For an adequate performance. E
00 For an inadequate performance. Fx
-3: For an unacceptable performance. F

Digital Leaders

As a university, we pride ourselves on offering digital solutions to every issue and idea that our students and researchers encounter. As the most digital country in the United Nations, Denmark has seen its quality of life enhanced and its economic growth vastly accelerated by the omnipresence of digitalisation, and we embody this through our continued innovation within the field.