University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


English-language economics degree slashed

Bachelors degree for internationals discontinued at the Department of Economics. Students lacked »a serious level of education,« says director, and points to a tight budget

»From February 2011, the international bachelor programme is to be replaced by a Danish language bachelor programme at the Department of Economics«.

This is what the official website of the Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen says. Internationals who want to study for the English-language version of an Economics BSc have no choice but to either wait and study for a Master’s in Copenhagen or simply study elsewhere.

The reasons for the programme’s closure include budget cuts, a lack of funding from Danish aid organisation Danida to incoming students, a low percentage of GDP in Denmark set aside for education and the economic crisis in general, said Peter Erling Nielsen, director of studies in the economics department.

Low attendance, failed courses

He took the initiative to start the programme three years ago.

But in addition to the main reasons, Peter Erling Nielsen also confesses his disappointment in the numbers and the qualifications of international applicants.

»Especially in mathematics, they lacked a serious level of education. Plus their attendance to lectures and classes was extremely low, and many failed their courses. It was disappointing,« he says.

Winter Starters

Traditionally, universities start from 1 September, but Peter Erling thought it was impossible to enrol students straight from their high-schools, due to the three-month long Danish visa procedures. Internationals started therefore from 1 February instead. Unfortunately, this turned out to be unattractive and unpopular for students; and a maximum of only 35 students started in the winter.

»Normally it would have been more than 50 if it were just Danish students,« he says.

»We have also spent a lot on advertising the English-language line on commercials for international graduates, and we were simply losing money. It was time for us to focus our money elsewhere, and more effectively,« he adds.


The Department of Economics will allow the current students doing their English-language bachelors finish their degree. But the news was still disappointing to both Danish and international current students.

»While most universities are doing their best to internationalize the learning environment, the University of Copenhagen is taking a step backwards here. But I understand from the Department of Economics’ perspective that we need to cut down expenses,« says Daniel Wajsman Mahler, a Danish bachelor student at the Department of Economics.

Aneta Kaczor, a current Polish student is blunter.

»It is shameful. Denmark is a very small country, and I think Denmark needs to be more open and they need more educated internationals. It is important that they continue the programme,« she says

An apology

Peter Erling’s response to the disappointment is simple:

»We are very sorry. At least we gave it a try«.