University Post
University of Copenhagen
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Here are the oldest and youngest students

Large average age differences between study programmes at the University of Copenhagen

10 years of age separates the new students of theology from the new students of molecular biology on average.

While theology students are an average of 30 years old, molecular biomedicine students, admitted with the highest required grade point average of all study programmes, are just 20.3 years.

For the entire University of Copenhagen the average age is 22.7 years on admission, with this year’s cohort almost a year younger than last year’s, where the average admission age was 23.5 years old.

Humanities attract the mature students

A top 10 list of study programmes with the highest age average shows that nine out of ten of these programmes are in the Faculty of Humanities. Language programmes in particular are dominated by relatively older students, with French, German, Spanish and Italian all showing high average admission ages.

There are several reasons for this, according to Kirsten Kragh, programme head at the Department of English, German and Romance Studies (Engerom), the home of multiple language study programmes.

“Many of the subject areas are classic, original university fields of study, that in particular attract the more mature student” – Kirsten Kragh, programme head at the Department of English, German and Romance Studies

”I think it needs a certain level of maturity, and the realisation of just how hard a difficult language study programme can be, before you dive into a subject like Italian or Portuguese, where the average age can be a little bit higher,” says Kirsten Kragh from Engerom.

She adds that ”many of the subject areas are classic, original university fields of study, that in particular attract the more mature student. Theology, German, French and Latin have existed as university subjects for many years, and are known by all. Also when we have small numbers of admissions, a couple of applicants over 40 clearly affects the average,” Kirsten Kragh says.

Mix of ages for a good study vibe

At Engerom the average age at the start of study programmes in September will be 25.9 years old – a good deal older than the average age of the university admissions at 22.7 years.

This will have no significance for either counselling, teaching, or intro events, says programme head Kirsten Kragh.

“It is positive and instructive when we get mature students, but no, this is not something that changes our planning. The mix of age groups makes for a good study culture, but no special considerations are made for the more mature students,” she says.

Young people exploit study start bonus

Top 10 over the youngest admitted study programmes is dominated by the Faculty of Health and Medicine, where students on several of the programmes are around 21 years of age at the start of admissions.

At the same time, the list shows a clear connection between high grade point average requirements and low average age. Medicine, political science, actuarial science and the highest grade point average molecular biology are all, on average, younger study programmes.

The reasons for this could include the so-called ‘study start bonus’, which allows students who seek admission within two years after finishing their Danish secondary-level ‘gymnasium’ to multiply their grade average by 1.08.

Top 10 – Studies with the highest average ages for 2016 admissions:
1: Theology, 30.0 years
2: French language and culture, 28.9 years
3: Prehistoric archaeology: 28.0 years
4: Latin: 27.1 years
5: Italian language and culture: 26.2 years
6: German language and culture: 26.1 years
7: Spanish language and culture: 26.0 years
8: Classic archaeology: 25.7 years
9: Russian: 25,5 years
10: Portuguese and Brazilian studies: 25.4 years

Top 10 – Studies with the lowest average ages for 2016 admissions:
1: Molecular biomedicine: 20.3 years
2: Economics: 20.8 years
3: Communication and IT: 21.1 years
4: Biology-Biotechnology: 21.2 years
5: Actuarial mathematics: 21.2 years
6: Biochemistry: 21.3 years
7: Pharmaceutics: 21.4 years
8: Political science: 21.4 years
9: Medicine: 21,5 years
10: Animal science: 21.5 years