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Overview: Proposed cuts to Danish master's degrees — here are the key points

The government wants to shorten up to one half of all Danish two-year master's degree programmes and set up vocational, part-time, industry master’s degrees.

The Danish government has just presented a long-awaited reform proposal on master’s degree programmes.

The main points were a proposal to shorten up to one half of all the current two-year master’s degree programmes, to extend a select few master’s programmes that use particularly complicated technology to three years of study, to expand vocational part-time industry master’s degree programmes, and to increase the number of international students.

The reform will save DKK 950 million, which the government has promised will remain in the university sector.

The future Danish master’s degree programmes

The Danish government wants four different types of master’s degree programmes:

  • A new master’s degree programme that takes one year and three months and that is clearly oriented towards the labour market. This master’s programme will have two normal semesters followed by a final assignment to be done during the summer holidays. The government wants this master’s programme to include a minimum of 15 hours of teaching and supervision a week.
  • A two-year master’s degree programme just like the ones that are available today, that are oriented towards specialised jobs or towards research.
  • A master’s degree programme with up to three years of study and with a high degree of specialisation. This will be in particular for subjects that involve complex technology.
  • A part-time vocational industry master’s degree programme. The programme already exists, but it is to be far more widespread and flexible. It can be done while the student upholds a job. The government’s goal is for 5,000 students to start one of these part-time industry master’s degree programmes every year.

The government has not yet named the degree programmes that are to be shortened. But the reform proposal states that the majority of the places will be found on study programmes in the humanities and social sciences, and only to a lesser extent in the health, natural sciences and technical areas. The specific study programmes are to be selected in co-operation with the university community and the different stakeholders in business.

More international programmes

The government wants to increase the number of international students in areas where there is a demand for highly qualified manpower.

  • From 2024 to 2028, the Danish government will allow universities to set up 1,100 English-language student places, and from 2029, 2,500 English-language student places are to be set up every year.
  • The government also proposes that industry master’s degrees in English are to be set up in areas with the potential to recruit qualified international labour.

The proposal is the first among several announced upcoming reforms within the education sector.