University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


University of Copenhagen to slash admissions numbers by 789 places annually

University reform — A political majority has decided that Danish universities should cut admissions by one tenth from 2025. Under the agreement, the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) is to reduce its bachelor intake by 11.7 per cent.

Fewer academics will graduate from Denmark in the future. And the University of Copenhagen faces a large cut to student admissions in 2025.

This has become clear after the current Danish coalition government, supplemented by the parties behind a larger university reform (the Danish Democrats, Socialist People’s Party, Liberal Alliance and Conservatives), have agreed to reduce the sector in the period 2025-2029.

In total, Denmark’s eight universities will reduce their annual intake by 10.2 per cent. The universities are affected differently.

The University of Copenhagen will admit 11.7% fewer students than the university’s present average intake. This corresponds to 789 student places annually.

The biggest reduction, however, will be at Roskilde University, which will have to reduce its intake by 14.1 per cent annually, while the Technical University of Denmark will see the smallest reduction in bachelor intake with a 6.5 per cent reduction.

You can see a table with the different universities’ reductions on this document from the Ministry for Education and Research here.

Frustrated prorector

The University Post has spoken to Prorector for Education at the University of Copenhagen, Kristian C. Lauta, who, in his own words, is »frustrated« with the political agreement, that means that UCPH will reduce admissions by 11.7 percent from 2025.

»It’s about the level we expected. But of course we are annoyed that there are a lot of talented young people that we cannot offer an education. At the same time, there are a lot of employers who are calling for graduates from the University of Copenhagen. But this is a political priority, and now we must try to make the best of it,« he says to the University Post.

The prorector emphasizes that there is no expectation that this will significantly affect UCPH finances.

Denmark’s largest employers’ organisation, the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), is highly critical of the new agreement.

»Unfortunately, our fears have become reality. There are cuts to many places on the universities’ bachelor programmes, and the needs of the business community are not the starting point. This is a huge problem,« says Lars Sandahl Sørensen, CEO of DI.

No overview of which study programmes will be affected

While the political agreement states the size of the reduction in bachelor intake at the different universities, it does not state how the resizing will take place. This is up to the individual universities

According to Kristian C. Lauta, however, it is too early to say anything about how the different study programmes at UCPH will be affected.

»We would like to have a discussion first in the management team, and then also more broadly at the University of Copenhagen, about what kind of programmes we should offer in the future. And then we will bring it as wisely as possible into that discussion,« he says.

So you can’t say anything about which faculties will be hardest hit by the resizing, or that will avoid it completely?

»No,« is the answer.

Vocational training given higher priority

On the basis of the political agreement, the management of the University of Copenhagen will be discussing the implementation of the upcoming reduction plan. And according to Kristian C. Lauta, it is not possible to say anything more precise about who it will affect a few months from now.

»When you regulate our admissions on this scale, this can have long-term significance for our educational landscape. That is why we need to take time to consider what we think the future needs in terms of university graduates,« says Kristian C. Lauta.

The cuts to academic programmes are due to a political ambition of getting more young people to take vocational education programmes instead – especially in the social welfare area.

Kristian C. Lauta doubts whether this ambition can be fully met by reducing universities’ admissions.

»I fully understand that university education programmes are a part of a wider society. And they are thereby part of a distribution issue on what it is that we should educate for. But like others, I am sceptical about whether the causal link is exactly what the political logic dictates,« he says.

An analysis from the trade union DM from March 2024 points to the fact that cuts to universities’ admissions will not have the desired effect.

It concludes that »there is nothing in the past 10 years’ application and admission patterns that indicate that a reduction in the university education programmes will increase the number of applicants to welfare-oriented professional degree programmes«.