Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Short-cycle higher education


7.2.First Cycle Programmes

7.2.2Short-cycle higher education

Last update: 26 March 2024

Branches of study

One kind of short-cycle higher education exist: the academy profession programme. The Qualifications Framework for Danish Higher Education gives the following overview of the programme:

  Academy profession programme
ECTS credits 90-150
Further education Professional Bachelor and Diploma Study programmes
Main institution type Business academies
Knowledge base Business and profession-based as well as development-based
European/National Qualifications Framework Level 5

Length of the academy profession programme

The academy profession programme is a professionally oriented, qualifying higher education programme that consists of 90, 120 or 150 ECTS credits corresponding to one and a half year of study to two and a half years of study.

Overview of branches of study for academy profession programme

The academy profession programmes combine theoretical studies with a practically oriented approach. Academy profession programmes exist in the following fields:

  • Business and economics (financial economist, market economist etc.);
  • Technology (electrical contractor, plumber etc.);
  • Information technology (informational technologist, multimedia designer etc.);
  • Laboratory technology (laboratory technician, agricultural technician etc.);
  • Social sciences (administration economist etc.);
  • Design (design technologist etc.).

Admission requirements

Admission to academy profession programmes depends on the fulfilment of both general requirements and specific requirements.

General requirements consist of an upper secondary school leaving certificate or comparable qualifications. Specific requirements consist of a particular subject combination in upper secondary school. The institutions offering the programme jointly determine potential regulations regarding entrance tests.

The Education Guide ( provides information on the general and specific requirements for every higher education programme, including academy profession programmes.

The responsible authority

Generally, admission to higher education takes place via the website, where the student applies for higher education programmes. The Coordinated Admission System coordinates the admission. Students are allocated in two quotas:

  • Quota 1 admissions are allocated according to the grade point average of an upper secondary education;
  • Quota 2 admissions are allocated according to criteria published by the educational institution to which the student has applied.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science stipulates the general and specific admission requirements for each academy profession programme. In general, the business academies are responsible for regulating the size of the student population, including the specific number enrolled at each programme.

However, the Ministry of Higher Education and Science can adjust the student intake at education programmes if, for instance, a programme has been assessed as putting future graduates at risk of unemployment.

Admission based on an individual specific assessment

An applicant can apply for admission based on other documented qualifications than the determined admission requirements. The application is included in the admissions process on the same terms as the other applications, if the institution assesses that the applicant has academic qualifications that can be put on the same footing as the determined admissions requirements.


The individual business academy draws up and updates their education programmes, indicating the aims, scope and duration, form and contents of the courses as well as a description of the curriculum. These appear from the programme regulations.

The programme regulations for academy profession programmes consist of a national part and an institutional part. The institutions approved to offer the programme compose the national part together, whereas the individual institution composes the institutional part. The programme regulations must be available at the institution’s website.

Curricula in non-national language

The business academies can organise the instruction in English for up to 49 per cent of the total instruction measured in ECTS credits.

In addition, business academies offer a limited number of programmes with curricula in English and instruction and examinations being conducted in English. This applies in particular to programmes within the fields of technology and information technology.

Teaching methods

Instruction in academy profession programmes consists of different teaching methods. Academy profession programmes combine theoretical studies with a practical oriented approach in the form of compulsory work placement. Teaching methods appear from the programme regulations and can include smaller class lectures, group work, project work, field trips and work placement.

Progression of students

Rules for examination attempts

A student has three attempts to pass an exam or test. The higher education institution may permit further reexaminations in case of unusual circumstances. The student cannot retake a passed test.

In the programme regulations, the business academy determines which exams the students are to complete before the end of the first academic year (the first year examination). The business academy will cancel the enrolment of all students who fail to pass the exams included in their first year examination by the end of their first year of study.

Completion of studies

Academy profession programmes that have a prescribed period of study of 90, 120 and 150 ECTS credits must be completed within three, four and five years respectively.


Career guidance

Business academies are obliged to offer academic guidance to students and subsequent guidance on employment opportunities. The business academies are free to choose their methods and the appropriate staff.

Work placement

Work placement is a compulsory part of the academy profession programmes and is prescribed to at least 15 ECTS credits corresponding to a minimum of three months. It is also possible for the students to complete their work placement abroad.

Student assessment

Mainly, student assessment consists of an exam/test at the end of each course. The student assessment can also consist of a participation requirement or ongoing tests during a course.

The academy profession programme must contain a variety of exam forms that reflect the content and working methods of the programme. The business academy determines the exam forms in the programme regulations.

The business academy determines in the programme regulations whether internal or external examiners assess an exam.

Student assessment is based on the seven-point grading scale or a pass/fail assessment. Students must be assessed individually, regardless of whether the examination is conducted individually or as a group exam/test.

The academy profession programme encompasses the following three exams:

  1. An internal or external exam that takes place before the end of the second semester. The exam is to document that the student has obtained the learning goals of the first academic year;
  2. An internal or external exam that takes place when the student has completed all the work placement of the programme. The exam is to document that the student has obtained the learning goals of the work placement;
  3. An external exam in the final bachelor project, which together with the additional exams is to document that the programme's learning goals have been achieved.


The business academy awards the certification for completing an academy profession programme. If a student leaves his or her programme before completing it, the business academy issues documentation of the examinations passed at the student’s request.

The business academy issues a diploma for successfully completed academy profession programmes. The diploma must at least state:

  • The name of the graduate and his or her civil registration number;
  • The name of the institution;
  • The name of the education programme in Danish and English as well as the legal basis;
  • The prescribed period of study indicated in ECTS credits;
  • The courses in which exams have been taken or which have been documented in some other way. The courses’ size is indicated in ECTS credits;
  • Exams and tests awarded credit for;
  • The examination language if the exam has been taken in a foreign language;
  • The achieved marks according to the seven-point grading scale as well as the equivalent letter according to the ECTS-scale and optionally the total examination result;
  • The title the graduate is entitled to use in Danish and English.

Diploma Supplement

In addition to the diploma, it is compulsory for all higher education institutions to issue a Diploma Supplement in English to all students obtaining a degree. The Diploma Supplement gives information on the nature, level, context, content and status of the qualification as well as a description of the Danish higher education structure.

Organisation variation

The decision on whether to offer distance learning lies with the higher education institutions. Some of the business academies offer entire online academy profession programmes.



Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2008: Qualifications Framework for Danish Higher Education. [Accessed 24 July 2023]

Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2020: Diploma Supplement. [Accessed 24 July 2023]

Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2022a: General organisation and administration. [Accessed 24 July 2023]

Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2022b: Academies profession programmes. [Accessed 24 July 2023]

Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2023: The admission system in Denmark. [Accessed 24 July 2023]

Legislation and Official Policy documents

Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2021: Ministerial Order on academy profession programmes and professional bachelor education programme (Bekendtgørelse om erhvervsakademiuddannelser og professionsbacheloruddannelser), BEK no 2672 of 28/12/2021. [Accessed 24 July 2023]

Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2022a: Ministerial Order on access to academy profession programme and professional bachelor education programme (Bekendtgørelse om adgang til erhvervsakademiuddannelser og professionsbacheloruddannelser), BEK no 87 of 25/01/2023. [Accessed 24 July 2023]

Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2022b: Ministerial Order on exams and tests at professional- and business-oriented higher education (Bekendtgørelse om eksamener og prøver ved professions- og erhvervsrettede videregående uddannelser), BEK no 863 of 14/07/2022. [Accessed 24 July 2023]