Upper secondary education programmes are divided into:
- General upper secondary education programmes;
- Vocational upper secondary education and training programmes.
General upper secondary education
There are four academically oriented general upper secondary education programmes:
- The three-year Higher General Examination Programme (STX);
- The three-year Higher Commercial Examination Programme (HHX);
- The three-year Higher Technical Examination Programme (HTX);
- The two-year Higher Preparatory Examination Programme (hf).
All four programmes prepare students for higher education, but each programme has its own professional profile and compulsory subjects.
The STX and hf programmes consist of a broad range of subjects in the fields of humanities, natural science and social science. The HHX programmes focus on business and socio-economic disciplines in combination with general subjects. The HTX programmes focus on technological and scientific subjects in combination with general subjects.
The three-year programmes STX, HHX and HTX qualify the student for admission to higher education programmes at business academies, university colleges and universities. The two-year programme hf qualifies the student for admission to higher education programmes at business academies and university colleges, while a hf combined with addition courses qualifies the student for admission to higher education programmes at business academies, university colleges and universities.
Primarily, general upper secondary schools offer STX and hf programmes, while business colleges offer HHX programmes and technical colleges offer HTX programmes. Some schools are mixed schools offering various types of programmes.
The Act on General Upper Secondary Education Programmes regulates admission, the purpose of the programmes, compulsory subjects, optional subjects, instruction time, and the organisation of the programmes.
Vocational upper secondary education and training
Vocational education and training (VET) programmes are combination programmes in which theoretical and practical education alternates with practical training in an approved company or organisation.
Vocational education and training consists of a basic programme divided into two basic courses followed by a main programme. The first basic course is structured around the following four main subject areas:
- Care, health, and pedagogy;
- Administration, commerce, and business service;
- Food, agriculture, and hospitality;
- Technology, construction, and transportation.
The first basic course leads to the second basic course linked to more than 100 different main programmes. VET programmes are normally completed with a journeyman’s test or a similar examination.
In addition, the VET-system offers a VET programme combining general upper secondary education with vocational education and training (EUX).
The duration of a VET programme varies from two to five and a half years, the most typical being three and a half to four years.
All programmes qualify students for labour market entry and all programmes qualify students for admission to specific higher education programmes.
Vocational technical colleges, business colleges, and social and health care colleges offer VET programmes.
The Act on Vocational Education and Training regulates the purpose of the programmes, admission, instruction time, and the structure of the programmes.
The Education Guide (Uddannelsesguiden): The Structure of Vocational Education and Training Programmes (Erhvervsuddannelsernes opbygning). [Accessed 20 July 2022]
Ministry of Children and Education (Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet), 2018: Overview of the General Upper Secondary Education Programmes (Overblik over gymnasiale uddannelser). [Accessed 20 July 2022]
Ministry of Children and Education, 2020: About the four Upper Secondary Education Programmes. [Accessed 20 July 2022]
Ministry of Higher Education and Science, 2016: The Danish Education System. [Accessed 20 July 2022]
Legislation and Official Policy documents
Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2017: Act on General Upper Secondary Education Programmes (Bekendtgørelse om de gynmasiale uddannelser), BEK no. 497 of 18/05/2017. [Accessed 20 July 2022]
Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2021: Act on Vocational Education and Training (Bekendtgørelse om erhvervsuddannelser), BEK no. 2599 of 13/12/2021. [Accessed 20 July 2022]
Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2022: Act on General Upper Secondary Education Programmes (Bekendtgørelse af lov om de gymnasiale uddannelser), LBK no. 957 of 22/06/2022. [Accessed 20 July 2022]