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Formal rules for academic regulations

Formal rules for academic regulations

The legal hierarchy

Acts of parliament, ministerial orders, rules and strategies all form part of a hierarchy. No rule may ever contravene the rule located above it in this hierarchy. For instance, AU’s rules about exams may not conflict with the Ministerial Order on University Examinations and Grading. This means that the academic regulations must comply with all the rules above them in the hierarchy.

  • Acts of parliament: issued by the Danish Parliament. The University Act is an example of the acts applying to academic regulations.
    • Ministerial orders: issued by the minister on the basis of the provisions of the University Act The Ministerial Order on Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programmes at Universities and the Ministerial Order on University Examinations and Grading are examples of the ministerial orders applying to academic regulations
      • AU’s rules: issued by Aarhus University, covering (for instance) rules about the use of computers at exams
        • Faculty policies and strategies: for instance the review of the faculty's degree programmes and rulings regarding project placements
          • Guidelines for boards of studies at the Faculty of Arts: for instance rules about the length of the Master’s thesis
            • Academic regulations: These are subject to the approval of the dean following the recommendation of the board of studiesAcademic regulations are difficult to place in the legal hierarchy because their different parts are subject to different levels of the hierarchy. For instance, the University Act states that boards of studies must draw up proposals for academic regulations; various ministerial orders define the framework for exams and the content of academic regulations; and finally AU, the boards of studies and the management may define rules or policies that influence the legal basis of academic regulations.

Acts of parliament, ministerial orders, rules and strategies

All acts and ministerial orders can be found at www.retsinformation.dk, which is the official and public point of access to the rules of law in Denmark.

The word “historisk” appears in grey lettering in the background if the act in question is outdated. The latest version of outdated acts can be found in the menu on the right-hand side of the site. Please remember that subsequent amendments may be hidden in the column on the right-hand side (Senere ændringer i forskriften), even if the word “historisk” does not appear in the background.så selvom der ikke står Historisk i baggrunden.


Ministerial orders

Exams, credit and grades

Applicable to full-time degree programmes

Applicable to part-time degree programmes

Applicable to degree programmes targeting upper-secondary education

Other rules:

Other guidelines

The Bologna process

The Bologna process is not part of the legal system; but academic regulations at the Faculty of Arts must live up to the agreements of the Bologna process because Denmark is part of this European collaboration, the aim of which is to create a joint space for programmes of higher education in Europe. For more information about the Bologna process, please see information about academic regulations.


The use of ECTS credits has been compulsory in all programmes of higher education in Denmark since 2001.

ECTS stands for European Credit Transfer System. The ECTS system is an international system of credits. One year of full-time study is the equivalent of 60 ECTS credits. In other words, the number of ECTS credits indicates the standard workload represented by a given course or study programme. In a joint European context, this means that a typical full-time student is expected to have a workload of between 1,500 and 1,800 hours in one year of study in order to achieve the academic objectives of their programme. When drawing up academic regulations, departments must ensure that the student’s workload and the academic objectives of the courses concerned match the number of ECTS credits stated.

Click here for more information about ECTS credits.