Seven degree programmes are to be closed, the language of instruction will change from English to Danish on six others and one programme will be put on standby. Aalborg University (AAU) has to make these changes in order to meet the Danish Government’s demand for reducing admissions of international students by 290 in 2019.
At the end of August, the Minister for Higher Education and Science, Tommy Ahlers (V), announced that the Government wished to reduce admissions of international students at Danish universities by 1,000-1,200 students. The change is due to the fact that only one third of international graduates stay in Denmark and find work once they have completed their degree programmes. The Government’s order to reduce the number of international students was met with great discontent from AAU, other Danish universities and a number of non-governmental organisations.
The Government’s announcement required AAU to reduce its admissions of international students by 290. AAU decided that the two most efficient ways of achieving the reduction were to either close down degree programmes or to change the language of instruction on them.
To determine which degree programmes were to be subject to reduction, the Rector and Pro-rector conducted a larger analysis that considered the robustness and relevance of specific degree programmes. The analysis also examined how many international students each programme attracted, and how many of these subsequently found work in Denmark. The results of the analysis were then combined with strategic considerations for the faculties.
The final plan means that three bachelor’s programmes and four master’s programmes will be closed. At the same time, the Rector and Pro-rector have decided to standardise the language of instruction on the bachelor’s programmes; thus five bachelor’s programmes will change from English to Danish. The same applies to one master’s programme. In addition, one English-language programme will be put on standby.
When the changes take effect, all AAU bachelor’s programmes will be taught in Danish except for two in Esbjerg. The two English degree programmes in Esbjerg remain unchanged as they contribute significantly to the sustainability of the Esbjerg Campus.
‘The Ministry gave us a specific task, which we found highly unsatisfactory. But we have chosen to include strategic considerations in the measures, so that both the closings and the language change make sense in a larger context’, says Pro-rector Inger Askehave.
AAU’s plan for reducing international students was approved by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education in the beginning of November. The plan was reviewed in the Main Joint Consultation Committee (HSU) on 9 November.
Six out of the seven degree programmes that are closing belong under the Faculty of Engineering and Science at the Copenhagen Campus. Dean Mogens Rysholt Poulsen explains that the closings are part of a strategic decision to focus more on critical mass in the environments.
‘Many of our degree programmes in Copenhagen are related to programmes we have in Aalborg. With the closings, we are choosing to concentrate our efforts on the concerned environments and degree programmes in Aalborg’, says Mogens Rysholt Poulsen.
Pro-rector Inger Askehave emphasises that international students are an area that will continue to attract attention in the future.
‘It is without a doubt an area that we will continue to focus on. Now, we will work on getting international graduates to stay and find work in Denmark’, says Inger Askehave.
The changes will not have any impact on current students’ opportunity to complete their programmes.
The following degree programmes are closing
- Sustainable Biotechnology, Copenhagen, bachelor’s programme
- Manufacturing and Operations Engineering, Copenhagen, bachelor’s programme
- IT, Communication and New Media, Copenhagen, bachelor’s programme
- Sustainable Biotechnology, Copenhagen, master’s programme
- Autonomous Systems, Copenhagen, master’s programme
- Operations and Innovation Management, Copenhagen, master’s programme
- Operations and Management Engineering, Copenhagen, master’s programme
The following degree programmes change language from English to Danish
- Medialogy, Aalborg, bachelor’s programme
- Medialogy, Copenhagen, bachelor’s programme
- Robotics, Aalborg, bachelor’s programme
- Art and Technology, Aalborg, bachelor’s programme
- Language and International Studies, English, Aalborg, bachelor’s programme
- Construction Management and Building Informatics, Aalborg, master’s programme
The following programme will be put on standby
- Economics and Business Administration, Aalborg, bachelor’s programme
REad more information
- Article in Danish: The Ministry’s wish to reduce the number of international students.
- Article in Danish at aau.dk: AAU ærgrer sig over begraensning af internationale studerende.