Copenhagen Past & Present with Danish Language

This course offers all international students at the University of Copenhagen an exciting and comprehensive introduction to the history of Copenhagen and the Danish language.

A pre-semester course for all international students at the University of Copenhagen.

Over three weeks, students will learn about the city’s history from its foundation in the early Middle Ages, when Copenhagen was just a fishing village, and through a millennium of history up to modern Copenhagen, often ranked as one of the best cities in the world when measured by the quality of life. This course is a perfect introduction for students who wish to understand the cultural, political, economic and social history of the Danish capital. The course consists of a series of lectures taught at the University, supplemented with excursions out in the streets of Copenhagen.

As well as covering the rich history of Copenhagen, the course also includes several lessons in Danish for beginners, where you will be introduced to the basics of the Danish language including conversation, grammar and pronunciation. After just 3 weeks with 3 x 2 face-to-face and 3 online lessons per week, you can present yourself, describe where you live, and learn how to order your coffee – all in Danish. You will also be introduced to some of the Danish terminology related to the cultural content of the course.

The course is open to all international students and requires no prior knowledge of Danish history or language. The course language is English. 

Please note that the pre-semster course is not included in your overall credit score. It is possible to take Copenhagen Past & Present (7.5 ECTS) and have a total of 42.5 ECTS credits instead of the maximum credit load allowed per semester (35 ECTS).

Academic qualifications

This course will be taught in English, so a good level of English is required. All applicants must have completed their first year of studies at bachelor’s level (60 ECTS) before the summer school begins.

Teaching and learning methods

The programme consists of two parts: a thematic part on the history of Copenhagen and a Danish language course. The thematic part will be taught as a series of lectures and excursions out in Copenhagen and its surroundings.

The language course consists of smaller classes of students taught by an instructor and includes assignments to be done at home between classes.


A reading list will be provided for course participants by June at the latest. It is expected that students read all the required text material before each lecture/class. 


The course is an intensive full-time three-week course. Students should also expect to do some preparation before the classes.

At the end of the course, each student will submit a 4-5 page essay with a set question which will be the official examination for the course. Students have two days to complete the assignment, and the essay will be marked either pass or fail.
Only the thematic part of the programme is subject to examination.









Who can apply?

The course is open to international exchange students, guest students and Danish students.
Both Bachelor's and master’s students can apply for this course. However, please note that the exam is at bachelor’s level only.

How to apply?

If you have been nominated by your home university as an exchange student (for example Erasmus+ students) please visit the University of Copenhagen admission website for international visiting students. Other students can read more how to apply at The Faculty of Humanities website.

Tuition fees

If you have been nominated by your home university as an exchange student (for example Erasmus+ students) at the University of Copenhagen, you can take the pre-semester course free of charge.

You can apply for the pre-semester course as a fee-paying guest student.

Read more about tuition fees and how to apply at The Faculty of Humanities website.


I just want to say again I really loved the course and I would definitely recommend it. I'm super happy I was able to extend my exchange by a month and was able to meet so many new people through it. All the teachers were great and were always happy to help you out.

Anonymised student

The course was extremely helpful to settle in Copenhagen, understand the study and living environment better and get to know people who also want to discover the city in a comfortable athmosphere.

Anonymised student

It was a really good way to meet people and make friends. I feel a lot better starting the semester knowing I have friends to spend time with. All of us having the same schedule for 3 weeks allowed us to hang out outside of class everyday.

Anonymised student




Only the thematic part of the programme is subject to examination.

Exam format: written take-home assignment, set subject.
Scope: 4-5 standard pages.
Assessment: internal with one examiner, pass/fail grade.
Regulations for group exams: the exam may only be taken individually.
Exam language(s): English.
Permitted exam aids: any.
Make-up exam/re-sit: conducted in the same manner as the original exam.

Student workload














Credits: 7.5 ECTS
Duration: 5 August 2024 - 23 August 2024 (including examination).
Tutor/course coordinator: Peter Edelberg, Teaching Associate Professor, PhD.
Application deadlines: 
  • First round: 1 April 2024
  • Second round: 1 June 2024 (after availability)