Upper secondary education

Once you have completed your basic school education in form level 9 or 10, you can apply for enrolment in a youth education programme. Youth education programmes are courses of preparatory study or professional qualification programmes usually lasting three or four years.

Upper secondary education programme

The programmes normally cater for 16-19 year olds and are comprised of either:

  1. The general upper secondary education provision of the Gymnasium (stx), the higher preparatory examination (HF), the higher commercial examination (hhx) or the higher technical examination (htx). These education programmes primarily prepare for higher education.
  2. Or, the vocational education and training programmes, the basic social and health training programmes etc. These education programmes are primarily aimed at preparing students for a career in a specific trade or industry.

More facts about the upper secondary level of education

Upper secondary education for foreigners

Some schools offer general upper secondary programmes in English, German or French.

The English programmes are for the international baccalaureate (the IB) and the related pre-IB. The German programmes for the Abitur, and the French programmes for the French baccalaureate, These diplomas are internationally recognised regardless of the language of teaching.

Some of the schools are private, and some are boarding schools.

The Ministry of Children and Education made a list of international upper secondary schools

IB Diploma Programme at Aarhus Gymnasium

The International Baccalaureate (IB) programme is an internationally oriented and recognised course available to students aged 16 to 19, which opens doors to leading universities around the world. Read more about the IB programme at Aarhus Gymnasium


You must contact the individual education programme regarding its enrolment procedure.


In order to enrol for upper secondary education and training, students must have completed 9-10 years of basic education, depending on the programme applied for. Each individual school is responsible for admitting students based upon the submission of an application form distributed by that school. The schools are also responsible for assessing qualifications and exams obtained abroad and deciding what credit is transferable to the Danish system.

Tuition and ownership

The Ministry of Education is responsible for the legislative framework and tuition at public schools is free for citizens from the Nordic and EU countries. For other nationals, certain schools may claim a tuition fee.

Education grant and loan scheme

All Danes over the age of 18 are entitled to public support for their further education.

Tuition at public and at most private educational institutions is free. Support for student's living costs is awarded by the State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme (SU), which is a system managed by the State Educational Grant and Loan Scheme Agency.

SU consists of a free grant which is, however, taxable. In addition to the grant, students can take out a loan which must be repaid when they have finished their education. In order to qualify for SU, the education you have enrolled for must be approved for a state education grant, and you must not receive any other forms of state support to cover living expenses.

If you are a non-Danish citizen, you can apply to the Danish Educational Support Agency and ask to be put on an equal footing with Danish citizens before you apply.

You may be given equal status according to Danish rules if:

  • You are married to a Danish citizen
  • You have been working
  • You have resided in Denmark for 5 years
  • You have come to Denmark together with your parents
  • You are from South Schleswig

If you are an EU or EEA citizen, you can apply to be placed on an equal footing with Danish citizens in accordance with EU regulations.

You may be given equal status according to EU rules if:

  • You are working or have been working in Denmark
  • You are the spouse of a citizen of the EU or the EEA
  • You have lived in Denmark for five years
  • You are the child of a citizen of the EU or the EEA

For more information, visit the SU website.