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The Master's degree rule

What is the 'Master's degree rule'?

As long as you have not completed a Master's degree programme or expect to do so before starting a new programme, you are free to apply for a new programme.

If, on the other hand, you have completed a Master's degree programme before study start in the new programme, you can only be admitted to a new higher programme if there are vacant study spots in the programme you want to apply for – this is the ‘Master’s degree rule’.

The rule applies regardless of whether you have completed a Danish or a foreign Master's degree programme as long as the level of the programme corresponds to a Danish Master’s degree in terms of workload and level. If you are unsure whether your foreign Master’s degree corresponds to a Danish Master’s level, you can consult the website of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, where you can find general assessments of educational levels for some countries, as well as a information about how to apply for an assessment of a specific degree.


How do you apply if you already hold a Master’s degree?

All SDU’s programmes have a limited number of study spots, and therefore we cannot tell you in advance which programmes have vacant study spots and to which programmes you can thus be admitted. 

To be considered for admission to a Master's degree programme, simply apply at the ordinary application deadline via the application portal. The application deadline is available at 'Application for admission'. Once the study spots have been allocated, SDU will clarify whether there is a vacant study spot in the programme. 


Exemption from 'the Master's degree rule'

It is SDU’s practice to make an exemption in cases where it has been documented and demonstrated that due to exceptional circumstances, it is no longer possible to use a Master’s degree professionally. 

If SDU accepts your application for an exemption, your application will be processed on the same terms as the other applications.

What do we consider exceptional circumstances?
We always make an individual and concrete assessment of your situation.
Exceptional circumstances are when you have become unfit for work within your profession. You must be able do document that you have lost your capacity to work.
What do we not consider exceptional circumstances?

We do not consider the following to be exceptional circumstances:

  • Wish for a change of profession
  • Unemployment
  • Labour market conditions
  • Motivation for different education programme
  • Previous legislation
  • Changing interests
  • Wrong choice of education
  • That you have not used your education
  • That you have a non-work-related disease
Documentation when applying for an exemption from the ‘Master’s degree rule’

If you believe that there are unusual circumstances in your situation, you can attach an application for exemption along with supporting documentation when you send your application for admission. You can use this template for your application for an exemption. 

Formal requirements for information to be included in supporting documentation from health professionals

  • Your CPR no. or date of birth
  • Date of issue
  • Times for first and latest consultation, admission, interview or similar
  • Description of whether professional assessments have been made based on an examination or information from the patient/client
  • Description of how the condition has affected your ability to use you Master’s degree professionally
  • Doctor’s notes must include the doctor’s name, CVR no., signature, and stamp

Any expenses associated with requiring supporting documentation are at the applicant’s own expense.



Need help?

Call us on +45 6550 1052 monday-friday at 10-12.

Or send us your message via  SPOC.

Admission (Bachelor's programmes) University of Southern Denmark

  • Campusvej 55
  • Odense M - DK-5230
  • Phone: +45 6550 1051

Last Updated 01.02.2024