Skip to main content

The Master's degree rule

What is the 'Master's degree rule'?

As long as you have not completed a Master's degree programme, you are free to apply for a new programme. If you have completed a Bachelor programme, you can apply for a new programme without reservations.

If, on the other hand, you have completed a Master's degree 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 level.


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. Once the study spots have been allocated, SDU will clarify whether there is a vacant study spot in the programme. 


Application deadline:

When you apply for a Master's programme, the application deadline is:

  • 1 March: Study start on 1 September 
    (You will receive a response to your application no later than 10 June).
  • 1 5 October: Study start on 1 February 
    (You will receive a response to your application no later than 10 December).

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, e.g. you have been found to 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
Application deadline for exemption

If you apply for a Bachelor programme and you want to apply for an exemption from the Master’s degree rule, the application deadline is:

  • 15 March at 12:00 noon (also if you apply via quota 1)
    (You will receive a response to your application on 28 July)


Documentation when applying for an exemption from the ‘Master’s degree rule’

When applying for an exemption, you must enclose an application for an exemption with your application for the programme, in which you:

  • Describe your course
  • Enclose documentation supporting the impossibility of using your Master's degree programme professionally.


Download the exemption form and find instructions on relevant documentation (pdf).



Admission (Bachelor's programmes) University of Southern Denmark

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

Last Updated 04.01.2022