Teaching and study methods

As a student at Aarhus University you will attend lectures, study independently and undertake projects, practical exercises and seminars – on your own and in groups of students.

Students are expected to take active part in the academic discussions during class. Many professors require students to give one or two oral presentations during the semester. As these presentations are prepared in groups, it is a good idea to join a study group as soon as the semester begins.

As interaction and dialogue between professors and students is highly encouraged, the academic atmosphere may appear relaxed and informal to many foreign students.

The number of teaching hours per week differs from faculty to faculty and depends very much on the learning objective. Please contact the faculty or department where you will be studying for more specific information.

Lectures

Lectures are held for up to 200 students in an auditorium and it mainly consists of one-way communication. The purpose of these lectures is to give students the necessary theoretical basis for the topics in question. 

Seminars

Seminars are for a smaller group of students - on average 20 students. They are based on dialogue between lecturers and students, and it is expected that students take active part in the discussions. Some seminars are held in continuation of the lectures, in which case the students are expected to make use of the theoretical tools provided in the lectures during their seminar discussions. 

Practical/Laboratory Work

This teaching form is most common at the Faculty of Science & Technology and the Faculty of Health Sciences. An example is at the School of Dentistry where the students gain practical experience working in the department's own clinic. 

Project Work and Problem Based Learning

These projects will challenge you to think freely, to use your initiative and be creative. They will also give you experience in using new knowledge to solve complex real-world problems.

Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a key feature of education in Denmark. PBL promotes the students' innovative abilities through problem-based group projects with the teacher as a consultant, and sometimes in collaboration with a company to work on real-world problems.

Dialogue between Student and Lecturer

The dialogue between lecturer and student is central to the teaching at Aarhus University. Students are expected to take an active part in the academic discussions during class, and many lecturers require students to make oral presentations once or twice during the course. The oral presentations are often prepared by a group of students, which is why it is a good idea to form or participate in a study group (see below).

A high level of responsibility and active participation is expected of the student. Danish university education is not a guided tour. It is up to the individual student to get the most out of what is offered.

Another distinctive feature of the Danish university education is the academic environment, which may seem informal to foreign students. Professors and other staff members often chat informally with the students and associate with them during breaks.

Study Groups

A study group typically consists of 3-4 students who meet to discuss the academic texts used in class as well as preparing eventual oral presentations together. It is quite common practice for students at the University to join such groups.

Study groups can be beneficial both with regard to studies and social life. They train students in methodological skills such as cooperation, presentation, coordination, etc. So ask around and find out if anyone is interested in joining your study group.

Study Resource for International Students

Studypedia is a free, online resource offered in both Danish and English. It outlines helpful study skills, standards and advice on how to write academic papers in Denmark, as well as helpful hints on finding information in Denmark. This is a very useful resource for international students to be academically successful, as standards in Denmark may be different from other countries.