Copenhagen University

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Updated:Wednesday 25th February 2015

Copenhagen University Definition

(Wikipedia) - University of Copenhagen   (Redirected from Copenhagen University) University of Copenhagen Motto Motto in English Established Type Budget Rector Academic staffAdministrative staff Students Undergraduates Postgraduates Doctoral students Location Campus Affiliations Website
Københavns Universitet
Latin: Universitas Hafniensis
Coelestem adspicit lucem (Latin)
It (the eagle) looks at the celestial light
Public university
DKK 8,305,886,000 ($1.4 Billion) (2013)
Ralf Hemmingsen
4.823 (2013)
4.382 (2013)
40,866 (2013)
23.473 (2013)
17,393 (2013)
2.968 (2013)
Copenhagen, Denmark
City Campus, North Campus, South Campus and Frederiksberg Campus
University Main Building, Frue Plads. (Distorted 180° panorama).Annex in Fiolstræde.

The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) (Danish: Københavns Universitet) is the oldest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has 23,473 undergraduate students, 17,398 postgraduate students, 2,968 doctoral students and more than 9,000 employees. The university has four campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the headquarters located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has several thousands of foreign students, of whom about half come from Nordic countries.

The university is a member of the prestigious International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Yale University, The Australian National University, and UC Berkeley, amongst others. The Academic Ranking of World Universities, compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, saw the University of Copenhagen as the leading university in Scandinavia and ranked 39th best university in the world in 2014. It is ranked 45th in the 2014 QS World University Rankings and 13th in Europe. Moreover, in 2013, according to the University Ranking by Academic Performance, the University of Copenhagen is the best university in Denmark and the 25th university in the world. The university has had 8 alumni become Nobel laureates and has produced one Turing Award recipient.

  • 1 Organisation and administration
  • 2 International strategy and key figures
  • 3 Faculties
  • 4 Campus
  • 5 History
  • 6 Student housing
  • 7 Seal
  • 8 International reputation
  • 9 Cooperative agreements with other universities and colleges
  • 10 List of rectors
  • 11 List of directors of the Royal Academy Schools
  • 12 Notable alumni (chronological order)
  • 13 See also
  • 14 References
  • 15 External links

Organisation and administration

The university is governed by a board consisting of 11 members: 6 members recruited outside the university form the majority of the board, 2 members are appointed by the scientific staff, 1 member is appointed by the administrative staff, and 2 members are appointed by the university students. The rector, the prorector and the director of the university is appointed by the university board. The rector in turn appoints directors of the different parts of the central administration and deans of the different faculties. The deans appoint heads of 50 departments. There is no faculty senate and faculty is not involved in the appointment of rector, deans, or department heads. Hence the university has no faculty governance, although there are elected Academic Boards at faculty level who advise the deans.

International strategy and key figures

The strategy of UCPH is to attract top talent from around the world. UCPH has established an international graduate talent program (grants for international ph.d.) and at tenure track carrier system. UCPH has: 50+ master’s programmes taught in English, 150+ exchange agreements worldwide, 800 Erasmus agreements, 1,700 incoming exchange students, 2,000 outbound exchange students and 4,000 international degree-seeking students.

  • The University consists of 6 faculties and around 100 departments and research centres.
  • Annual budget: appr. 1 billion euro
  • Total number of enrolled students: 40,866
  • Undergraduate students: 23.473
  • Graduate students: 17,393
  • International students: 5,737 (exchange, guest and full-degree students)
  • Staff: Total full-time equivalents (FTE): 9,652
  • Academic staff (FTE): 4.823
  • Technical and administrative staff (FTE): 4.382
  • Number of PhD students: 2.968

The University of Copenhagen currently has six faculties:

  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
  • Faculty of Theology

The university campus is located over four sites in Copenhagen:

  • North Campus
    • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
    • Faculty of Science
  • City Campus
    • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
    • Faculty of Law
    • Faculty of Social Sciences
    • Faculty of Theology
    • Central Administration
  • South Campus
    • Faculty of Humanities
  • Frederiksberg Campus
    • Faculty of Science
    • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
HistoryThe Rundetårn (round tower) was used in the 17th century as an observatory by Ole Rømer.

The University of Copenhagen was founded in 1479 and is the oldest university in Denmark. Between the closing of the Studium Generale in Lund in 1536 and the establishment of the University of Aarhus in the late 1920s, it was the only university in Denmark. The university became a centre of Roman Catholic theological learning, but also had faculties for the study of law, medicine, and philosophy.

The university was closed by the Church in 1531 to stop the spread of Protestantism, and re-established in 1537 by King Christian III after the Lutheran Reformation and transformed into an evangelical-Lutheran seminary. Between 1675 and 1788, the university introduced the concept of degree examinations. An examination for theology was added in 1675, followed by law in 1736. By 1788, all faculties required an examination before they would issue a degree.

In 1801, under the command of Admiral Horatio Nelson, the British fleet bombarded Copenhagen during the Battle of Copenhagen, destroying most of the university''s buildings. By 1836, however, the new main building of the university was inaugurated amid extensive building that continued until the end of the century. The university library, the Zoological Museum, the Geological Museum, the Botanic Garden with greenhouses, and the Technical College were also established during this period.

Interior of the old university library at Fiolstræde around 1920.

Between 1842 and 1850, the faculties at the university were restructured. Starting in 1842, the University Faculty of Medicine and the Academy of Surgeons merged to form the Faculty of Medical Science, while in 1848 the Faculty of Law was reorganised and became the Faculty of Jurisprudence and Political Science. In 1850, the Faculty of Mathematics and Science was separated from the Faculty of Philosophy.

The first female student was enrolled at the university in 1877. The university underwent explosive growth between 1960 and 1980. The number of students rose from around 6,000 in 1960 to about 26,000 in 1980, with a correspondingly large growth in the number of employees. Buildings built during this time period include the new Zoological Museum, the Hans Christian Ørsted and August Krogh Institutes, the campus centre on Amager Island, and the Panum Institute.

The Geological Museum.

The new university statute instituted in 1970 involved democratisation of the management of the university. It was modified in 1973 and subsequently applied to all higher education institutions in Denmark. The democratisation was later reversed with the 2003 university reforms. Further change in the structure of the university from 1990 to 1993 made a Bachelor''s degree programme mandatory in virtually all subjects.

Also in 1993, the law departments broke off from the Faculty of Social Sciences to form a separate Faculty of Law. In 1994, the University of Copenhagen designated environmental studies, north-south relations, and biotechnology as areas of special priority according to its new long-term plan. Starting in 1996 and continuing to the present, the university planned new buildings, including for the University of Copenhagen Faculty of Humanities at Amager (Ørestaden), along with a Biotechnology Centre. By 1999, the student population had grown to exceed 35,000, resulting in the university appointing additional professors and other personnel.

South Campus.

In 2003, the revised Danish university law removed faculty, staff and students from the university decision process, creating a top-down control structure that has been described as absolute monarchy, since leaders are granted extensive powers while being appointed exclusively by higher levels in the organization.

In 2005, the Center for Health and Society (Center for Sundhed og Samfund – CSS) opened in central Copenhagen, housing the Faculty of Social Sciences and Institute of Public Health, which until then had been located in various places throughout the city. In May 2006, the university announced further plans to leave many of its old buildings in the inner city of Copenhagen, an area that has been home to the university for more than 500 years. The purpose of this has been to gather the university''s many departments and faculties on three larger campuses in order to create a bigger, more concentrated and modern student environment with better teaching facilities, as well as to save money on rent and maintenance of the old buildings. The concentration of facilities on larger campuses also allows for more inter-disciplinary cooperation; for example, the Departments of Political Science and Sociology are now located in the same facilities at CSS and can pool resources more easily.

In January 2007, the University of Copenhagen merged with the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University and the Danish University of Pharmaceutical Science. The two universities are now faculties under the University of Copenhagen, and are now known as the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

In January 2012, the Faculty og Pharmaceutical Sciences and the veterinary third of the Faculty of Life Sciences merged with the Faculty of Health Sciences forming the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences – and the other two thirds of the Faculty of Life Sciences merged with the Faculty of Science.

Student housingTietgenkollegiet.

Although many privately owned dormitories (kollegier in Danish) exist in Copenhagen, there are also five which are partially administered by the university. Only students who have passed at least two years of studies are considered for admission. These are normally referred to as the old dormitories, and they consist of Regensen, Elers'' Kollegium, Borchs Kollegium, Hassagers Kollegium, and Valkendorfs Kollegium.

Contrary to the tradition of most American dormitories, Danish dormitories in general, and the old dormitories in particular, only offer single rooms for rent, meaning no student has to share their room with others.


The oldest seal only exists on a letter from 1531 and it depicts Saint Peter with a key and a book. In a circle around him is the text

Sigillum universitatis studii haffnensis.

When the university was re-established by Christian III in 1537 after the Protestant Reformation, it received a new seal. The seal shows the king with crown, sceptre, and globus cruciger sitting above a coat of arms that contains the Danish coat of arms in the upper right part and the Norwegian coat in the left. The text is

Sigillum Universitatis Hafniensis A Christiano III Rege Restauravit Seal of the University of Copenhagen, reestablished by King Christian III.

The 1537 seal is very similar to the current seal, which was made in 2000 and is shown at the top of this page. The text is different and there is only the national coat of arms of Denmark on the seal. The coat of arms has a crown and contains three lions and nine hearts. The text is

Sigillum Universitatis Hafniensis Fundatæ 1479 Reformatæ 1537 Seal of the University of Copenhagen Founded 1479 Reformed 1537

In addition to the university seal, each of the university''s six faculties have a seal of their own.

The seal of 1531 (1) and the seal of 1537 (2)International reputation University rankings Global ARWU Times QS Europe ARWU QS

The 2014 Academic Ranking of World Universities published by Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranks the University of Copenhagen as the best university in Denmark and Scandinavia, the 9th best university in Europe, and 39th in the Top 500 World Universities ranking. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2013, the University of Copenhagen is ranked at 130th overall in the world and 50th in Europe. In the 2014 THE–QS World University Rankings list, the University of Copenhagen was ranked 45th.

The university cooperates with universities around the world. In January 2006, the University of Copenhagen entered into a partnership with ten top universities, along with the Australian National University, ETH Zürich, National University of Singapore, Peking University, University of California Berkeley, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of Tokyo and Yale University. The partnership is referred to as the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU).

Cooperative agreements with other universities and colleges
  • Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics at University of Copenhagen signed a cooperation agreement with the Danish Royal School of Library and Information Science in 2009.
List of rectors Main article: List of Rectors of the University of CopenhagenRalf Hemmingsen (2005 – current rector). He is the 258th rector.List of directors of the Royal Academy SchoolsThe oldest surviving lecture plan from the university is from 1537. From To Director
1823 1824 Matthias Hastrup Bornemann
1824 1825 Oluf Lundt Bang
1825 1826 Hans Christian Ørsted
1826 1827 Knud Lyne Rahbek
1827 1828 Peter Erasmus Müller
1828 1829 Johan Frederik Vilhelm Schlegel
1829 1830 Johan Sylvester Saxtorph
1830 1831 Jens Wilken Hornemann
1831 1832 Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger
1832 1833 Jens Møller
1833 1834 Janus Lauritz Andreas Kolderup Rosenvinge
1834 1835 Johan Daniel Herholdt
1835 1836 Christian Thorning Engelstoft
1836 1837 Erich Christian Werlauff
1837 1838 Henrik Nicolai Clausen
1838 1839 Johannes Ephraim Larsen
1839 1840 Oluf Lundt Bang
1840 1841 Hans Christian Ørsted
1841 1842 Peter Oluf Brøndsted
1842 1843 Carl Emil Scharling
Notable alumni (chronological order) See also: List of Nobel laureates associated with the University of CopenhagenTycho BraheOle RømerKierkegaardNiels BohrPiet Hein
  • Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), Danish astronomer, first scientific documentation of supernovas, mentor of Johannes Kepler.
  • Thomas Fincke (1561–1656), Danish mathematician and physicist.
  • Caspar Bartholin (1585–1629), professor in medicine and theology. Author of textbooks on anatomy and the discoverer of the workings of the olfactory nerve.
  • Olaus Wormius (1588–1655), Danish physician and antiquarian.
  • Thomas Bartholin (1616–1680), discoverer of the lymphatic system.
  • Rasmus Bartholin (1625–1698), professor in geometry and medicine. Discovered birefringence, but was unable to give a scientific explanation.
  • Thomas Hansen Kingo (1634–1703), Danish bishop and poet.
  • Nicholas Steno (1638–1696), a pioneer in anatomy and geology.
  • Ole Rømer (1644–1710), Danish astronomer, made the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light.
  • Peder Horrebow (1679–1764), Danish astronomer and member of Académie des Sciences.
  • Ludvig Holberg (1684–1754), Danish-Norwegian writer and playwright.
  • Morten Thrane Brunnich (1737–1827), Danish zoologist.
  • Caspar Wessel (1745–1818), mathematician.
  • Martin Vahl (1749–1804), Danish-Norwegian botanist and zoologist.
  • Hans Christian Ørsted (1777–1851), Danish physicist and chemist, discovered electromagnetism.
  • Anders Sandøe Ørsted (1778–1860), Danish lawyer and prime minister of Denmark (1853–1854).
  • Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger (1779–1850), poet, author of lyrics of the Danish national anthem Der er et yndigt land.
  • N. F. S. Grundtvig (1783–1872), Danish writer, poet, philosopher and priest.
  • Christopher Hansteen (1784–1873), Norwegian astronomer and physicist.
  • Johan Ludvig Heiberg (1791–1860), Danish poet and critic.
  • Magnús Eiríksson (1806–1881), Icelandic theologian.
  • Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), Danish theologian and philosopher, the father of existentialism.
  • Anders Sandøe Ørsted (1816–1872), professor of botany 1851–1862.
  • Hinrich Johannes Rink (1819–1893), Danish geologist, and founder of the first Greenlandic language newspaper.
  • Eugenius Warming (1841–1924), Danish botanist and founding figure of ecology.
  • Georg Brandes (1842–1927), Danish writer and critic.
  • Vilhelm Thomsen (1842–1927), Danish linguist.
  • Harald Høffding (1843–1931), Danish philosopher theologian psychologist.
  • Hans Christian Gram (1853–1938), Danish bacteriologist, inventor of Gram staining.
  • Wilhelm Johannsen (1857–1927), Danish botanist, first coined the word gene in its modern usage.
  • Niels Ryberg Finsen (1860–1904), Nobel laureate in medicine (1903).
  • Otto Jespersen (1860–1943), Danish linguist, co-founder of the International Phonetic Association.
  • Kirstine Meyer (1861–1941), Danish physicist.
  • Hannes Hafstein (1861–1922), Icelandic politician and poet.
  • Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger (1867–1928), Nobel laureate in medicine (1926).
  • August Krogh (1874–1949), Nobel laureate in medicine (1920).
  • Kirstine Smith (1878–1939), Danish statistician credited with creation of optimal design of experiments.
  • Niels Bohr (1885–1962), contributed to development of the atomic model and quantum mechanics. Director at the university''s Institute of Theoretical Physics. Nobel laureate in physics (1922).
  • Øjvind Winge (1886–1964), Danish biologist.
  • Julie Vinter Hansen (1890–1960), Danish astronomer.
  • Henrik Dam (1895–1976), Nobel laureate in medicine (1943).
  • Sir Ove Arup (1896–1988), Anglo-Danish structural engineer.
  • Knud Ejler Løgstrup (1905–1981), Danish philosopher and theologian. Pastor at Sandager-Holevad 1936–1943. Professor at University of Aarhus 1943–1975.
  • Piet Hein (1905–1996), Danish mathematician, inventor and poet.
  • Bengt Strömgren (1908–1987), Danish astronomer and astrophysicist.
  • Niels Kaj Jerne (1911–1994), Nobel laureate in medicine (1984).
  • Jens Otto Krag (1914–1978), prime minister of Denmark (1962–1968, 1971–1972).
  • Jens Christian Skou (born 1918), Nobel laureate in chemistry (1997) for his discovery of Na+,K+-ATPase.
  • Hans H. Ørberg (1920–2010), linguist and scholar.
  • Aage Bohr (1922–2009), professor in nuclear physics and director of the Niels Bohr Institute at the university. Nobel laureate in physics (1975).
  • Ben Roy Mottelson (born 1926), American-born Danish nuclear physicist, Nobel laureate in physics (1975).
  • Peter Naur (born 1928), computer scientist, Turing Award in 2005.
  • Poul Schlüter (born 1929), prime minister of Denmark (1982–1993).
  • Jørgen Rischel (1934–2007), Danish linguist who analyzed Greenlandic and Mon-Khmer languages.
  • Aage B. Sørensen (1941–2001), Danish sociologist.
  • Holger Bech Nielsen (born 1941), Danish physicist, one of three creators of string theory.
  • Jørgen Haugan (born 1941), Doctorate in Philosophy (1977) – Norwegian author and lecturer.
  • Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (born 1943), prime minister of Denmark (1993–2001).
  • Halldór Ásgrímsson (born 1947), prime minister of Iceland (2004–2006).
  • Peter Høeg (born 1957), Danish fiction writer, won international acclaim with Smilla''s Sense of Snow.
  • Steve Scully (born 1960), American host, senior producer, and political editor of the C-SPAN network''s Washington Journal studied at the University of Copenhagen as part of his master''s program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
  • Lars Løkke Rasmussen (born 1964), prime minister of Denmark (2009–2011).
  • Bjørn Lomborg (born 1965), Danish economist, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist.
  • Helle Thorning-Schmidt (born 1966), prime minister of Denmark (2011–present).

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