Only a few small study programmes to survive cuts – University of Copenhagen

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04 April 2016

Only a few small study programmes to survive cuts


Several small study programmes to close at the Faculty of Humanities. Some may continue as elements within new area studies. Government cutbacks in programme finances have forced the Faculty to close programmes.

Four of thirteen threatened small study programmes will be maintained at the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Copenhagen. This has been decided by Rector Ralf Hemmingsen after a recommendation from the dean of the Faculty of Humanities. The rector informed the Board about the plan today. The decision follows an announcement in January that thirteen study programmes would not be admitting new students this summer.

- It’s with great regret and out of bitter necessity that we’re closing culture and language programmes. I hope that we can retain some of the academic research environments despite closing the programmes. It’s the prospect of a significant cutback in government funding for the programmes that makes the glass spill over. But the study programmes also experience high drop-out rates and students have a hard time living up to the requirements of the study progress reform, says Rector Ralf Hemmingsen.

Several of the programmes currently have an intake of less then 10 students a year. They are financially and academically vulnerable and will moreover have their number of study places reduced as a result of the Ministry’s so-called ‘dimensioning’, which will be phased in over the coming years. At the same time the government’s cutbacks reduce funding by 8%. And there is considerable uncertainty as to whether funding, both for the humanities and specifically for small study programmes, will be maintained at the current level.

The government has announced the launch of a language strategy in autumn, which will take into account the challenges of the small study programmes and ensure that research and teaching in the foreign languages sought by business and industry will be carried out. Most of the study programmes being closed at the University of Copenhagen are not offered at other institutions in Denmark. The faculty hopes to be able to join some of the programmes in new, larger area studies.  

Five programmes to close here and now

The University of Copenhagen has decided which programmes will close and which will continue. Finnish, Indology, Tibetology and South East Asian Studies, comprising Thai and Indonesian, will all close as full study programmes.

South East Asian Studies with specialisation in Indonesian or Thai is one of the small culture and language programmes to be closed now. This is a result of government cuts in funding for the programmes. South East Asian Studies admitted 11 students in 2015.

The last intake on these programmes was thus in 2015. Students who are currently active on these programmes can still complete their education and graduate. As far as possible, the academic expertise within the affected areas will be disseminated within the framework of other study programmes.

At the same time it will be attempted to merge some of the remaining programmes. This applies to Hebrew and Turkish, which alongside Arabic and Persian will become a new bachelor’s and master’s programme in Middle Eastern studies. The same goes for Indo-European, which will be joined with Linguistics to become one bachelor’s and master’s programme.

In addition, the faculty aims at merging Balkan studies and Polish with Russian to create a new and bigger programme in Eastern European Studies. While this option is being explored, new students will not be admitted to Balkan Studies and Polish. If the new and bigger programme cannot be established, these programmes will be closed.

This means that the University will only retain the programmes in Eskimology, American Indian Language and Culture Studies, Ancient Greek and Contemporary India and South Asia Studies. The economy at some of these programmes is not better, but the university either has a national obligation or uniquely strong academic environments. These four programmes will admit new students in 2017.

Programmes affected by cutbacks

Programme Intake 2015 Decision
Contemporary India and South Asia Studies* 13 To be re-opened in 2017
Eskimology 15 To be re-opened in 2017
Finnish 5 To be closed now
Hebrew 7 To be closed later (will be part of a new Middle Eastern Studies programme)
Indology 8 To be closed now
South East Asian Studies 11 To be closed now
Tibetology 7 To be closed now
Ancient Greek* 14 To be re-opened in 2017
Indo-European 15 To be closed later (will be part of a new programme alongside Linguistics)
Balkan Studies* 12 To be closed later (may be part of a new Eastern European Studies programme)
American Indian Languages and Culture 11 To be re-opened in 2017
Turkish 17 To be closed later (will be part of a new Middle Eastern Studies programme)
Polish 7 To be closed later (may be part of a new Eastern European Studies programme)

 * Offered as a bachelor’s programme at other Danish universities.

Russian, Arabic and Persian may also be closed as individual programmes as a consequence of the possible mergers.


Dean, Faculty of Humanities
Ulf Hedetoft
Tel.:  2961 1811

Head of Secretariat
Jesper Hede
Tel.:  2448 1262