Dictionary, concepts and explanations

This is where you will find explanations of some of the words and abbreviations you will meet during your time at Aarhus University. 

Study concepts

Academic regulations The academic regulations are the rules governing the courses that you study, the order in which you study them and the kind of exams you will have to take. It’s a good idea to read the academic regulations when you start your degree programme, and to consult them on a regular basis.

Academic quarter of an hour

The teaching at Aarhus University generally starts 15 minutes after the time stated in the timetable. So teaching timetabled to start at “10” actually starts at 10:15 (although 10:00 still means 10:00).


An alumnus is a graduate of a university. Alumni is the plural.


This is the abbreviation used for the “Auditorium” lecture theatre.


One of Aarhus University’s e-learning systems, used for sharing knowledge between students and teachers in connection with degree programmes and teaching.


All the buildings at Aarhus University have a number or letter. Some of them also have names, which are written at the main entrance in most cases.


The campus covers the grounds and buildings of the university.

Compendium A collection of articles copied for use in the teaching.
Course You will study various courses or subjects each semester. Each course ends in an examination. General studies, electives or profile courses, for instance.
Course catalogue The subjects taught each semester are collected into a course catalogue which can help you to decide which elective subjects to choose.

Credit transfer

When you apply for admission to a higher education degree programme, you are obliged to state whether you have previously passed courses on higher education degree programmes which you have not completed. Aarhus University needs this information to assess whether you can be granted credit transfer. In other words, whether (some of) the courses you have previously passed can replace parts of your new degree programme.

Digital Exam

"Digital Exam" or "Digital eksamen" is the name of the digital examiniations system used at the Faculty of Arts. The system is used for all types of exams. 

ECTS credits

ECTS credits reflect the amount of work you do at the university. One semester of full-time study corresponds to 30 ECTS credits or 830 hours of work.

Empirical data

Some courses require you to find empirical data. This means that you have to gather your own information – from studies or observations, for instance.


Once you have enrolled for a degree programme, you can call yourself a university student and use the title “stud.mag.”

Introductory course This was originally a course you had to take before starting your actual degree programme. For students of religion or area studies it involves language teaching, which extends the Bachelor’s and subsidiary subject programmes by six or twelve months.
Holiday / day off

It is your own responsibility to assess when it will be convenient for you to take a holiday/day off. You can check out at mystudies.au.dk, when you have classes and exams.


This is the classical form of teaching at the university, with the teacher using a text for the purpose of analysis and comparison with other texts. You are expected to prepare for lectures to help you get the most out of your degree programme.


AU’s self-service system, where you can change your password, gain access to your mails or study plans, and register for (or withdraw from) exams.

mystudies.au.dk At mystudies.au.dk is a portal where all relevant information relevant to you and your everyday studies is collected. This includes timetables, academic regulation, notification and access to self-service portals.


Exams that you have failed will be registered as “rejected”.


This is a (friendly) Danish term used to refer to first-year students.


The academic year at AU is divided into two semesters. The autumn semester lasts from September up to and including January, and the spring semester lasts from February up to and including June.


Some courses have seminars to discuss the theories presented in lectures in order to gain a better understanding of them

Student card

Your student card gives you access to buildings, entitles you to discounts in the city, and is needed when you do on-site written exams.

Student registration number/ AU ID

As a student on Aarhus university you have two identification numbers. The first is your "student registration number", which begins with the year you were enrolled (fx 2018, 2019, etc).  The second is your AU ID. Both identification numbers work as your ID at Aarhus University. You will need these numbers for exams and when you contact the administration, for instance. 

Study portal

This is where you will find all the information you need about your degree programme. You are actually reading this in this very moment on a subpage to the study portal.  

Study spaces

There are a number of study areas at the university which are used for group work or independent study. These are all referred to as “study spaces”. While you write your MA thesis in Aarhus you can apply for an independent and personel study space. 


The books and compendiums you read during your degree programme contain the theory you will need.


This shows you when your teaching takes place. Your timetable is subject to alteration in the course of the semester. Students at the Department of Education will find their timetables on BlackBoard.

The organisation of AU


The Faculties (or main academic areas) deal with various fields of research and teaching. Each Faculty consists of a number of departments. At AU there are five faculties (you are a student at Arts):


A school or department is a collection of degree programmes and research in various fields. Each school/department belongs to one faculty only, and there are three schools at the Faculty of Arts:

Board of studies 

The board of studies, director of studies and studies administration office manage all the details of the teaching and exams in your subject. There are a range of degree programme committees under the boards of studies at the Faculty of Arts.


“UN” is the Danish abbreviation for degree programme committee (uddannelsesnævn). There is one of these committees for each degree programme/group of degree programmes, consisting of students and teachers. The committees help to ensure that the teaching and exams comply with ministerial requirements as well as student demands.  

Study Centre Arts

The Study Centre can help to answer questions about your teaching and exams. 


There are secretariats in most of the locations on campus at which teaching takes place. The secretariats primarily provide service for the teachers, but this is also where you should go if you’re involved in a Friday bar or degree programme committee, for instance.

Student societies

There is a huge range of student societies – some academic, and some social.

Titles at AU

Bachelor (BA)

The Bachelor’s degree programme constitutes the first three years of your university studies (or three and a half years if you have to take an introductory course). While you are a student you can use the title “stud.mag.” (“stud.it.” if you’re studying IT and “stud.edu.” if you’re studying education).

Master (MA)

After the Bachelor’s degree programme you can take a Master’s degree programme, consisting of two years of advanced studies. This is what most people do. When you have finished you can use the title MA, or MSc (IT) if you have studied IT, or MA (Education) if you have studied education.


A term used to cover PhD students, assistant professors, associate professors and professors.


After the Master’s degree programme it is possible to gain a PhD fellowship lasting three (or perhaps four) years, during which time you have to produce a dissertation. If you defend this dissertation successfully, you can call yourself “PhD”. PhD students teach at the university as well.
Read more about PhD programmes.

Assistant professor

After gaining a PhD you can apply for an assistant professorship, which may lead to an associate professorship after a number of years.

Associate professor

An associate professor is a tenured PhD with a number of years of experience.


This is the highest title within the world of research. Applications for professorships have to prove that candidates have contributed to the development of their academic field.

Emeritus professor

Emeritus professors are professors who have retired but who still do research. They are still affiliated with the university and publish their research through the university.


Each dean is the head of a Faculty.


The vice-dean represents the dean when the dean is absent.


“TAP” is the Danish abbreviation for technical and administrative staff, covering all the administrative staff at the university.


“VIP” is the Danish abbreviation for academic staff, covering all the teachers and researchers.

Did you find what you were looking for? Ask your fellow students and tutors if you encounter a crazy name you don’t understand – that’s the quickest way to find your feet at Aarhus University.