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 quarter of an hour

The teaching at Aarhus University generally starts 15 minutes after the time stated in the timetable. So teaching scheduled to start at “10” actually starts at 10:15. 


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


This is the abbreviation for “auditorium” (lecture theatre).

(former Blackboard)

Aarhus University’s e-learning system, used for sharing knowledge and for facilitating communication between students and teachers in connection with study programmes.


All the buildings at Aarhus University have a number or letter. Some buildings also have a name, which in most cases you will find written on a sign by the main entrance.


Campus refers to the university premises, grounds and buildings.

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


You will study various subjects or courses each semester. Each subject is concluded with an examination.


This is the classical form of teaching at the university. You are expected to prepare for lectures to help you get the most out of your degree programme.


Once you are enrolled in a degree programme, you can call yourself a university student.


A collection of copied articles that are on the syllabus for a given course.

Course catalogue

The subjects taught each semester are collected into a course catalogue, which can help you decide which elective subjects to choose.

Study area

There are a number of study areas at the university, which you can use for group work or independent study. These are all referred to as “study areas”. Find more information under 'Study environment and facilities' in the left-side menu.


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


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 through January, and the spring semester lasts from February through June.

Student card

Your student card gives you access to buildings, entitles you to discounts in the city and you must bring it when you do on-site written exams. Find more information under 'Study environment and facilities' in the left-side menu.

Student registration number

Your student registration number is your ID at AU. You will need this number for exams, for instance. There are three Danish words all referring to the same thing: studienummer, årskortnummer and studiekortnummer.

Academic regulations

The academic regulations are the rules governing the subjects that you study, the order in which you study them and the forms 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. Find more information under 'Teaching and Examination' in the left-side menu.

Study portal

This is where you are right now and it is where you will find all the information you need about your study programme: information about exams, timetables, student counselling and much more. Take a look in the left-side menu and find more information.


This shows you when your classes take place. Your timetable is subject to alteration over the course of the semester. Find more information under 'Teaching and Examination' in the left-side menu.

Question and answer sessions

Some classes have question and answer sessions to discuss the theories presented in the lectures and for students to gain a better understanding of the topic.


The organisation of AU

Main academic area

The main academic areas (or faculties) deal with various fields of research and teaching. Each main academic area consists of a number of departments. At AU there are five main academic areas: You are a student at Aarhus BSS:


A department comprises a collection of affiliated degree programmes and research fields. Each department belongs to one faculty only, and there are seven departments at School of Business and Social Sciences:

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 Aarhus BSS. Find more information under 'Teaching and Examination' in the left-side menu.

BSS Study Service

Aarhus BSS Study Service can help answer any questions you may have about your teaching and exams. This is also where you submit your exam papers.

Student associations

There is a wide range of student associations at AU – some are academic and some social. Find more information under 'Study environment and facilities' in the left-side menu.


Titles at AU

Bachelor (BA)

The Bachelor’s degree programme constitutes the first three years of your university studies.

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. 


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


After the Master’s degree programme, you can apply for a PhD fellowship, which lasts three (or perhaps four or five) years, during which time you have to produce a dissertation. If you defend this dissertation successfully, you earn your PhD degree. PhD students teach at the university as well.
Read more about PhD programmes.

Assistant professor

After earning a PhD degree, 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.


The dean is the head of a main academic area.


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 or your tutors if you encounter a crazy name you don’t understand – that’s the quickest way to find your feet at Aarhus University.