News from the senior management team no. 21/2016

GPA cut-off pushed up by many highly qualified applicants

Friday was the the final deadline for the 7,399 applicants who were offered admission to Aarhus University on 30 July to confirm their acceptance.

Even though the final figures for the intake of new undergraduate students will not be known until October, preliminary figures show a significant increase in the number of highly qualified applicants this year. Thus, the grade point average (GPA) cut-off for the vast majority of degree programmes is higher than last year, which means that there are now limits on admission to most programmes.

The senior management team is pleased to be able to offer the many new, highly qualified students admission to Aarhus University. The higher intake of engineering, language and business students is particularly positive from the point of view of the labour market’s demand for graduates.

Initially 32 degree programmes were open for applications after 30 July, the application deadline was 7 august. After this deadline some of the degree programmes are still accepting applications. 

Marking scale up for debate

During the past week, the Danish marking scale has been the subject of considerable debate in the media, with several political parties and business and industry calling for a thorough re-assessment of the Danish 7-point marking scale. While many reasons have been given, one main argument is that the top mark of 12 has been hit by grade inflation and is awarded too often, and that it is difficult to reward the best student performances an absolute top mark, as was possible with the old Danish 13-point marking scale.

A key reason for introducing the new marking scale back in 2007 was to make it possible for Danish students to compare their marks internationally.

“The new scale appears to meet this requirement, as more students are now being given top marks. With the old scale, many of our cleverest students were made to look mediocre when converting their marks. This is no longer the case,” says Pro-rector Berit Eika.

There is general agreement that the current 7-point marking scale makes it harder to differentiate academic performances – not least due to the large size of the scale increments. However, introducing a new scale would be a large and costly exercise. The marking system is only nine years old, and the need for continuity is a key factor.

In addition, the so-called ‘quick bonus’ came under fire last week. The bonus enables students to multiply their average mark by a factor of 1.08 if they start their degree programme within two years of finishing upper secondary school. 

“We think that while students should start a degree programme as soon as possible, taking one or two gap years does no harm – in fact, our figures show that drop-out rates are lower among students who do so, probably because they are more ready for university and clearer in their minds about their choice of programme. The quick bonus has nothing to do with quality, and it certainly wasn’t dreamed up by the universities,” says Berit Eika.


Registration for the annual celebration opens Monday

8 August, all employees received an invitation to the annual celebration on 9 September in their inbox. In keeping with tradition, the anniversary will be celebrated with a ceremony in the Main Hall which will include the presentation of prizes and awards, the announcement of this year’s distinguished alumni, the conferral of honorary doctorates, speeches and music,  followed by refreshments in the Ambulatory.

In the evening, the festivities will continue with a tribute concert to the Danish musician Sebastian in the main auditorium at Concert Hall Aarhus, with performances by Rasmus Nøhr, Randi Laubek, Lis Sørensen and Søren Sko, among others. Per Chr. Frost and Peter Vuust will be conducting, and the evening will be compèred by Master Fatman. After the concert, snacks and wine will be served for all our guests in the foyer.

The deadline for registration is 19 August for both events, and it is possible to bring a companion. Seats in the Main Hall for the afternoon event and seats in the main auditorium at Concert Hall Aarhus in the evening will be allocated according to the number of employees at the four faculties and in the administration, so everyone has an equal chance of getting a place. The draw will be carried out by KongresKompagniet, and letters will be sent out at the end of week 35 announcing the results of the ticket lottery.

Take a Danish University Extension course free of charge – registration opens 16 August at 10:00

Aarhus University is offering alumni as well as current and former employees the possibility of free registration for one of the Danish University Extension’s lecture series.

Registration for the courses opens on Tuesday, 16 August at 10:00. There is a limited number of places which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. 

  • Go to the Danish University Extension website at (in Danish)
  • Select the item ‘specialaftaler’ at the bottom of the page
  • Enter the code ‘AU’
  • Select a lecture or lecture series and follow the registration procedure

Greenhouses win international architectural prize

The Greenhouses in the Botanical Gardens in Aarhus have won the prestigious International Architecture Award 2016. The award is being given for the distinctive conversion and extension of the Greenhouses which was completed in 2014. The architectural firm C.F. Møller was in charge of the restoration and extension of the Greenhouses, which have since been a huge success with visitors.


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