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University of Copenhagen or Lund University?

University of Copenhagen or Lund University? main image

If you’re an international student looking for a top undergraduate, master’s or PhD program in Scandinavia, the University of Copenhagen and Lund University are likely to be two of the names at the top of your list.

Not only are they two of Northern Europe's most historic universities, they are also at the top of the tree academically. The University of Copenhagen is Scandinavia’s top-ranked, while Lund University is the region's second.

Choosing between the University of Copenhagen and Lund University

Lund University offers eight full undergraduate degree programs taught entirely in English, and both universities have a wide range of options for English-language study at graduate level. There are also numerous English-language options for international exchange students.

Both universities are highly international, have excellent facilities and are based in historic cities in areas of stunning natural beauty. Having to choose between them is a nice problem to have.

To help, here’s a look at how University of Copenhagen and Lund University compare on key indicators, with an at-a-glance overview followed by a more detailed comparison... 

 

University of Copenhagen

Lund University

·       Ranked joint 76th in the world.

·       Ranked 83rd in the world by academics and 245th by employers.

·       Higher score than Lund for student/faculty ratio (21st in the world).

·       160th in the world for percentage of international faculty members, and 456th for international students.

·       431st in the world for citations per faculty.

·       Ranked 97th in the world.

·       Ranked 87th by academics and 169th by employers.

·       284th in the world for faculty/student ratio.

·       152nd in the world for percentage of international faculty members and 197th for international students.

·       Ranks higher than Copenhagen for citations per faculty (321st).

Subject strengths*

·       Ranked 66th for arts & humanities

·       Joint 251st for engineering & technology

·       18th for life sciences & medicine

·       Joint 80th for natural sciences

·       101st for social sciences & management

·       Joint 138th for arts & humanities

·       Joint 136th for engineering & technology

·       Joint 77th for life sciences & medicine

·       Joint 96th for natural sciences

·       Joint 120th for social sciences & management

Location

·       Campus is spread over three sites in Copenhagen (approx. pop. 600,000), Denmark’s capital, ranked 46th in the QS Best Student Cities, and one in Frederiksberg.

·       Located in Lund (approx. pop. 92,000), a small but lively city near to Sweden’s south-west coast

Student community

·       Total number of students: 30,729

·       Undergraduate students: 51 percent

·       Graduate students: 49 percent

·       International students: 4,166 (39 percent undergraduate, 61 percent postgraduate)

·       Total number of students: 28,217

·       Undergraduate students: 69 percent

·       Graduate students: 31 percent

·       International students: 6,659 (45 percent undergraduate, 55 percent postgraduate)

Tuition fees

·       Tuition is free to students from within the EU/EEA and Switzerland.

·       Tuition fees for non-EU students are around €10,000-17,000 (approx. US$10,818-18,391) per year, depending on program.

·       There are no tuition fees for international exchange students.

·       Tuition is free to students from within the EU/EEA and Switzerland.

·       Tuition fees for non-EU students vary by subject and degree level but range from around €9,500-14,000 per year (approx. US$10,278-15,1456).

·       There are no tuition fees for international exchange students.

Programs taught in English

·       No full undergraduate programs taught entirely in English.

58 master’s programs taught in English, including Agricultural Development, Biology, Economic and Global Health.

·       Eight full undergraduate programs taught in English including International Business, Fine Arts, Mathematics and Development Studies.

·       Over 100 master’s programs taught in English in a wide range of subjects.

What the students say…

Morgwyn Ward, international exchange student from Brisbane, Australia: “One really great thing about being an international student at University of Copenhagen is that, although the students really take their studies seriously, they also make time for lots of socializing.  There are so many great activities going on all the time and heaps of opportunities to meet lots of new people which is perfect for international students.”
 

Rachelle Lacharité, international student from Calgary, Canada: “Lund is the perfect balance of a high-quality education, proximity to an international airport and European capital, spirited student activities, just everything I was looking for. It has a small, cozy town feel, as well as hugely important historical and international connections.” 

*Based on the broad subject areas in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020.

QS World University Rankings 2020

Lund University

The University of Copenhagen and Lund University are Scandinavia’s two leading institutions, and among the most highly regarded universities in Europe. Featuring close together in the rankings, Copenhagen comes out ahead overall, ranking 76th, eleven places ahead of Lund in 97th.

The two are evenly matched in many respects, although Lund has the advantage for employer reputation and citations per faculty. Employers rank Lund as the 169th best university in the world for the quality of its graduates, ahead of Copenhagen in 245th.

What swings things in Copenhagen’s favor, however, is its outstanding student/faculty ratio. Only 20 institutions in the world boast greater teaching resources per student admitted, meaning the University of Copenhagen is well placed to offer a considerable level of personal attention and small class sizes.

Subject strengths

The University of Copenhagen and Lund University both achieve positions in the global top 150 for most of the five broad subject areas in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020, with Copenhagen achieving positions in the worldwide top 100 for three subject areas: life sciences & medicine (18th), arts & humanities (66th) and natural sciences (joint 80th). Lund also receives its highest score for life sciences & medicine (joint 77th), as well as ranking in the world top 100 for natural sciences (joint 96th).

A more detailed view of how Copenhagen and Lund each rank for individual subjects can be found below:

Copenhagen and Lund in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

 

University of Copenhagen

Lund University

Accounting & finance

--

151-200

Agriculture & forestry

=18th

 --

Anatomy & physiology

17th

51-100

Anthropology

22nd

51-100

Archaeology

28th

51-100

Architecture

101-150

51-100

Art & design

--

--

Biological sciences

24th

51-100

Business & management

--

101-150

Chemistry

101-150

51-100

Classics & ancient history

42nd

--

Communication & media studies

=40th

51-100

Computer science & information systems

101-150

151-200

Dentistry

=29th

--

Development studies

11th

24th

Earth & marine sciences

51-100

101-150

Economics & econometrics

51-100

101-150

Education & training

101-150

--

Engineering (civil & structural)

--

151-200

Engineering (chemical)

--

--

Engineering (electrical & electronic)

--

51-100

Engineering (mechanical, aeronautical & manufacturing)

--

101-150

Engineering (mineral & mining)

--

--

English language & literature

51-100

151-200

Environmental sciences

42nd

39th

Geography

--

24th

History

51-100

51-100

Hospitality & leisure management

--

--

Law & legal studies

--

101-150

Library and information management

--

--

Linguistics

101-150

51-100

Materials science

--

--

Mathematics

51-100

151-200

Medicine

=38th

51-100

Modern languages

101-150

101-150

Nursing

--

47th

Performing arts

--

--

Pharmacy & pharmacology

=24th

--

Philosophy

39th

--

Physics & astronomy

51-100

51-100

Politics & international studies

38th

51-100

Psychology

101-150

151-200

Social policy & administration

--

--

Sociology

38th

51-100

Sports-related subjects

=7th

--

Statistics & operational research

51-100

101-150

Theology, divinity & religious studies

44th

51-100

Veterinary science

10th

--

Location

University of Copenhagen

Though the two universities are in different countries separated by a stretch of sea, they are actually only around 60 kilometers apart.

For students looking to base themselves in a big, bustling capital city, the University of Copenhagen has the upper hand. Copenhagen offers all of the cultural riches you might expect from a major European capital with a population of around two million, all set against a stunning backdrop of canals and picturesque promenades.

“I love the food, the people, the history and how beautiful the country is,” says Morgwyn Ward, an Australian exchange student currently at the University of Copenhagen. “In Copenhagen, you really feel that the world and cultural experiences are so accessible.”

While Lund may be a city of more modest dimensions, for Rachelle Lacharité, a Canadian who studied for a bachelor’s degree at Lund University, it represents the best of both worlds.

“I love life in Sweden. I come from a city of over one million people back in Canada and was a bit afraid at first to go to a city of only about 90,000 inhabitants, but it has been perfect for me. You have a quaint, idyllic, reasonably priced student city, that is only a few kilometers from many other lovely cities, and actually, in Canadian terms, Stockholm and Berlin are also very close (only four hours by train).”

Student communities

Both universities have large and diverse student communities, with Lund’s total of 28,217 enrolled students slightly smaller than Copenhagen’s figure of around 30,279. However, in a city whose total population stands at just 92,000, that means Lund is perfect for those who want to retreat into a student bubble.

Rachelle describes Lund University’s commitment to its international students as “impressive”. “They have an international desk that offers all support you could ever need in all aspects of your studies, housing and social life, and they have even started to offer brilliant graduation ceremonies for some programs in the main university building (something that is not a Swedish tradition but is highly appreciated by international students).”

“One really great thing about being an international student at Copenhagen University is that, although the students really take their studies seriously, they also make time for lots of socializing,” says Morgwyn. “There are so many great activities going on all the time and heaps of opportunities to meet lots of new people which is perfect for international students.”

Tuition fees and funding

Lund University

While EU, EEA and Swiss students (and those studying exchange programs) are exempt from paying tuition fees at the University of Copenhagen and Lund University, all non-EU students need to pay tuition fees. These will vary depending on your study level and subject, but generally range from €10,000-17,000 (approx. US$10,818-18,391) per year at Copenhagen and €9,500-14,000 (approx. US$10,278-15,1456) per year at Lund.

To help fund your studies, there are a number of scholarship schemes available. For example, the Swedish Institute Study Scholarships (SISS) are awarded to selected students planning to study a master’s degree, starting in the autumn of each application round. There were 329 of these scholarships awarded for the 2020 round, and they cover both tuition fees and living costs. Priority is given to students choosing programs with an emphasis on gender equality, sustainable development, democracy, human rights or poverty reduction. 

At Lund University, the available scholarships include the Lund University Global Scholarship, which is a selective, merit-based grant awarded to bachelor’s and master’s students outside the EU/EEA. It awards up to 100% of your tuition fee amount and gave over €1.4 million (approx. US$1.7 million) in grants per year. More scholarships offered by Lund University can be found here

In Denmark, there are government scholarships available to students from Brazil, China, Egypt, Japan, South Korea and Russia – these are only available to master’s and PhD level students and include free tuition and a monthly stipend. At the University of Copenhagen itself, some faculties offer scholarships for non-EU students. For example, the Faculty of Science offers a limited number of scholarships to outstanding non-EU/EEA masters students, which all students with a GPA of 80% or above in their bachelor’s degree are considered for. 

What the students say…

Morgwyn: “Do it! Apply now. Studying at the University of Copenhagen has been such an amazing experience. My entire perspective has changed, and I have learnt so much since being here.”

Rachelle: “My advice would be to not hesitate. Lund University has been around for almost 350 years, so they obviously must be doing something right! I've seen this for myself now during my bachelor’s degree and can say I am so incredibly pleased with my education, the country of Sweden, the student life and the beautiful city of Lund.”

This article was originally published in July 2013. It was most recently updated in May 2020.

Suditi L, Rachael M & 21 others saved this
Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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