Studying at CBS

The structure of the programmes

All CBS’ bachelor programmes are of a three-year duration. They consist of:

  • mandatory courses
  • electives
  • a final bachelor project

A mandatory academic internship in a company is also part of the programmes HA(kom.) and BSc in International Shipping and Trade.

Semester structure
In most programmes, the academic year is divided into semesters. A year has two semesters, a spring and an autumn semester:

  • The autumn semester runs from the beginning of September until the end of November with exams in December and January.
  • The spring semester runs from the beginning of February until April with exams in May and June.

Usually, each semester includes four courses which all are completed with an exam, so you will have four exams at the end of the semester.

Quarter structure
In five programmes, the academic year is divided into quarters;

  • BSc in International Business
  • BSc in Business Administration and Service Management
  • BSc in International Shipping and Trade
  • HA (jur.)

One year consists of four quarters, and they have a duration of approximately seven weeks. Each quarter is completed with exams, and exams therefore take place four times a year in October, December/January, April and May/June, respectively.

Usually, a quarter includes two courses each completed with an exam, so you have two exams at the end of the quarter.

Options during the programme

On your fifth semester, which is the first part of your third year, you must take electives (except in the BSc in International Shipping and Trade where the electives are taken earlier).

Electives are courses you can choose yourself. It can be courses which elaborate on one or more of the topics you have already covered. You can also choose courses which introduce new topics within the academic field of your programme. Students often choose courses which best prepare them for the master programme they want to take.

You can choose to take your electives:
  • at CBS
  • at other Danish universities
  • on exchange at a foreign university

Electives at CBS
CBS offers a large number of electives within a wide range of topics in economics, business administration and other related disciplines. You can have a look at the current selection of electives here.

A lot of students choose to study abroad, and they usually do so through one of CBS’ many international collaboration agreements. When you go on exchange through CBS, you do not have to pay tuition fee at the foreign university (with a few exceptions).

Some of CBS’ programmes have mandatory exchange stays during which you are expected to study in certain countries/areas:

  • BSc in Business, Language and Culture
  • BSc in Business, Asian Languages and Culture – International Business in Asia
  • BSc in International Shipping and Trade
  • HA i europæisk business

Read more under the individual programmes.

Academic internship
In some programmes, you can substitute one or two of your electives with a so-called academic internship. An academic internship consists of a working period in a company which is completed with a project report and an exam.

Bachelor project
The third year is finalised with a large bachelor project. The project is written in groups, and the students choose the topic they want to write about. This allows the students to focus on a topic of special interest to them. Some programmes also include smaller projects after first and/or second year.

Teaching and working methods

Time consumption
All CBS’ bachelor programmes are full-time programmes which means that you should expect spending approximately 37 hours on average on your studies each week. The workload will vary during the semester/quarter and the year. The time leading up to assignment submissions and exams can be hectic, and you can easily work more than 40 hours a week in this period.

Hours of teaching
You will experience many different forms of teaching at CBS. The three most common are:
  • Lectures: usually, a lecturer will review the readings from syllabus and put them into perspective in front of the whole class. Most students take a lot of notes during the lectures.
  • Exercises: are often scheduled in continuation of lectures with smaller groups of approximately 30-40 students. You often do some exercises based on what has been reviewed during the lecture. Exercise lessons are especially used when you have to work with mathematics and financial calculations.
  • Class teaching and workshops: are lessons in smaller groups of approximately 30-40 students with a lot of dialogue between the lecturer and the students.

There are approximately 12-18 teaching hours a week scheduled in the daytime Monday through Friday.

The remaining time is spent on individual preparation, voluntary and mandatory group work, papers (often written with a fellow student) and exams.

Individual preparation
As the expression goes; you read pages in primary school, you read chapters in high school, and you read books at the university. A lot must be read, and you should expect spending hours on preparing for each teaching activity. The individual preparation is mostly about reading articles and books in addition to taking notes.

Group work
All programmes include assignments and preparation to varying degrees which should be done in groups – in connection with teaching activities and exams. Many students also choose to form study groups where they meet and discuss the syllabus, write assignments and together prepare for the teaching activities or the exam.  

In many bachelor programmes, the work is interdisciplinary. This means that you can work with many different academic disciplines in one course or work with topics which cut across several courses. It will often be in connection with cases where you work with fictive or real problems found in the business community.

Exam and type of exam

At CBS, each course is completed with an exam. In some programmes, there might also be minor exams during the course.

You are only assessed at the exam. Your grade is neither affected by attendance nor how active you are during class.

The exam assessment is usually based on the 7-point grading scale. Some exams are however assessed on a pass/fail basis. The final grade is definite, which means that your fellow students’ exam efforts do not have any implications for your grade. The assessment of your performance is solely based on how well you meet the academic requirements specified for the relevant exam.

Types of examinations
You can experience many different types of examinations which also vary from programme to programme.
Written exams can be:
  • Projects: where you work with a theoretical problem statement or a case based on practice - either individually or in groups
  • Shorter written exams: where you are given an assignment you have to answer within a limited time period e.g. 24, 48 or 72 hour exam assignments.
  • Sit-in exams: where you meet up at CBS and do a written exam typically in 4 hours - with or without exam aids.

Oral exams can be:

  • A presentation of a given topic
  • A syllabus exam where you will draw a question or topic
  • Oral defence of a written paper


From pupil to student: A new reality

There are many things to get used to when you start studying at the university. You will meet a lot of new people. You need to familiarise yourself with a new place and new systems, rules, procedures. The syllabus is significantly larger than the one you had in high school, and you need to learn new ways to work with the courses and your own learning. In the beginning, everything can seem chaotic - not just for you, but for all your fellow students.

As a university student you have a significant co-responsibility for your own education. What and how much you learn depend especially on your own efforts. However, there is no need to worry because you are not expected to master everything from day one - but it is expected that you are conscious about the new challenges and make an effort to handle them.

If you want to start your studies in the best possible way, it can be important to consider - and work with - the following points:

Find your own way
  • New study techniques: Perhaps your study techniques in high school were efficient. But be cautious about continuing in the old groove when you start studying at the university. Different academic requirements apply, the syllabus is more comprehensive, and memorising is less important. You do not have time to read everything several times and thoroughly - and you cannot postpone reading until the period before the exam either. In particular, you need to get used to new requirements and work methods when it comes to written assignments. We clearly recommend that you become familiar with the university way of writing.
  • Find your own study techniques: It is very individual which study techniques work the best - and you will often also need to find different techniques for different courses. This applies to planning, reading, attendance, note-taking, group work and exam preparation. You can get inspiration from other students, but be open to the possibility that what works for them might not necessarily work for you.
  • Try different things: Be serious about experimenting with different techniques. It takes time to find the technique which works best for you - but it gradually makes studying easier.
  • Measure yourself: Do not benchmark yourself against your fellow students. Benchmark your results against yourself. How have you developed? What have you learned? What have you become better at?

Focus on your learning

  • Get an overview of the semester: Know your semester, know your courses and make a plan. Start your studies by familiarising yourself with what should happen and when - and what will be expected of you in the different courses. Then you can formulate a proper work plan for the semester instead of just jumping from one day to the next.
  • Find coherence between courses: You might have been used to focus on the courses separately in high school. At the university, you also need to consider how the courses fit together in order to accumulate coherent knowledge to be used in practice.
  • Focus on learning: In high school, you might have focused on doing what would generate the highest grades. The grades are significantly less important at a university. Instead, the focus is on learning and developing. And if you concentrate on learning, the good grades will gradually follow.
  • Make mistakes: You are going to make plenty of mistakes - it cannot be avoided when you have to learn new topics and working methods. And it is completely okay because you learn from your mistakes. You will do yourself a favour by focusing on what you can learn instead of punishing yourself for not having performed perfectly.
  • Be curious: The best way to learn is to be open and curious. Instead of merely thinking about everything you need to know for the exam, consider what you find interesting in your studies and the courses, what will be fun to know more about, and how to apply your knowledge.

Use all the good people you surround yourself with

  • Use your fellow students: The other people in your programme are your fellow students - not your opponents. You are not competitors but class mates on the same academic journey. The more you help and support each other the better the outcome for all of you.
  • Get better by helping others: If you are less confident in a course, it is of course a great support when other students want to help you with it. However, it is also a fact that you become (even) better by helping your fellow students in a course where you have everything under control.
  • Learn from your fellow students: Learn through dialogue with others – and do not be afraid of showing uncertainty and doubt. See your fellow students as people you can learn from - rather than someone you need to aspire to or be like. Do not be afraid of getting feedback on things you have worked on - it is a way to become better.
  • Use your mentor: CBS has so-called mentor schemes where older students help the new first-year students to better manage their competences and study technique. You can learn a lot from your mentor, so remember to attend the mentor meetings. You can see the mentors' profiles and watch videos under Students by clicking on your programme at

Create balance in your life - and remember to have fun

  • Formulate realistic plans: Plan and prioritise based on what you can actually manage - rather than an unrealistic ideal that only disappoints you when you cannot live up to it.
  • Remember to relax: Please work hard but remember to let the brain, body and mood recover. Time to have fun and recharge the batteries is not luxury. In contrast, it is a prerequisite for a well-functioning life.
  • Find out what is important to you: Consider what really is important for your studies and not least yourself - rather than what you believe you should live up to. You are going to be a student for at least three - and for most people five - years. You have to concentrate on what is important to you if you are to get through the programme with the mood held high and good results.
  • Find balance: Give yourself time to create balance in your student life. Do not accept a comprehensive or demanding student job before you are ready. Likewise, do not throw yourself into a lot of volunteer work before your daily life is well-balanced.


The page was last edited by: Web editor - Student Communications // 01/18/2023