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The study of the development of ideas in their historical, social and cultural context from antiquity to the present day.

About the programme
Quota 1 2019: 8.6 (Standby: 7.7)   |   Quota 2 2019: 8.8 (Indicative)  
: Danish  | Place of study: Aarhus  |  Commencement: Week 35


This programme is only offered in Danish.

On the BA programme in the history of ideas, you learn to approach received truths critically and to immerse yourself in and argue for new theories. You investigate the thoughts and ideas of the Western world, and you work with the history of philosophy and ideas about society, religion, science and art.

Studying on the history of ideas programme

Courses on the history of ideas programme are primarily offered in the form of lectures. You also participate in classroom instruction in smaller groups, which gives you an opportunity to make presentations, participate actively in discussions and work together with your study group. There are not very many classroom hours on the programme, and you are responsible for organising the majority of your time when you are preparing for classes and working with your study group.

A treasure trove of ideas

On the history of ideas programme, you investigate why certain ideas gain prominence at particular times. You study the main outlines of the history of philosophy and the major works, and you learn about the history of ideas about society and social connections. You study a wide variety of ways of conceptualising the soul and the body, discipline and punishment, and management and organisations, among other topics.

Career opportunities

With a BA degree in the history of ideas, you are qualified for admission to a number of different MA programmes,  such as the MA programme in the history of ideas, which is a direct continuation of the BA programme.  As a graduate with a degree in the history of ideas, you can work in education, research or publishing and communication.

Admission requirements

Admission area number: 22260

To be eligible for admission to this degree programme, you must fulfil the following requirements:

 A qualifying examination as well as the following specific admission requirements (A, B and C refers to the subject level in the Danish upper secondary school with A being the highest level possible):

  • Danish A
  • English B
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Contemporary History B
  • An additional language at A level (or B level in case of an advanced language).


If there are any subjects you have not completed at the required level, you can take them as supplementary courses or as a summer supplementary course (conditional Admission).

The admission requirements must be met and documented by 5 July in the year of application unless you apply for conditional admission.

Quota 2

Like quota 1 applicants, quota 2 applicants must have passed a qualifying examination, and they must also fulfil the specific admission requirements above.

Quota 2 applicants are individually evaluated on the basis of:

  1. a grade average calculated on the basis of the particularly relevant subjects (Quota 2 subjects), listed below
  2. other particularly relevant documented qualifications.

Read more about Aarhus University's quota 2 criteria.

Quota 2 subjects:

  • Danish A
  • English B
  • History B or History of Ideas B or Contemporary History B
  • An additional language at A level (or B level in case of an advanced language).

Programme structure

Classes on the history of idea programme focus on western intellectual history in the domains of philosophy, religion, science,social science and aesthetics. You will also study the philosophy of science with an emphasis on different conceptions of history and how they affect how the history of ideas is conceptualised. During your studies, independent projects give you a chance to specialise in the areas you find particularly interesting.

Academic regulations

In the academic regulations, you can read more about the content of the individual course, the structure of the degree programme and the demands the programme places on you as a student. You can also read about the types of exams and the exam requirements.

In the diagram below, you can see how the programme is structured. In the diagram, you can click on the various subjects to read the individual course descriptions.

Student life

Academic life on the history of ideas programme

At lectures, assigned texts are discussed and analysed by your teacher. Classroom lessons give you an opportunity to discuss your reading and present the material to your fellow students. You will also be part of a study group where you discuss your reading and work on projects together. 

Here is an example of a typical week in the first semester of the BA programme in the history of ideas. As you can see, you will be spending much of your time preparing for classes and lectures, and meeting with your study group. This means that the history of ideas is a full-time degree programme even though you may not have to attend lectures and classes every day. As a consequence, you will learn how to structure your time in the course of your studies.

8:00-18:00 Independent study

8:00 - 14:00 Lecture: History of Judeo-Christian Ideas
14:00-18:00 Independent study

8:00 - 11:00 Lecture: History of Philosophical Ideas
11:00-18:00 Independent study

8:00-13:00 Independent study
13:00 - 16:00 Lecture: Studium Generale I

8:00-12:00 Study group
12:00 - 15:00 Classroom instruction: History of Philosophical Ideas
15:00 - 18:00 Friday bar 

Social life on the history of ideas programme

The programme also offers lots of academic and social events. For example, you can participate in: 

iFag - the history of ideas degree programme committee
The committee represents history of ideas students' interests at Aarhus University. As a member, you have a chance to influence your study environment. 

Panta Rei
Panta Rei is Greek for ‘everything flows’. It’s also the name of the Friday bar for philosophy and history of ideas students, where you can end your week with cold drinks and good company. 

The history of ideas students' magazine is called Tingen. You can have your own essays published and get inspired by your fellow students’ interests.  

Studying abroad

 Spending a semester abroad can be a good idea for history of ideas students. Studying in a foreign country improves your language skills fundamentally, and you get a chance to learn about another culture first-hand. During the last year of your BA programme, you can take advantage of one of the many exchange agreements between Aarhus University and partner universities all over the world. Get inspiration, guidance and travel lust here.

Commencement of studies

Your time at Aarhus University will begin with an introductory week in week 35 (the last week of August). During this week, you will get an introduction to IT systems, exam forms and degree programme structure and opportunities as well as meeting your teachers. You can read more about your commencement of studies and the introductory week here. On this page, you will also find tips and good advice for new students at Aarhus University.

Follow the student life at Aarhus University

-experienced, photographed and filmed by the students themselves.

With thousands of pictures #yourniversity gives insight into the everyday life as a student at AU; the parties, procrastination, exams and all the other ways you’ll spend your time at university.


The photos belong to the users, shared with #Yourniversity, #AarhusUni and course-specific AU-hashtags.


Job functions for MA/MSc grads

The diagram shows the kinds of jobs and job functions available to graduates of the corresponding MA/MSc programme, based on the 2016 AU employment survey.

As a history of ideas graduate, your career options depend a lot on what you’ve chosen to focus on during your studies, along with your choice of supplementary subject and Master’s degree programme. 

In the course of your studies, you will explore many different scientific traditions and conceptual developments. This enables you to think comparatively and identify connections across different disciplines. You become skilled at reading difficult theoretical texts, and you develop analytical skills that enable you to distinguish the significant from the insignificant. On the history of ideas programme, you learn not to take received truths as givens, but rather to immerse yourself in new theories and argue in support of them.

History of ideas graduates typically work in education, for example at secondary schools and folk high schools, as project managers, administrators or in communications.

Supplementary subjects

You have many options when choosing supplementary subject during the course of your degree programme. Some examples of supplementary subjects other history of ideas students have chosen include: 

  • Supplementary subject in History
  • Supplementary subject in Sociology 
  • Supplementary subject in Rhetoric

Master’s degree programmes

Most graduates of the Bachelor’s programme in the history of ideas go on to do a Master’s degree. You should be aware that specific supplementary subjects can be a prerequisite for admission to some MA programmes. Here are some examples of the options available to graduates of the BA programme: 

  • The MA programme in the history of ideas, which builds on the foundation of your BA degree. You learn to approach different conceptions of the history of philosophy more critically, and you specialise to a higher degree in the topics that interest you.
  • The Master’s degree programme in international studies, which teaches you to understand the complexities of globalisation through the study of subjects like history and international law.
  • The Master’s degree programme in experience economy, where you learn to understand experiences as commodities and design experiences for users.
  • The Master’s degree programme in media studies, which gives you the tools to analyse media in relation to culture and society.