HDCB01142U DCC Søren Kierkegaard and the Challenge of Existence

Volume 2022/2023

Danish Culture Courses


SØREN KIERKEGAARD AND THE CHALLENGE OF EXISTENCE is a course in English for all international students. Students are admitted according to the date they hand in the registration form.

Kierkegaard is the only Danish philosopher of undisputed international rank and legend. However, his ideas are unorthodox to such extent that they are discussed in virtually all subject areas including, for example, art history, political science, psychology, literature or the natural sciences.

Kierkegaard’s works revolve around basic human experiences like aesthetic lust, despair, anxiety, morality, passion, knowledge, absurdity and faith. In particular, Kierkegaard claimed to present a complete summary of the basic possible ways in which we can live our lives. We will analyze and criticize these ways thoroughly in order to find out to what extent they may give us a true point of orientation.

Every lecture presupposes a short reading of not more than five pages and will provide sufficient room for discussion. The course also integrates a City Walk through Kierkegaard’s odd personal life as well as the screening of two of the best, deeply “Kierkegaardian” Danish movies: Breaking the Waves and Adam’s Apples.

The lectures do not presuppose specialized knowledge and will introduce the respective themes without jargon. The short essays can be composed freely and do not have to be “philosophical”. They can be submitted in English or in German. Individual student-counseling of the lecturer will be available.


Name of Exam: HDCB01141E Danish Literature and Philosophy in Context of Danish Culture and Society.

The course is only offered to exchange and fee-paying guest students at the University of Copenhagen.
Lectures and excursions
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 60
  • Excursions
  • 5
  • Exam Preparation
  • 129,5
  • Total
  • 214,5
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
Written take-home assignment with an optional subject following active class participation. 11-15 standard pages.

The active class participation consists of an approved synopsis 2-3 standard pages.

Exam in case of non-approved active class participation consists of a written take-home assignment with an optional subject. 16-20 standard pages.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

For students with an approved synopsis the reexamination consists of a free written take-home assignment of 11-15 pages.


For students without an approved synopsis the reexamination consists of a free written take-home assignment of 16-20 pages.