Students in higher education

Updated: 31 March 2022

Next update: Not yet determined

Proportion of 19-24 year-olds enrolled in higher education
Proportion of 19-24 year-olds enrolled in higher education
2021
38.4
%
Students in higher education in Norway and abroad
Students in higher education in Norway and abroad
201120202021
Students
Total250 456306 367318 105
Males100 161122 485126 784
Females150 295183 882191 321
Student proportion among 19-24 year olds
Total31.637.838.4
Males25.429.930.2
Females38.246.447.2
Student proportion among 25-29 year olds
Total15.016.717.0
Males13.314.614.6
Females16.918.919.5
Explanation of symbols

Selected tables and figures from this statistics

Resident students in Norway by immigration category
Resident students in Norway by immigration category
2021
TotalImmigrantsNorwegian-born to immigrant parentsOther population
MalesFemalesMalesFemalesMalesFemalesMalesFemales
Total, 19-34 years100 465142 14110 30414 3125 9697 52884 192120 301
19 years5 0518 7605487756419263 8627 059
20 years8 95815 3377891 1637841 1067 38513 068
21 years12 59819 0158871 4059341 23510 77716 375
22 years12 54617 9438481 27975596510 94315 699
23 years12 14115 9569201 13667976810 54214 052
24 years10 38713 2668711 1045116339 00511 529
25 years8 49610 4627961 0264304637 2708 973
26 years6 3657 8036628343313625 3726 607
27 years4 9436 2605937412592784 0915 241
28 years4 0655 3486007741692133 2964 361
29 years3 4904 5895577371411582 7923 694
30-34 years11 42517 4022 2333 3383354218 85713 643
Proportion registered in higher education
Total, 19-34 years17.125.59.914.327.737.418.227.5
19 years15.828.715.924.331.747.314.627.8
20 years27.249.520.636.940.763.327.250.2
21 years36.459.121.141.449.668.137.860.8
22 years36.055.719.136.343.660.238.258.0
23 years35.249.420.028.843.454.537.252.2
24 years29.140.018.226.135.245.130.641.8
25 years23.130.315.320.629.333.624.231.8
26 years17.222.511.415.722.427.218.123.6
27 years13.317.89.712.418.822.913.818.7
28 years10.814.98.711.513.718.511.215.5
29 years9.012.57.49.712.115.29.313.2
30-34 years5.89.24.87.07.910.46.110.0
Explanation of symbols
Students by educational institution
Students by educational institution
Students
2021
Both sexesMalesFemales
Educational institutions, total318 105126 784191 321
Nord university11 4674 0987 369
Norwegian University of Life Sciences6 5732 5574 016
Norwegian University of Science and Technology43 69321 09022 603
Oslo Metropolitan University21 7906 79015 000
UiT - The Arctic University of Norway16 9916 98510 006
University of Agder14 0415 8018 240
University of Bergen20 1248 05512 069
University of Oslo26 05910 22915 830
University of Stavanger12 6395 3197 320
University of South-Eastern Norway17 9666 94811 018
The Oslo School of Architecture and Design808332476
BI Norwegian Business School21 47510 90810 567
Molde University College - Specialised University of Logistics3 3711 4791 892
Oslo National Academy of the Arts610196414
MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society1 183476707
Norwegian School of Economics3 9752 3391 636
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences1 199620579
Norwegian Academy of Music820412408
VID Specialised University5 5108374 673
Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences15 5285 07310 455
Østfold University College6 9042 3814 523
Volda University College4 3101 3542 956
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences17 1246 15610 968
Sámi University of Applied Sciences18634152
Oslo New University College2 2955101 785
Queen Maud University College1 4872251 262
Kristiania University College15 5755 56110 014
NLA University College2 7729841 788
Norwegian Police University College2 7851 3981 387
Military University Colleges1 059835224
Other University Colleges4 5661 7682 798
Abroad13 2205 0348 186
Explanation of symbols
Field of education for students in Norway and abroad
Field of education for students in Norway and abroad
NumbersPer centPer cent
TotalMalesFemales
201120202021201120202021201120202021
Fields of Education
Students in Norway235 840292 834304 88540.040.039.960.060.060.1
General programmes1 1 85169473380.375.574.819.724.525.2
Humanities and arts27 45628 56928 88737.639.739.662.960.360.4
Education33 78749 27550 86724.227.627.475.772.472.6
Social sciences and law31 29637 98338 77437.934.734.962.865.365.1
Business and administration44 23057 87261 26546.146.746.353.753.353.7
Natural sciences, vocational and technical subjects39 40350 75753 54068.665.365.531.934.734.5
Health, welfare and sport50 24057 37858 89121.122.320.977.477.779.1
Primary industries1 2321 6561 92155.042.142.746.457.957.3
Transport and communications, safety and security and other services4 7657 0018 17367.464.162.533.535.937.5
Unspecified field of study1 5801 6491 83440.137.739.059.962.361.0
Norwegian students abroad2 14 61613 53313 22039.638.738.160.461.361.9
General programmes1 000......
Humanities and arts2 0981 6061 51630.333.132.569.766.967.5
Education192889137.021.620.963.078.479.1
Social sciences and law2 8382 6622 62630.025.024.870.075.075.2
Business and administration3 0212 6052 58749.454.554.550.645.545.5
Natural sciences, vocational and technical subjects1 4981 9691 86053.253.152.246.846.947.8
Health, welfare and sport4 7454 5174 45139.133.933.160.966.166.9
Primary industries45494215.612.223.884.487.876.2
Transport and communications, safety and security and other services17918143.672.20.056.427.8100.0
Unspecified field of study01946.21.18.7.78.991.3
1Includes preparatory courses for university or university college education. Includes not preparatory course for engineering education as of 2014.
2Students who take a whole degree abroad.
Explanation of symbols
Country of study for students abroad
Country of study for students abroad1
TotalMalesFemales
201120202021201120202021201120202021
Countries of destination
Total14 61613 53313 2205 7855 2375 0348 8318 2968 186
Denmark2 6062 1661 9708617666651 7451 4001 305
Sweden696460436264167164432293272
France231187197808493151103104
Ireland1065863242215823648
Italy65109122194537466485
Netherlands365632706182271313183361393
Poland1 4571 5481 533639566542818982991
Spain1053814173812913467252283
United Kingdom4 0103 5093 2021 4501 2781 1232 5602 2312 079
Switzerland486669223440263229
Germany18428030876128145108152163
Hungary776718717273198189503520528
Czech Republic2842001831538576131115107
Slovak Republic343500503154178173189322330
Rest of Europe314643672139290305175353367
Africa62141228763476
Asia13519721479828456115130
Canada134106121724956625765
USA1 3471 3261 509666712799681614710
Rest of North- and Central America722211511
South America1510115531058
Australia1 25839123253313166725260166
Rest of Oceania5930212595342116
Unknown900100800
1Students who take a whole degree abroad.
Explanation of symbols
Students in selected programmes by immigration category
Students in selected programmes by immigration category
2021
NumbersPer cent
TotalImmigrantsNorwegian-born to immigrant parentsOther population
Men
3 year degree, bachelor55 92612.46.281.4
Of which
Pre-school-/kindergarten teacher education1 45615.26.478.4
Specific subject and vocational teacher, foundation programme6886.43.290.4
Engineering, foundation programme8 79715.76.377.9
Nursing, foundation programme2 25325.73.371.1
Business and Administration subjects15 65310.06.983.0
4 year degree, bachelor4124.41.294.4
Of which
General-/Primary and lower secondary teacher education806.30.093.8
5 year degree, master33 34110.14.285.7
Of which
Master of Law1 7192.95.391.9
Master of Pharmacy14243.718.338.0
Master of Odontology19727.914.757.4
Master of Science in Business and Economics1 5567.25.887.0
Master of Technology, Graduate engineering degree8 4699.85.085.2
Master degree, primary and lower secondary teacher education3 6253.34.192.6
Master degree, teacher training2 2234.64.391.0
6 year degree1 9489.45.984.8
Of which
Cand.med. (Medicine)1 26312.07.680.4
Cand.theol.1082.82.894.4
Cand.psychol.5204.42.992.7
Cand.med.vet. (Veterinary Science)5710.50.089.5
Women
3 year degree, bachelor76 32912.95.281.9
Of which
Pre-school-/kindergarten teacher education7 01414.74.680.7
Specific subject and vocational teacher, foundation programme7179.63.586.9
Engineering, foundation programme2 21217.37.075.7
Nursing, foundation programme13 43512.83.383.9
Business and Administration subjects14 52712.45.582.2
4 year degree, bachelor3846.81.691.7
Of which
General-/Primary and lower secondary teacher education1362.21.596.3
5 year degree, master46 85210.33.786.0
Of which
Master of Law3 4865.55.589.0
Master of Pharmacy41136.022.941.1
Master of Odontology57421.114.664.3
Master of Science in Business and Economics1 03210.65.184.3
Master of Technology, Graduate engineering degree4 1949.25.185.8
Master degree, primary and lower secondary teacher education8 3723.83.293.0
Master degree, teacher training3 1905.15.189.8
6 year degree5 2077.75.886.5
Of which
Cand.med. (Medicine)3 0648.67.683.8
Cand.theol.10111.92.086.1
Cand.psychol.1 6746.33.889.9
Cand.med.vet. (Veterinary Science)3686.00.893.2
Explanation of symbols
Parents’ level of education for resident students in Norway
Parents’ level of education for resident students in Norway
200620162021
All residentsPropotion which was registered in higher educationAll residentsPropotion which was registered in higher educationAll residentsPropotion which was registered in higher education
19-24 years
Males170 79324.6211 07128.1204 39330.2
Mother or father has long higher education16 87453.224 37154.730 39254.1
Mother or father has short higher education44 72236.966 45638.071 43037.2
Mother or father has upper secondary education79 72417.285 32220.073 40320.5
Mother or father has primary and lower secondary education21 2429.119 45812.816 89115.7
Not stated8 23110.915 4647.412 2778.2
Females164 07736.8197 04442.6191 30747.2
Mother or father has long higher education15 70664.122 93864.528 51865.4
Mother or father has short higher education42 69651.162 61553.968 30655.5
Mother or father has upper secondary education75 23731.479 88237.069 38540.0
Mother or father has primary and lower secondary education20 02816.918 35123.115 92129.1
Not stated10 41014.113 25812.79 17714.4
25-29 years
Males143 76914.1186 60014.0187 25214.6
Mother or father has long higher education12 23232.516 52431.119 71429.0
Mother or father has short higher education31 81522.047 06321.254 33120.1
Mother or father has upper secondary education69 59510.371 92110.771 80210.4
Mother or father has primary and lower secondary education16 7446.018 3236.816 3878.1
Not stated13 3838.132 7696.225 0187.5
Females142 23817.4180 33217.8176 92719.5
Mother or father has long higher education11 59533.615 62532.518 56931.4
Mother or father has short higher education30 13626.044 61025.451 18425.3
Mother or father has upper secondary education66 47414.468 09315.966 95216.9
Mother or father has primary and lower secondary education16 1129.317 25811.415 33213.3
Not stated17 92110.734 7468.424 8909.3
Explanation of symbols

About the statistics

The statistics cover all students registered in higher education as of October 1. Persons enrolled in doctoral programs (PhD) are not included. It includes students taking entire study programs abroad, excluding exchange students. Statistics covering new students in higher education is updated in June.

Enrolled students: Students registered at an approved institution for higher education in Norway and students from Norway registered abroad in higher education, excluding exchange students.

Type of school: According to the Standard Industrial Classification of 2007. The schools are classified as Universities, Specialized University Institutions, and University Colleges, where University Colleges are again divided into three main groups: State University Colleges, Military Colleges and “other university colleges.”

Educational activity: According to the Norwegian Standard Classification of Education (NUS2000). Programmes are classified according to their level and field of study.

School county/school municipality: The county/municipality where the institution is located.

County of residence at 16 years: County where the student resided at the age 16.

Highest educational attainment of parents: Parental educational attainment is divided into four categories: (1) Primary and lower secondary education, (2) Upper secondary education, (3) Higher education, short (at least two years, but also 4 years or less), and (4) Higher education, long (more than four years). Parental educational attainment is defined by that of the parents with the highest level of education. For example, if the parental educational attainment of a student is “(3) Higher education, short,” it implies that at least one of the parents has education at this level. Cases where there is no information on the level of education of any of the parents falls into the “Unspecified” group. See also the definitions of educational level.

Immigrants: Persons born abroad of two foreign-born parents and four foreign-born grandparents.

Norwegian-born to immigrant parents: Persons who are born in Norway of two parents born abroad, and in addition have four grandparents born abroad.

Teacher training and pedagogy programmes include: Teacher training programme; Various bachelor’s programmes in pre-school/kindergarten teacher education, specific subject/vocational teacher education and within pedagogy; General teacher/primary and lower secondary teacher programme and specific subject/vocational teacher education; Master’s programmes in teacher training and pedagogy; Postgraduate programmes for teachers.

Age: Estimated as of December 31.

Educational activities are grouped by the Norwegian Standard Classification of Education which was established in 1970 by Statistics Norway and later revised in 1973, 1989 and 2000. Educational institutions are classified as being higher education by the Standard Industrial Classification.

For international purposes, the ISCED 2011 is used (International Standard Classification of Education).

Name: Students in higher education

Topic: Education

Not yet determined

360 Division for Education and Culture Statistics

Figures are presented at national level, at municipal level and by educational institution. Data on enrolment in higher education include information that makes it possible to provide figures at other regional levels.

Figures are published annually in April. As of 2015 data on credit points was merged with data on graduations from universities and colleges. Prior to 2015 data on credit points was published separately.

The data is provided for UNESCO, OECD and Eurostat (U-O-E).

Statistics Norway stores all data in a proper, standardised manner in consultation with the Norwegian Data Protection Authority.

Statistics Norway can deliver supplementary data and tables related to these statistics. To order supplementary data and tables, please contact Statistics Norway: oppdragutdanning@ssb.no. The price will depend on the size of the order.

There is a high demand for the collection of official statistics on education. Official education statistics are individually based and document the educational activities of all Norwegian residents from completion of lower secondary school to completion of all higher education including doctoral/PhD studies.

Norway’s education statistics went through a structural readjustment in the beginning of the 1970’s. All statistics on higher education were previously available through a census. The data is now individually based, where all educational activities are attached to each individual’s personal ID-number. The data is contained in the National Education Database (NUDB), in a format that allows the production of different kinds of education statistics and alignment with other types of individually based statistics where necessary (e.g. income, social-welfare).

The purpose of the statistics is to present individually based statistics of graduates and attained credit points in higher education in Norway.

Important users of the education statistics are the Ministry of Education and Research, public administration, researchers, special interest organisations, international organisations (Eurostat, OECD and UNESCO), media, business and industry. In addition, data is used internally in Statistics Norway in publications and in assignments.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 8:00 AM. Prior to this, a minimum of three months’ advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Data from higher education is combined with data from lower- and upper secondary education when revision processes are complete. Data is then stored as single annual files in the National Education Database (NUDB). Statistics Norway uses a similar system for all individually based statistics, making it easy to combine education statistics with other statistics. Labour market statistics, health statistics, living conditions statistics and income and wage statistics are examples of other individually based statistics compiled by Statistics Norway.

Act of 21 June 2019 No. 32 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway § 10.

Commission Regulation (EU) No 88/2011 of 2 February 2011 implementing Regulation (EC) No 452/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the production and development of statistics on education and lifelong learning, as regards statistics on education and training systems.

The statistics cover all students of educational institutions that are classified as universities, specialised universities or university colleges in the Standard Industrial Classification per 1 October each year.

University Colleges are grouped into: State University Colleges, Military University Colleges and “other university colleges.” State University College is a term derived from the reform of 1994 in colleges in Norway, which resulted in the consolidation of 98 smaller state colleges into 26 larger units.

In recent years, a number of institutions in higher education has been merged into larger units, see changes in educational institutions (in Norwegian).

As some University Colleges were merged in 2016 into larger units, there was a decrease in the number of students in University Colleges, as well as a corresponding increase in the number of students in Universities and in Specialized University Institutions.

There are several criteria for how a student’s educational activity is recorded. Each student can be registered as active in only one educational activity, although he/she may be registered for several educational activities or educational institutions at the same time. If a student is registered for several activities or several institutions at the same time, education at the highest level is maintained above others, educational activity at a Specialised University Institution is chosen over education at other types of school, and full-time activity is chosen over part-time activities. If a student is enrolled in several part-time educational activities, the one with highest level is chosen. Persons in doctoral programmes (PhD) are not included.

Information on students abroad only includes students who take a whole degree abroad, excluding exchange students.

Pursuant to the Statistical Act, Statistics Norway collects student data from Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH) and the administrative systems of various higher education institutions.

Information on students abroad is provided by the State Education Loan Fund.

Surveys are not employed to collect education statistics. All data is obtained from university and college databases.

Data collection: Pursuant to the Statistical Act (June 1989, No.54), Statistics Norway collects student data from Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH), the administrative systems of various higher education institutions, and the State Education Loan Fund.

Editing: Editing includes both control and revision and is performed on all educational data collected. It encompasses deletion of duplicate records, a control for correct and valid values for each variable, comparisons with last year’s data and checks for missing information. Several variables are re-coded to comply with control programs run by Statistics Norway. Personal ID-numbers are referenced against Statistics Norway’s population database to check for errors. At last, duplicate students are deleted, which implies that a student can only be counted once although the student may be registered for several educational activities or educational institutions at the same time.

Estimation: No estimation is performed. The statistics are based data obtained from university and college databases.

Not relevant

Data is not released where there are less than three units within a single cell in a table if there is a risk of identification, i.e. the data can be traced back to an identifiable person.

Individually based data on completed education has been published annually since it was first collected in the academic year 1973/74. Most variables are comparable, but some have changed. The Norwegian Standard Classification of Education (NUS2000) has been revised to secure comparability over time. While educational variables are reasonably comparable over time, other variables, e.g. various institution types, cannot be re-coded and thus not comparable over time.

Statistical investigations may encounter various sources of error. The errors can occur either during data collection (in this case, registration of student information) or during data processing (control and revision processes performed by Statistics Norway).

It is difficult to estimate the extent of error in student registers. A person may be wrongly registered as being a student, especially for individual institutions that use a different enumeration date than Statistics Norway (October 1). There could be an overestimation of enrolled students since student registration occur with payment of registration fees rather than enrolment in courses. In addition, some students could remain as enrolled students in the system even after graduating. There is also the possibility of students reporting inaccurate information about themselves in registration. Personal responsible for reporting student data at institutions could also make errors during data processing.

Information on students abroad is provided by the State Education Loan Fund. However, Norwegian students abroad who are not registered in the State Education Loan Fund’s system are missed out in the statistics.

See general principles for revisions in Statistics Norway.

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