Education;Immigration and immigrants

Credits and graduations from higher education2017/2018


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Credits and graduations from higher education
Topic: Education

Responsible division

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

Completed education: An education activity is recognised as completed when the institution the students are attending, awards them a diploma or provides some other evidence that they have met the full requirements for completion.

Completed credit points: When students pass their examinations for a given subject, they are awarded a certain amount of credit points towards their degree. One year full-time study in higher education is equivalent to 60 credit points. A four year undergraduate degree requires 240 credit points for completion.

Educational activity: According to the Norwegian Standard Classification of Education (NUS2000). Courses are grouped by level and field of study.

Field of study: Courses are divided into 8 different broad fields of education.

Type of institution: According to the Standard Industrial Classification of 2007.

Ownership: Classifies educational institutions as public, county/municipal or private.

School County/Municipality: Where the institution is located.

Age: Per 31 December of the school year.

Standard classifications

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 puprposes, the ISCED 2011 is used (International Standard Classification of Education).

Administrative information

Regional level

Figures are presented at national level and by educational institution. Data includes information that makes it possible to provide figures at other regional Levels.

Frequency and timeliness

Figures are published annually in May. From 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.

International reporting

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 Data Inspectorate.

It is possible to order special tables in addition to the tables that are published by contacting Statistics Norway, oppdragutdanning@ssb.no. The price will depend on the size of the order.


Background and purpose

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.

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. Since then, data is individually based, with all educational activities being 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 connection with other types of individually based statistics where necessary (e.g. income, social-welfare).

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

Users and applications

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.

Equal treatment of users

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.

Coherence with other statistics

Data from higher education is combined with data from secondary school after the revision processes are complete. All data on education from higher education and secondary education is included 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 areas. Labour market statistics, health statistics, living conditions statistics and income and wage statistics are examples of other individually based statistics compiled by Statistics Norway.

Legal authority

Statistics Act, sections 2-1, 2-2 and 3-2.

EEA reference

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.



Graduation statistics from higher education include all individuals who have completed a degree 2 years or longer from an educational institution classified by the Standard Industrial Classification as a higher education institution. All ompleted educational activities during the period 1 October to 30 September each year are included.

Credit points statistics include all individuals who are registered as a student per 1 October the previous year, and students registered as producing credit points during the following 12 month period (1 October - 30 September). Norwegian students abroad are not included in the statistics as it is not yet possibe to obtain information about completed credit points abroad.

The staistics includes students and graduations in educational institutions classified by the Standard Industrial Classification as a higher education institution.

Universities: University of Oslo, University of Bergen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, UiT - The Arctic University of Norway, University of Stavanger, University of Agder, Nord University, University of South-Eastern Norway and Oslo Metropolitan University.

Specialised university institutions: Norwegian School of Economics, Norwegian School of Theology, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Norwegian Academy of Music, BI Norwegian Business School, VID Specialised University and Molde University College - Specialised University in Logistics.

University colleges are grouped into: (1) State university colleges, (2) Military university colleges and (3) Other university colleges. Other University Colleges include Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Norwegian Police University College and all private university colleges.

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

As some university colleges were merged in 2016/2017, 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 universities.

Data sources and sampling

Statistics Norway collects data on attained credit points and graduations from Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH) and from the administrative systems of the various higher education institutions not reporting to DBH. Information on completed doctoral degrees/PhD is included.

Surveys are not employed to collect education statistics.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

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

Editing: Editing includes both control and revision. Control and revision is performed on all data received from educational institutions. It encompasses deletion of duplicate records, a control for correct and valid values for each variable and checks for missing information. Several variables are re-coded to comply with control programs run by Statistics Norway and Personal ID-numbers are referenced against Statistics Norway's population database to check for errors.

Estimation: No estimation is performed. The statistics are based on enumeration of students and attained credit points, and of graduates in higher education.

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


To prevent identification of individuals within the statistics, data is not released where there are less than three students within a single cell in a table.

Comparability over time and space

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 revised Norwegian Standard Classification of Education recoded education courses to enable comparison of newer and older data. While education courses are reasonably comparable over time, other variables are not (e.g. coding of institution types). Credit point variables are complete from the academic year 2004/05 onwards.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

Educational statistics comprise data from the administrative systems of the various higher education institutions. Errors in the educational data may occur upon registration at the higher education institution, or during the control and revision processes performed by Statistics Norway. Overestimation of student numbers is common for universities where registration occurs with payment of registration fees rather than enrolment in subjects. An overestimation of student numbers leads to an overestimation of the proportion of students who do not complete any credit points during the academic year. Students themselves can also provide inaccurate information to the registers.

Inaccuracies in graduation statistics may occur when administrative registers wrongly define a student as meeting the requirements for completing a degree. In some cases, this diploma is issued some time after the student actually completed their degree.

Credit points statistics are further limited by inconsistent practices by the institutions in regards to registration of credit points. It appears that for certain courses, some institutions do not register attained credit points at the end of each year, but rather at the end of the final year of the programme. These students are therefore incorrectly registered as completing 0 credit points for the first 2 or 3 years, and then 180 or 240 credit points in their final year.


See general principles for revisions in Statistics Norway.