Distribution of students in tertiary education by field of education


Enrolment in each field of education at the tertiary level, expressed as a percentage of total enrolment in tertiary education.

Data source

Censuses, surveys or records of tertiary educational institutions and programmes.

Source definition

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Calculation method

Divide the number of students enrolled in each field of education by total enrolment in tertiary education and multiply the result by 100.

Data required

Enrolment in tertiary education by field of education.


Relative concentration of students in particular fields of education depicts on the one hand high preference and capacity, and on the other hand may reflect job opportunities as well as relative earnings across different occupations and industries.


Cross-country comparisons rely heavily on how far countries have used consistent field definitions. Detailed or aggregated information may not be fully comparable at the international level due to exclusions, double counting of students, partial data, etc. Also, differences in duration, intensity and degree of theoretical and applied content, together with inappropriate correspondence with ISCED, can bias comparisons between countries.


To gauge the level of development of tertiary education in terms of the range of fields offered, the capacity in each field as well as student preferences, thus reflecting both the potential demand and supply of qualified human resources in different specializations.

Quality standards

This indicator requires complete and reliable data on enrolment by fields of education at the tertiary level and clear distinction between different educational fields. The sum of percentages for all fields of tertiary education should equal 100.

Types of disaggregation

By sex and ISCED levels of tertiary education.