Distribution of students in tertiary education by ISCED level


Enrolment in tertiary education at each ISCED 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 in each tertiary ISCED level by the total enrolment in tertiary education, and multiply the result by 100.

Data required

Enrolment in tertiary education by ISCED level.


The relative concentration of students in particular programmes (long/short programmes) or levels is likely to be driven by job opportunities related to those levels. It also reflects capacities and policies for the development of a particular ISCED level.


Caution is required when using this indicator for cross-country comparison and over time, since tertiary education programmes can vary widely in duration, intensity and degree of theoretical and applied content, and their correspondence to ISCED may be subject to change.


To show the distribution of tertiary students by ISCED level. It also helps to understand the way in which degrees and qualification structures for tertiary education are organized within countries.

Quality standards

This indicator requires complete and reliable data on enrolment in tertiary education and consistency in definitions of different levels and programmes according to ISCED. The percentage in all levels of tertiary education must equal 100.

Types of disaggregation

By sex.