There were 44,031 students at levels above compulsory education in Iceland in the autumn of 2022, a decrease of 2,090 students from the previous year, or 4.5%. There were fewer students both at the upper secondary and tertiary levels of education, in all regions and all age groups between 16 and 29 years old.
There were over 22,100 students at the upper secondary level, a decrease of 1.7% from the previous year. At the post-secondary non-tertiary level there were over 1,500 students. At the tertiary level, not including doctoral students, there were more than 19,600 students, a decrease of 7.9%. On the other hand, there have never been more students at the doctoral level, 734, an increase of 12.7% from the previous year.
There were over 19,800 male students and over 24,200 females. The number of males decreased by over 700 from the previous year (-3.5%) and the number of females by almost 1,400 (-5.4%).
One out of three students at the upper secondary level are enrolled in vocational programmes
More than one out of every three students (34.8%) at the upper secondary level were enrolled in vocational programmes in the autumn of 2022, slightly fewer than in the previous year. The share of students in vocational programmes increased from 2017 to 2021, when it was 35.2%. At the start of this century the proportion of students in vocational education was higher, the highest in 2003 when 38.5% of students at the upper secondary level took part in vocational programmes.
The proportion of students in vocational programmes in the autumn of 2022 was considerably higher among males (43.4%) than among females (25.0%).
One out of five students at the tertiary level are studying sciences or engineering
The number of students at the tertiary level was by far the greatest in the field of social sciences, business and law in the autumn of 2022, or more than 6,400 students. The second highest number of students was found in the field of health and welfare, over 3,700.
In many countries there is an emphasis on the increase in the number of students in the so-called STEM fields of study, that is in sciences, mathematics and computing as well as engineering, manufacturing and construction. The number of students in these fields in Iceland has slowly been increasing and in 2022 19.6% of students at the tertiary level studied in the STEM fields, almost 4,000 students.
Women were almost 66% of students at the tertiary level in 2022. They were more numerous than males in all fields of education except in the STEM fields. The proportion of females was greatest in the field of health and welfare, where they were almost 87% of all students.
About the data
Information is gathered directly from the schools as well as from the computer programme INNA used by schools at the upper secondary level and refers to the number of students in the middle of October each year.