ISCED Fields of Study

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The International Standard Classification of Education organises education in fields. ISCED refers to fields of education while higher education generally refers to fields of study.

There are in fact 25 fields of study organised in broad groups. Each group carries a number and this coding is used by UNESCO, OECD. the European Union's Eurostat and EU's national statistical agencies.

It is recommended by UNESCO that inter- or multi-disciplinary programmes should be classified according to a majority rule, i.e. in the field of study in which the students spend most of their time. Higher education considers this approach obsolete and most higher education systems now allow programmes to be classified in several of the fields.

Fields of education / study

0 General Programmes
01 Basic programmes
Basic general programmes pre-primary, elementary, primary, secondary, etc.
08 Literacy and numeracy
Simple and functional literacy, numeracy.
09 Personal development
Enhancing personal skills, e.g. behavioural capacities, mental skills, personal organizational capacities, life orientation programmes.
1 Education
14 Teacher training and education science
  • Teacher training for pre-school, kindergarten, elementary school, vocational, practical, non-vocational subject, adult education, teacher trainers and for handicapped children. General and specialized teacher training programmes.
  • Education science: curriculum development in non-vocational and vocational subjects. Educational assessment, testing and measurement, educational research, other education science.
2 Humanities and Arts
21 Arts
  • Fine arts: drawing, painting, sculpture;
  • Performing arts: music, drama, dance, circus;
  • Graphic and audio-visual arts: photography, cinematography, music production, radio and TV production, printing and publishing;
  • Design; Craft skills.
22 Humanities
  • Religion and theology;
  • Foreign languages and cultures: living or “dead” languages and their literature, area studies;
  • Native languages: current or vernacular language and its literature;
  • Other humanities: interpretation and translation, linguistics, comparative literature, history, archaeology, philosophy, ethics.
3 Social sciences, business and law
31 Social and behavioural science
Economics, economic history, political science, sociology, demography, anthropology (except physical anthropology), ethnology, futurology, psychology, geography (except physical geography), peace and conflict studies, human rights.
32 Journalism and information
  • Journalism; library technician and science; technicians in museums and similar repositories;
  • Documentation techniques;
  • Archival sciences.
34 Business and administration
  • Retailing, marketing, sales, public relations, real estate;
  • Finance, banking, insurance, investment analysis;
  • Accounting, auditing, bookkeeping;
  • Management, public administration, institutional administration, personnel administration;
  • Secretarial and office work.
38 Law
Local magistrates, “notaires”, law (general, international, labour, maritime, etc.), jurisprudence, history of law.
4 Science
42 Life sciences
Biology, botany, bacteriology, toxicology, microbiology, zoology, entomology, ornithology, genetics, biochemistry, biophysics, other allied sciences, excluding clinical and veterinary sciences.
44 Physical sciences
Astronomy and space sciences, physics, other allied subjects, chemistry, other allied subjects, geology, geophysics, mineralogy, physical anthropology, physical geography and other geosciences, meteorology and other atmospheric sciences including climatic research, marine science, vulcanology, palaeoecology.
46 Mathematics and statistics
Mathematics, operations research, numerical analysis, actuarial science, statistics and other allied fields.
48 Computing
Computer sciences: system design, computer programming, data processing, networks, operating systems - software development only (hardware development should be classified with the engineering fields).
5 Engineering, manufacturing and construction
52 Engineering and engineering trades
Engineering drawing, mechanics, metal work, electricity, electronics, telecommunications, energy and chemical engineering, vehicle maintenance, surveying.
54 Manufacturing and processing
Food and drink processing, textiles, clothes, footwear, leather, materials (wood, paper, plastic, glass, etc.), mining and extraction.
58 Architecture and building
Architecture and town planning: structural architecture, landscape architecture, community planning, cartography;
Building, construction;
Civil engineering.
6 Agriculture
62 Agriculture, forestry and fishery
Agriculture, crop and livestock production, agronomy, animal husbandry, horticulture and gardening, forestry and forest product techniques, natural parks, wildlife, fisheries, fishery science and technology.
64 Veterinary
Veterinary medicine, veterinary assisting.
7 Health and welfare
72 Health
  • Medicine: anatomy, epidemiology, cytology, physiology, immunology and immunohaematology, pathology, anaesthesiology, paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, internal medicine, surgery, neurology, psychiatry, radiology, ophthalmology;
  • Medical services: public health services, hygiene, pharmacy, pharmacology, therapeutics, rehabilitation, prosthetics, optometry, nutrition;
  • Nursing: basic nursing, midwifery;
  • Dental services: dental assisting, dental hygienist, dental laboratory technician, odontology.
76 Social services
  • Social care: care of the disabled, child care, youth services, gerontological services;
  • Social work: counselling, welfare n.e.c.
8 Services
81 Personal services
Hotel and catering, travel and tourism, sports and leisure, hairdressing, beauty treatment and other personal services: cleaning, laundry, dry-cleaning, cosmetic services, domestic science.
84 Transport services
Seamanship, ship’s officer, nautical science, air crew, air traffic control, railway operations, road motor vehicle operations, postal service.
85 Environmental protection
Environmental conservation, control and protection, air and water pollution control, labour protection and security.
86 Security services
  • Protection of property and persons: police work and related law enforcement, criminology, fire-protection and fire fighting, civil security;
  • Military.
99 Not known or unspecified
(This category is not part of the classification itself but in data collection “99” is needed for “fields of education not known or unspecified”.)


See also

External links