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Subject classification system

The official higher education statistics use two subject classifications which do not differ fundamentally in terms of the structure of the recorded subjects. Both classifications use three levels.

The student and examination statistics use a classification of academic subjects based on the study and examination regulations. This covers 291 academic subjects. Contentually related academic subjects are grouped together into 60 study areas and contentually related study areas into 9 subject groups.

The staff and positions statistics drawn from the official German higher education statistics use a subject area classification that has been derived from the science and research disciplines and not only contains subject elements, but also higher education organisational elements; this classification mainly differs from the academic subject classification in this latter respect only. It covers 659 subject areas which describe the research fields, disciplines and/or scientific or research tasks or which are derived from these. These subject areas are comparable to the academic subjects contained in the student and examination statistics which, in accordance with the demands of higher education study, aggregate subject areas to a much greater extent.

Several related subject areas have been grouped together to form teaching and research areas, and these largely agree in terms of content with the study areas contained in the student and examination statistics. Contentually-related teaching and research areas have been grouped together to form 11 subject groups. These are, apart from the special consideration given to central facilities, identical with the 9 subject groups contained in the student and examination statistics.

The academic subject classification must be used per se for the analysis of the data from the official student and examination statistics. This academic subject classification is also used in "Wissenschaft weltoffen" to prepare and analyse the data on the exchange of academics and researchers which DZHW obtained from the funding organisations. The subject area classification, which is much more differentiated in the subjects it covers, is used here to recode the data which the funding organisations provided on the basis of their highly differing, institution-own subject classifications and to bring these into line with the subject classification of the student and examination statistics, so that they can be grouped and analysed together. And so both subject classifications have been combined.

"Wissenschaft weltoffen" contains analyses both at the level of study fields respectively teaching and research fields as well as subject groups. DZHW has no subject or subject area data from the official sets of student and examination statistics. Analysis requests in this field should be addressed to the Federal Statistical Office.

For analyses contained in "Wissenschaft weltoffen", DZHW used the 9 subject groups from the official higher education statistics and the 60 study areas.

The subject classification systems respectively the subject and subject area classifications can be found in the appendices to the following annually updated series published by the Federal Statistical Office:

  • Bildung und Kultur, Fachserie 11, Reihe 4.1 - Studierende an Hochschulen, annually updated edition on students in higher education
  • Bildung und Kultur, Fachserie 11, Reihe 4.2 - Prüfungen an Hochschulen, annually updated edition on academic degrees
  • Bildung und Kultur, Fachserie 11, Reihe 4.4 - Personal an Hochschulen, annually updated edition on staff in higher education

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