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World Higher Education Database (WHED)

The World Higher Education Database WHED is the International Association of Universities’ (IAU) unique online reference portal that provides comprehensive and detailed information on higher education systems, credentials and institutions around the world. It provides authoritative information on higher education worldwide. In collaboration with UNESCO, the IAU/UNESCO Information Centre receives and updates information in the WHED on an ongoing basis focusing each year on one specific region.

This Portal offers data on higher education systems and credentials in 196 countries and territories using information made available by the national competent bodies in each country:

  • Description of the pre-higher and higher education system
  • National bodies responsible for higher education and their contact details
  • Type of higher education institutions
  • Admission criteria, including information for foreign students
  • Description of main credentials awarded


The WHED contains information on some 19,000 higher education institutions offering at least a 4-year degree or a 4-year professional diploma. Institutional data comprises:

  • Contact details for every institution
  • Historical background
  • List of academic divisions and study areas
  • Degrees and diplomas offered at each level of study
  • Key personnel, including principal academic and administrative officers

The IAU offers customized data extractions from the WHED database through Palgrave Macmillan. For more information contact centre@iau-aiu.net.

The International Handbook of Universities
The information from the WHED serve as the basis of the annual three-volume International Handbook of Universities (IHU). It is published and sold by Palgrave Macmillan. The next edition is due to be released in e-format and in print-on-demand in September 2019.

Higher Education in ASEAN
On the occasion of the IAU 15th General Conference (Bangkok, November 2016), a booklet entitled Higher Education in ASEAN was published. It showcases the higher education systems and institutions in the 10 ASEAN countries and provides a quick and comparable overview of the higher education landscape in the region.

NGO in official partnership with UNESCO in associate status
International Association of Universities, UNESCO House, 1 rue Miollis, 75732 Paris cedex 15, France
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