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Strategy: The Music Academy's Position and Status

The following excerpt is from a report made by Kjetil Solvik in February 2024. The key figures were collected as one of the foundations for the work on the new strategy from 2025 to illustrate NMH's status and position.

Main page for the 2024 strategy process

More information on strategic work can be found on the website. Keep up - and get involved!

The strategy process at NMH ( (Norwegian)

The information is presented without further assessments, for the most part, but with short explanatory additions. The figures are mainly sourced from the Database for Statistics on Higher Education, the annual Status Report for Higher Education issued by the Directorate for Higher Education and Competence, and some international rankings. The information in the report is sorted by three axes, forming one of the foundations for further work on NMH's new strategy from 2025.

  • NMH as an educational institution in the national perspective
  • NMH as a music education institution from the national perspective
  • NMH as a music education institution from the international perspective

How does the Ministry of Education see NMH?

The Ministry of Education has a yearly governing dialogue with NMH and all other state educational institutions. The basis for the dialogue includes figures from the Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH), with overviews of "governing indicators". The department uses indicators in the management of the university and college sectors. For NMH, indicators and figures from the last 10 years are stated in the main report from Solvik (see link). DBH contains comparative figures and the average for NMH and other institutions in the sector.

The governing indicators include, among other things, the proportion of students on master's education or PhD who complete within the normative time, how students perceive the quality of education at the institution, outgoing exchange students on Erasmus+, the employees' academic time use, and much more.

The feedback from the department to NMH in 2023 was that NMH

"delivers good results, especially in educational quality and student satisfaction, reflected in excellent throughput on both bachelor and master studies. The department sees that the school is still among the most satisfied students despite NMH's education portfolio being particularly affected by the restrictions during the pandemic.

In 2022, NMH received feedback to further work on strengthening research activity and increasing external funding. We see that the school has considerably increased the proportion of EU funds per academic employee and increased contributions from the Research Council of Norway per academic staff. NMH has worked well with the various points in the development agreement from 2019 to 2022 and provides a well-structured final report on the deal in the annual report 2022."

The Norwegian Academy of Music delivers good results, especially in educational quality and student satisfaction.

The Ministry of Education in the governing dialogue in 2023

How does the National Agency for Quality in Education see NMH?

The National Agency for Quality in Education (NOKUT) supervises higher education in Norway. For NMH's part, NOKUT's supervision exclusively covers supervision of the work with educational quality, carried out every few years. NOKUT also has a standard set of indicators, and in Solvik's report from February 2024, comparable figures from 2022 and 2023 with other institutions are set up in tables (see link above).

NMH voluntarily participated in the first evaluation round when such supervision was introduced in 2004. The school also volunteered in the initial assessment round after the new criteria and methodology were introduced in 2017/18, and this was also the last evaluation round for NMH.

Awards and Competitions

NMH has made its mark in competitions for the educational quality award and the scheme with the Centre for Excellence in Education (SFU):

  • NMH received 2nd prize in educational quality for its interdisciplinary teaching arrangement in chamber music in 2007.
  • NMH's application for SFU was ranked first out of 24 applications from various institutions at the time. This resulted in establishing the Centre of Excellence in Music Performance Education (CEMPE) in 2014–2023.

Both schemes were transferred from NOKUT to the Directorate for Higher Education and Competence. The SFU scheme will be discontinued in 2024.

Thank you for the strategic kick-off

The joint day on 4 January marked the beginning of the work to develop a new strategy for the Music University. It will replace "In Cooperation", which runs until 2025.

Thank you for the strategic kick-off

NMH's role in the national (music) education picture 1993–2023

In 1993, NMH was one of seven state-independent music education institutions, and by far the largest. The Music Academy was almost as large as the other six combined.

30 years later, NMH is the only remaining state-independent music education institution. In the report from Solvik (see link), there are several such comparisons regarding NMH's status today compared to 1993.

Other institutions and NMH's student numbers of the total in Norway

The development of music education institutions was noticeable in that the privately operated Barratt Due (BDM) was the only music education institution in addition to NMH in 1993. Today, performing/creative music education is offered at seven state institutions (UiT, NTNU, UiB, UiS, UiA, KHiO, and USN) as well as at five private institutions (BDM, HK, AH, NLA-Høyskolen, and LIMPI).

For the art field, the other state music education institutions have become university educations affiliated with the universities, and we have art colleges in Oslo and Bergen.

NMH student targets, including the Østlandet Conservatory of Music, accounted for 3.0% of all educational institutions 30 years ago. Today, NMH has 2.9% of the student population at all educational institutions in the country.

General features in the sector

Private institutions accounted for 8% of the total student population in Norway in 1993, while it had doubled to 16% in 2023. There were 127 state educational institutions and 17 private institutions in 1993. After the college reform in 1994 and the structure reform in 2015, there are now 21 state educational institutions and 15 private institutions. These and several other general developmental trends described in the report show that the institutional landscape has changed quite dramatically in Norway from a thirty-year perspective.

It is challenging to calculate figures earlier than 2003. To get a reasonably correct and comparable picture of the development from 2003 to 2023, the report looks at the student target figures for performing and creative music education. Adjacent subject areas such as music therapy and master's education in music pedagogy at NMH are included. It isn't easy to make more precise delimitations, and several other educations, such as music pedagogical education with a particular element of performance at certain other institutions, could have been included but are omitted here.

As the overview shows, NMH had 38% of music students in 2003, but it had dropped to 29% in 2023. Student numbers in 2003 figures in parentheses, followed by the figure for 2023:

  • NMH: (500) 745
  • UiB – Grieg Academy (incl. Sandane): (165) 260
  • NTNU – Department of Music: (170) 220
  • UiT – Conservatory of Music: (115) 90
  • UiS: (105) 183
  • UiA: (165) 350
  • KHiO – opera school: (10) 20
  • USN – folk music: (25) 35
  • BDM: (70) 50
  • Høyskolen Kristiania: (0) 375
  • NLA Høyskolen (formerly Staffeldtsgate): (0) 135
  • Ansgar college: (0) 70
  • LIMPI: (0) 48

Student numbers added together: (1325) 2581. NMH's share of the student number in 2003 versus 2023: (38%) 29%.

The report (see link above) continues to show the development in academic profile; the genre shifts towards a larger number of students in so-called "rhythmic genres", the growth at the master's level, and the development of entirely new education offerings within higher music education.

NMH had 38% of music students in 2003, while it had dropped to 29% in 2023.

Report on NMH's position and status February 2024, Kjetil Solvik at NMH

NMH in an international music education perspective

No reliable statistical information can say how NMH appears as a music education institution internationally. The data that exist come from somewhat scattered information sources.

QS World University Rankings (QS)

QS – "Quacquarelli Symonds Limited" - is an analysis and service provider company based in London that operates worldwide. Several international rankings are primarily relevant for large comprehensive universities, but QS also ranks areas such as "Performing Arts". Here, NMH has developed very well in recent years (

  • 2020: 29th place
  • 2021: 8th place
  • 2022: 8th place
  • 2023: 9th place.

Of the eight institutions ranked above NMH in 2023, two are American (Juilliard and Curtis), while six are European (four British, Paris and Vienna). NMH has cooperation agreements with all six European, and two of these are again part of the IN.TUNE cooperation (

In total, four of the eight IN.TUNE institutions are represented in the QS ranking like this in 2023:

  • 2nd place: Paris
  • 4th place: Vienna
  • 9th place: Oslo
  • 25th place: Helsinki

Other Nordic institutions in the QS ranking:

  • 14th place: The Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen
  • 16th place: Royal College of Music, Stockholm
  • 25th place: University of the Arts Helsinki
  • 51-100th place: The Jutland Conservatory of Music, Aarhus and Aalborg
  • 101-120th place: Oslo School of Art

International Benchmarking Group (IBG)

NMH has been part of the International Benchmarking Group for many years and has collected and shared statistical information. Only a little of this information is suitable for immediate comparisons, and the data quality could be much higher. The IBG figures on the proportion of international students are included here. Because not all institutions have reported annually, the statistics come from different years:

  • Haute Ecole de Musique de Genève: Approx. 80%
  • Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Singapore: Approx. 70%
  • Royal Conservatory, The Hague: Approx. 66%
  • Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz: Approx. 53%
  • New England Conservatory, Boston: Approx. 41%
  • Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester: Approx. 33%
  • Schulich School of Music, Montreal: Approx. 25%
  • NMH: Approx. 24%
  • Sydney Conservatory: Approx. 9%
  • Mahidol College of Music, Bangkok: Approx. 7%

Other considerations about grants, student payment and more

The report goes on to describe the distribution of total revenues between state grants, student payments and other income at the IBG institutions, which institutions claim to have their own pre-college/talent development offer, and which IBG institutions claim to have their own office for conveying paid student assignments for external clients.

Official Norwegian statistics on internationalization, exchange and NMH

International students at NMH

There are relatively few indicators in Norwegian education statistics on international relations. What is included in the official statistics is the number of international students and exchange in exchange agreements - incoming and outgoing. The number of international students at NMH has increased significantly over the last 20 years, today over 28%. Measured in this way, NMH is one of the most international Norwegian educational institutions. The average figure for all Norwegian universities and colleges is 8.0%.

International students at other educational institutions in Norway

The state institutions that have the highest proportion (above average) of international students are:

  • Oslo School of Art: 32.0% • Norwegian Academy of Music: 28.2%
  • Sami University: 23.1%
  • Norwegian School of Economics: 14.6%
  • University of Oslo: 14.0%
  • Oslo School of Architecture and Design: 13.6%
  • University of Stavanger: 11.5%
  • University of Bergen: 10.9%
  • Norwegian School of Sport Sciences: 10.5%
  • NTNU: 9.4%
  • University of Tromsø: 8.1%


The difference between exchange within ERASMUS+ and total exchange is distinguished when it comes to exchange. The report contains tables of the percentage of students on exchange each year for NMH, compared with the average for the state institutions. There are also statistics for the percentage of graduated candidates who have completed exchange stays abroad for at least three months.

NMH has slightly better exchange figures for most years than the average Norwegian institution. However, music education is peculiar because many students carry out a "long exchange" by completing the bachelor's degree in one country and the master's degree in another. This applies to Norwegian and international students; for example, many Norwegian students are found with a foreign bachelor's degree and a Norwegian master's degree, or vice versa. It also happens that some music students carry out the first part of a bachelor's degree in one country and the rest in another country. This type of exchange or internationalization needs to be captured in the statistics.

In 2021, a survey was conducted of candidates from two cohorts from the performing bachelor's programs and two cohorts from the performing master's programs. These programs are generally the ones with the highest degree of exchange/internationalization beforehand, so the figures are not representative of NMH as a whole, but the programs comprise more than half of NMH's total student numbers. The review showed that 52% of the NMH candidates in the selection had completed higher music education of at least half a year's extent - including exchange - in a country other than Norway. Suppose we also include those who have completed secondary school in a country other than Norway but all music education at NMH. In that case, the percentage with such international experience increases to 60.5% of the four examined cohorts.

Other moments with internationalization

The report examines internationalization by how NMH relates to Norwegian citizens with an immigrant background.

Other conditions at NMH's position and status

The report shows how NMH can be seen from a national art education perspective, NMH as a research institution, recruitment to NMH's education, and some more key figures from DBH and the annual status reports.

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