Higher Education Types In Indonesia

higher education in indonesia

Hello, everyone!
Halo, semuanya!

How have you been? We hope you’re doing great!

Speaking of higher education, it’s going to be a complicated discussion, since we need to decide what major we’re interested in, the career prospect, the level, obviously it needs a long time self-exploration journey.

For the readers who have graduated from high school, congratulations!! It means you’re closer to the next step of your educational journey. After graduating from high school, most of us are dreaming to pursue a degree in higher education or also called post-secondary school.

Do you have a dream to continue your study in Indonesia, a country with a rich culture and beautiful landscapes? If you do, this is the best place for you to find out what you’re questioning. This topic will give you explanations about higher education types in Indonesia.
Before we start our challenging journey, we must know which types of higher education suits our needs and preferences the most.

In Indonesia, there are some types of higher education based on the national education system (No.20/2003), it’s classified into three categories:

  • Academic education

Academic Education is a higher education that focuses on mastering and developing certain knowledge, technology, and art. It has three degrees such as Bachelor/Sarjana (S1), Master/Magister (S2), and Doctoral/Doktor (S3). Every graduate will have their title followed by the major they took, such as Bachelor of Economy (S.E) Sarjana Ekonomi.

  • Vocational education

Vocational Education is a higher education that focuses on mastering certain applied-skills. This is including Diploma I (D1), Diploma II (D2), Diploma III (D3), Diploma IV (D4). The graduates will have their vocational degrees such as Ahli Pratama (A.P), Ahli Muda (A.Ma), Ahli Madya (A.Md).

  • Professional/Specialist education

Meanwhile, for Specialist Education which the system only allowed those who have accomplished the Bachelor degree (S1) to get a certain skill set required for the relevant working field. The graduates will have a professional degree based on the major they took.

We’ve talked about the national education system category, Let’s continue to the management system of it. Indonesia has three kinds of higher education management systems:

  • PTN (Perguruan Tinggi Nasional) – National Higher Education: managed by the government under the Ministry of Education and Culture.
  • PTS (Perguruan Tinggi Swasta) – Private Higher Education: managed by non-government, such as foundation
  • PTK (Perguruan Tinggi Kedinasan) – Indonesian State College: managed by the ministry, such as the Indonesian State College of Accountancy managed by the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia.

There are several types of higher education in Indonesia, including universities, institutes, high education, polytechnics, and academies. For you, high school students who plan to continue their studies to a higher level, do you already have a choice of which type of college you’re going to choose? Before you pick the wrong choice, it would be better to know what each type of higher education actually is, so that your choice is exactly what you want. The following are the differences between the five types of higher education in Indonesia that currently apply:

  • University (Universitas)

Universities provide academic and vocational based education. The university also consists of several faculties that provide academic and/or vocational education with several sciences, technology, or arts.

  • Institute (Institut)

Just like universities, institutes also provide academic and vocational-based education. The difference lies in the faculty. The faculties in institutes focus on one broad topic. For example Institute of Technology Bandung, and Jakarta Institute of Arts.

  • Specialised Collages (Sekolah Tinggi)

Unlike universities and institutes, specialized college only consists of one faculty and is divided into several departments related to that faculty

  • Polytechnic (Politeknik)

Polytechnics only provide vocational-based education.  With that being said, polytechnics do not provide academic education. Polytechnic has its own vision to prepare students to become graduates with professional abilities who can apply, develop, and disseminate science and technology. Campuses with the polytechnic type in Indonesia include Jakarta State Polytechnic (PNJ), Bandung State Polytechnic (Polban), Creative Media State Polytechnic (Polmed), and many more.

  • Academy (Akademi)

Academy is also almost the same as polytechnic. The difference is that academies consist of one or a part of a certain branch of science, technology, or arts. Campuses with the academy type include The Oil and Gas Academy (Akamigas-STEM), The Meteorology and Geophysics Academy (AMG), The Indonesian Police Academy (Akpol), and many more.

For your information, Indonesian universities are featured among the world’s best in the QS World University Rankings 2021, including three in the top 450. These are:

  1. University of Indonesia (305th in the world rankings)
  2. Bandung Institute of Technology (313th in the world rankings, and 62nd in the Asia rankings)
  3. Gajah Mada University (254th in the world rankings and joint 57thin Asia.)
  4. Bogor Agricultural University(118th in the Asia rankings and 51-100 in the world for agriculture and forestry)
  5. Airlangga University(124th in Asia)
  6. Padjajaran University(joint 238th in Asia)
  7. Diponegoro University(joint 241st in Asia)
  8. Institute of Technology Sepuluh Nopember(164th in Asia)
  9. BINUS University(227th in Asia)
  10. University of Brawijaya(271-280 in Asia)

Indonesia also has special majors, which only exist in Indonesia, most of them are related to the country’s culture, want to know what are they?

1. Javanese Literature

Javanese Literature

Apart from the literature aspect, this department also teaches various Javanese cultures, a lot of international students interested in Javanese culture decided to study in Indonesia.

2. The Art of Puppetry


This major taught about the art of traditional wayang performances, starting from the music, story, also adjusting the values to be conveyed to suit the times. This major gives you career opportunities like puppeteer, researcher, art observer, and scriptwriter.

3. Batik Technology


In this department, you will study about batik technique, including the history and the philosophy of it. Learning batik technology allows you to develop batik technology and also make your own batik business independently, since Batik is one of Indonesia’s heritage, local and international people will looking for batik as a souvenir.

4. Karawitan Musical Art

Are you interested in music? Karawitan musical art is a good option for you because you will learn the art of music from various regions. The unique part of this major is you are able to learn how to play Indonesian traditional instruments, such as gendang, kecapi, suling, gamelan, and etc.

5. Tasawuf Psychotherapy

This department basically combines two disciplines, sufism, and psychology, we will learn how to purify the soul to achieve happiness, whereas in Psychology, what is studied is mental health therapy which is related to feelings, thoughts, and behavior.

We really hope you have a better understanding of Indonesia’s higher education types and know which best for you after reading this article. We’re waiting for your coming to study in Indonesia, and feel the beauty of the learning system and the country’s diversity. See you!


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