The best universities in India

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(Last updated on: 17/09/2021)

What are the best universities in India? Well, seen as about a third of my readers are from India, I thought that this might be a helpful question to answer! So, I decided to do some research…

Universities in India

There are plenty of universities to choose from if you’re planning to study in India. In fact, as of 2020, there are over 1000 universities in this beautiful, diverse, culturally rich country. India has one of the biggest higher education systems in the world. You’ll certainly be spoilt for choice! But which are the very best universities in India? This blog post will find out which institutions rank the highest, what they’re best at, and why they’re so great…

Watch my YouTube video where I talk about the best universities in India!

The best universities in India

These rankings have been taken from the most recent update to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings. This is one of the most reputable sources when it comes to looking at how well a university is performing. Below you’ll see 18 universities – numbers 1, 2 and 3 in India followed by a further 14 institutions. These fourteen are all ranked at number 4, as they all fall into the 601-800 section of the World University Rank 2021. So *technically*, these are the 4 best universities in India… there’s just more of them!

Thapar University 

Located in the state of Punjab, Thapar University is also known as the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology. It is known around the world as being one of the very best private engineering establishments across India. With brilliant facilities including a gym, sports halls, a library and an athletics track, this is a great university. They are partnered with Trinity College in Dublin, too! There are 6 schools here: Management, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Humanities & Social Sciences, Mathematics, Physics & Materials Science, and Energy & Environment. 

Savitribai Phule Pune University

Savitribai Phule Pune University is located in the state of Maharashtra. The campus dates way back to the era of the British Raj, and the university has a lot of international students. With its own radio station and a huge variety of extracurricular activities, there are many things that make Savitribai Phule Pune University one of the best universities in India. They have great courses across a wide range of subjects including education, physical sciences, and Indian languages. 

Panjab University

As the name suggests, given its similarity, the third ‘number 4’ university in India is also located in the state of Punjab. PU, as it is known, is a public university established in 1882. It is one of the country’s oldest higher education institutions! The campus is extensive with plenty of accommodation as well as its own theatre, botanical gardens, post office, bank and so much more. There are over 70 teaching and research departments at Panjab University with courses in law, animal husbandry, business management & commerce, medical sciences and more.

Mahatma Gandhi University

Named after the civil rights figure, Mahatma Gandhi University is another public university. You can study up to doctorate level here, and it has a brilliant reputation when it comes to research. It is particularly well known for its development of indigenous technologies. The campus itself is beautiful looking with plenty of facilities, and the university ranks well in courses related to science, physical education, and business administration. 

King George’s Medical University 

Located in Uttar Pradesh, King George’s Medical University has an amazing reputation when it comes to Indian medical institutes. There are two parts to this uni – medicine and dentistry. Whichever arm of medicine you choose to study here, you’ll have great opportunities. The university campus has student accommodation, various shops, a bank and a free shuttle service!

Jawaharlal Nehru University

You can find Jawaharlal Nehru University in stunning New Delhi, named after the country’s first ever Prime Minister. It is a research-led university, with only 10,000 students. Most of these study at masters level or above. The university thrives in areas such as engineering and management studies, as well as applied sciences and liberal arts.

Jamia Millia Islamia

Established in 1920, this public university in Delhi was set up by Muslim leaders. Its name translates as Community Islamic University. It wanted to be free from colonial British rule, and had a hard fight in getting to where it is today. Jamia Millia Islamia wasn’t given official university status until 1962! Here you can study law, architecture & ekistics, fine arts, social sciences, dentistry, engineering & technology, education, and natural sciences. It is particularly well known for its sports approach and the sports stars who have studied here. It has also hosted various sporting events such as the Blind Cricket World Cup.

Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology

With less than 2000 students, this specialist institute might be one of the best universities in India but it is also one of the smallest. Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology is research focused, and specialises in computer science. There are 6 main departments at this state-funded university: maths, computational biology, science, humanities & social sciences, science & engineering, and electronics & communications engineering.

Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad 

The Indian Institute of Technology, known as IIT, is a forerunner when it comes to engineering schools. It only has 2,500 students – making it another small (but brilliant) university. Founded in 2008, less than twenty years ago, there is a variety of courses on offer across Btech, MSc, MTech, MPhil, PhD and MDes. As well as learning about technology, students have to pick something creative to study in order to create balance!

Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar

Another IIT established in 2008, this is another of the best universities in India for STEM subjects. Choose from civil and chemical engineering, chemistry, cognitive science, materials science, computer science and more. This modern university receives plenty of state funding, meaning there are some brilliant facilities here.

Indian Institute of Science, Education & Research, Kolkata and Pune 

There are seven premier publish research institutions in India, known as IISERS and located in Kolkata, Pune, Mohali, Bhopal, Thiruvananthapuram, Tirupati, and Berhampur. The Kolkata and Pune locations are among some of the best universities in India. They are state-funded and exist to provide undergraduate level education in basic sciences as well as further research at post-graduate level.

University of Delhi

Still at the popular number 4 spot, the University of Delhi is one of the biggest universities in India. Five of the departments here are ‘Centres of Advanced Studies’ – they are the humanities, social sciences, geology, zoology, and chemistry. It was founded by the British Indian Government’s Central Legislative Assembly back in 1922, combining three existing colleges. This is definitely one of the most well-known and best universities in India, with a fantastic reputation and various facilities for students.

Institute of Chemical Technology

This was originally part of the University of Bombay/Mumbai, but is now an independent institution with university status of its own. The Institute of Chemical Technology excels when it comes to engineering, chemistry and pharmacy. They have fantastic research facilities, and have produced some revolutionary research in recent years. They are said to produce 10% of all of India’s chemistry PhDs each year, which is an incredible and fascinating statistic!

Banaras Hindu University

This is Asia’s biggest residential university, with temples and a museum on campus. BHU, as it is known, is one of India’s Institutes of National Importance. It was set up to try and address poverty in the country by working on science and technology to be used in the interest of low-income residents. Despite the name, it is not somewhere only Hindus can study. The university says, “India is not a country of the Hindus only. It is a country of the Muslims, the Christians and the Parsees too. The country can gain strength and develop itself only when the people of the different communities in India live in mutual goodwill and harmony.”

Indian Institute of Technology Indore

Moving on to the number 3 spot in this list of the best universities in India, we have the Indian Institute of Technology Indore. This is another of the IIT universities, founded in 2009 in Madhya Pradesh. The focus here is on engineering, sciences & humanities, and social sciences. You can study at undergraduate, masters or PhD level here. The university also has a student-led outreach programme, offering education and social welfare to local schools where this is needed.

Indian Institute of Technology Ropar

The number two spot goes to another relatively new IIT, located in Rupnagar in Punjab. Chemistry & chemical engineering, mathematics, physics, and materials engineering are on the list here as well as some humanities subjects. There are plenty of sports facilities here as well as campus buses, and the campus hosts various festivals and events each year. It is one of the best universities in India for many reasons, and if you’re interested in studying a STEM subject in India it’s worth looking at.

Indian Institute of Science

The number one spot goes to the IIS. The Indian Institute of Science was founded in 1909 and offers one sole undergraduate programme. This is a science research degree, and all students take the same modules for three years followed by a fourth year during which they take on their own research project. With this different approach to teaching at higher education, the IIS is a very interesting choice for those looking to study science in India.

The best universities in India

So there you have it- the complete list of the best universities in India! Have you attended one of these universities? What was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below!


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