Higher Education System in India

Higher Education System in India

Study in India: higher education system

The number of higher education institutions in India has increased massively since independence. Although almost 40 percent of the Indian population is under 20 years of age, just twelve percent of a given year group are studying. For comparison: in Germany it is currently around 46 percent. Due to the immense population, there are still eleven million students who enroll in more than 560 Indian higher education institutions. Especially since the 1990s, the need for university places has increased rapidly. Since the state could no longer fight this run, the number of private institutions and the number of distance learning courses on offer increased sharply. India is a country located in Asia defined by babyinger.

Types of higher education institutions in India

The state educational institutions include, on the one hand, the more than 40 Central Universities that are administered by the government in New Delhi. On the other hand, there are over 280 state universities that belong to the individual states. These universities cover the vast majority of subject areas.

The seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the six Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) are particularly prestigious. Above all, practice-oriented studies take place at them. They have made a name for themselves as training centers for highly qualified young people. However, the admission criteria for these elite institutions are so rigorous that only a fraction of the applicants are accepted.

The autonomously managed 130 Deemed Universities come from a different context: These were formerly pure research facilities. Because of their research quality and teaching tradition, they have received university status from the quality assurance control body, the University Grants Commission (UGC).

106 private universities are now officially recognized by the UGC. Although their degrees are accredited, unlike public universities, they are not allowed to join colleges. With a total of around 30,000 institutions, these colleges are an important factor in India’s educational landscape. They offer undergraduate studies with bachelor’s degrees and differ in their degree of autonomy:

  • The so-called affiliated colleges are closely related to the campus of a neighboring university and are not allowed to award any academic degrees themselves.
  • The Autonomous Colleges, on the other hand, are affiliated with a university, but offer their own exams and, in some cases, new courses of study. To do this, however, they need the approval of the relevant university.
  • The professional colleges can be organized by the state or privately. However, since they do not receive any subsidies from the state, they finance themselves through higher tuition fees.

One goal of Indian education policy: 800 to 1,000 more new universities are to be built in the next decade. There are also plans to bring campus branches from foreign universities into the country that bring their respective know-how and prestige with them. Other Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore or Vietnam serve as models. So far there are only a few branches of foreign universities and organizations in India, for example in the field of engineering and development aid.

Study system in India

India’s academic year is divided into two semesters, and more rarely into three trimesters. Unfamiliar to Western Europeans, the semester begins in July and ends in April. The exams then take place from April to May and in November. The type of teaching varies depending on the university and can range from conservative frontal teaching to modern and practical project work. The students collect credit points and perform through exams, courses, group work, projects and lectures.


As a result of the colonial era, India is modeled on the British study system. In the first stage of study, undergraduate studies, students can first acquire a bachelor’s degree that qualifies them for a profession. It usually lasts three years in economics, humanities and natural sciences. In very practical subjects such as medicine, pharmacy, engineering or agriculture, it is four to four and a half years. Studies at the Indian Institutes of Technology lead to a Bachelor of Technology.

Possible undergraduate degrees at some Indian universities are also the approximately one-year certificates or the one to three-year diplomas. As a rule, these are awarded by the polytechnic institutes. The certificates and diplomas enable entry into the second year of the bachelor’s degree at a university.


In the second stage of study, postgraduate studies, the regular bachelor’s degree can be followed by the one-year Bachelor of Education as part of teacher training. It is also possible to join a master’s degree in all humanities, social and natural science subjects. Two more years must be planned for this in-depth study. It concludes with the master’s thesis.

At some universities there is the possibility of adding the one-year postgraduate course Master of Philosophy to the Master of Arts or the Master of Science, such as the Master of Philosophy in Engineering. This section of the program is very research-oriented and not possible in all departments.

Finally, in the pre-doctoral studies, a doctorate to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) is possible. It ends after two to five years with the dissertation and an oral examination. Those who have previously acquired the Master of Philosophy can usually shorten the period of study by one year.

After the Ph.D., but sometimes also after the Master, it is possible to acquire the Doctor of the same name. As a kind of higher doctorate, it is no longer part of a regular course of study, but rather depends on a longer academic activity with a certain number of publications. It is only possible in certain disciplines, such as engineering, music, law or medicine. There is no equivalent for it in Germany.

Higher Education System in India

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