Quacquarelli Symonds, the global authority on higher education that compiles the world's most-consulted university rankings portfolio, has recently released the QS Asia University Rankings 2022 to rank the continent's best higher education institutions. In 2022, 117 Indian universities were considered in the QS Asia University Rankings 2022.

India's higher education system is the world's third-largest in terms of students, next to China and the United States.

India welcomed 10 new entrants in the QS Asia University Rankings 2022. Of them, 7 bagged a spot in the top 100. The top universities in India, based on the 2022 rankings are the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (Rank 42), Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (Rank 45), and Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (Rank 54). The top central universities are Delhi University at Rank 77 and JNU at Rank 107. Among state-run universities, Calcutta University ranked the highest at Rank 154.

As is evident from the QS Rankings, India's higher education field is being spearheaded through engineering and technology subjects, by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). There are currently 23 of these, located around the country, focusing mainly on engineering, technology, and science disciplines. These are closely followed by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), DU, and JNU. In this article, we will explore the best Indian universities for higher education in detail.

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Top Universities in New Delhi

Delhi University (DU)

DU colleges are, undoubtedly, are among the most sought-after colleges in Delhi, as well as in the country. The University, with its 80 departments, offers various degree courses (UG, PG, Ph.D., and certificate programs). Moreover, the 5 departments of Chemistry, Geology, Zoology, Sociology, and History have earned the status of Centres of Advanced Studies.

JNU University
Top universities in India, like JNU, stress on quality applications. | Source: Scroll.in

Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)

In the latest NIRF rankings, JNU has bagged the second spot in the list of best universities in India in 2022, while it ranks eighth in the overall list of educational institutes in India. Popular courses at JNU include:

  • M.A. in Politics (International Studies)
  • M.A. in Political Science
  • B.A. (Hons.) in Korean
  • M.A. in Hindi
  • M.Sc. in Life Sciences
  • M.A. in International Relations and Area Studies
  • M.A. in Sociology
  • M.A. in Economics
  • M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences
  • M.A. in English
  • M.A. in History (Ancient/Medieval/Modern)

Top Universities in Mumbai

Mumbai is another city that offers high-quality education opportunities to students from across India. TISS and ICT head the list of top destinations for higher education in Mumbai.

Tata Institute of Social Sciences

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (popularly, TISS Mumbai) is a Deemed-to-be university is a celebrated educational institute that is ranked 37 under ‘University’ and 70 under the ‘Overall’ category in the NIRF 2021 rankings.

Forbes India named TISS a 'Great Place to Study' in a 2018 feature on Indian educational institutes.

TISS offers over 65 postgraduate, doctoral, integrated, certificate, vocational, and online courses in various domains - Social Work, Rural Development, Health Sciences being the most popular ones among them. All these programs are run by its 20 schools and 45 centers.

Institute of Chemical Technology

ICT Mumbai, established in 1933 as the University Department of Chemical Technology, is a constituent of the University of Bombay with a NAAC grade ‘A++' accreditation and a UGC affiliation. ICT conducts NBA- (National Board of Accreditation) approved courses through its 11 departments across undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral levels. Popular fields of study include Engineering, Technology, Pharmaceutical Science, Mathematics, and Allied Sciences, along with many executive degrees and integrated programs.

Top Universities in Bengaluru

The QS Best Student Cities Survey ranks Bengaluru as one of the top 150 student-friendly cities in the world. Added to that distinction is the fact that the Garden City is home to top-tier universities in the form of IISc, NIFT, and IIM

Indian Institute of Science (IISc)

In the QS World University rankings, IISc ranked second in the area of citation per faculty across the globe. It was ranked 185th in the QS World University rankings 2021 and 51st in the Asia University Rankings. Popular courses at IISc include:

  • Undergraduate programs: Biology, Chemistry, Humanity, etc.
  • Ph. D (Integrated Program): Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Pharmacy, etc.
  • M.Tech: Science, Technology, Engineering
  • M. Des
  • Master of Management (only available for B.E/B.Tech students)

National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT)

NIFT Bangalore is one of India's most respected fashion institutes that is not averse to adopting new learning innovations, including the Internet of Things, CAD, Big Data, Business Analytics, Couture Jewellery, and Design Strategy. NIFT Bangalore was ranked 9th in the list of best fashion schools in the world in 2021.

NIFT Bangalore offers 4-year Bachelor Programs, 2-year Master Programs, certificate courses, and doctoral programs across various departments, including Fashion Communication, Knitwear, Design Space, Leather Design, Design Space, Fashion Design, and so on.

Top Universities in Chennai

Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, is hailed for its education system and, unsurprisingly, is a top pick for students, especially those with a particular interest in technology and the automotive industry.

Indian Institute of Technology (IITM)

Having bagged top honors in the NIRF rankings, IITM is one of India's most popular education destinations. The Institute has17 departments, 14 research centers, and a Continuing Education Programs Centre (CEP), offering 121 courses in Engineering, Science, Humanities, and Management. B.Tech is the institute's flagship program.

IIT Madras has signed MOUs with a number of foreign universities for student exchange programs. According to these understandings, students enrolled in the institute's UG, PG, and Dual Degree programs at the institute get to spend a semester in a foreign university for broad exposure. Moreover, IITM offers Joint Doctoral Programs (JDPs) in collaboration with 17 foreign universities, along with an AICTE-sponsored Quality Improvement Program (QIP).

Asian College of Journalism (ACJ)

The Asian College of Journalism is the highest temple of learning for journalism students in India. The PG Diploma course at ACJ offers 4 specializations:

  1. Broadcast Journalism And New Media
  2. Print Journalism (English / Hindi)
  3. Radio Journalism
  4. Television Journalism
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Top Universities in Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad, the city of Vikram Sarabhai, has come a long way in building its reputation as an education hub in India. It boasts of big names in Indian education, such as the Indian Institute of Management, National Institute of Design, Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA) Ahmedabad, National Institute of Fashion Technology, the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology, and B.J. Medical College.

Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA)

MICA Ahmedabad, a leader in the field of communication and innovative marketing, offers AICTE-approved specialized courses in varied fields such as Marketing Research, Digital Communication Management, and Brand Management. To apply for MICA's most popular course, namely the PGDM-C, students must score qualifying marks in their CAT/XAT/GMAT and ace their MICAT, GE, and PI performance. MICA also offers PGCP-CCC, FPM, and online programs.

Best universities in India
The IITs have consistently featured in the world university rankings. | Image credit: Career India

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA)

IIM Ahmedabad has already ranked first (twice) in the NIRF-rated Top Management Colleges in India in the last three years. Its most popular program is PGP (equivalent to MBA), followed by the one-year MBA program or the MBA PGPX. IIMA also offers Ph.D., ePGD in Advanced Business Analytics.

Apart from the regular PGP/MBA program, IIMA also offers a double degree program for which the college has partnered with six international institutions, including ESSEC Business School France, HEC France, University of Bocconi, Italy, European Business School, Germany, University of Cologne, Germany, and ESCP Europe France.

Top Universities in Hyderabad

Hyderabad is a haven for students looking to pursue higher studies in pharma, biotech, and defense-related science and technology. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is located in Hyderabad, along with top-notch research laboratories such as the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology.

University of Hyderabad (UoH)

UoH is among India's most respected centers of higher education, with its mass communication studies being the most popular course among students. The University offers integrated postgraduate and doctorate courses in the streams of Engineering, Management, Science, Education, Computer Applications, and Humanities, with various specializations in:

  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • English
  • Hindi
  • Economics
  • History
  • Sociology
  • Computer Science
  • Information Technology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Bioinformatics
  • General, Health Care & Hospital Management
  • Business Analytics
  • Business Management
  • Dance
  • Theatre Arts
  • Music
  • Painting
  • Print Making
  • Sculpture
  • Art History & Visual Studies

Indian School of Business (ISB)

ISB has the unique distinction of being only the 100th School in the world to achieve triple accreditations from AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB. ISB Hyderabad offers many postgraduate courses in business and management, in collaboration with reputed international centers of learning such as Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. The various courses on offer include:

  • PGPM
    • Selection Criteria: Valid GMAT/GRE score/TOEFL/IELTS scores
  • PGP PRO (Working Professionals)
    • Selection Criteria: Valid GMAT/GRE score
  • PGPMAX
    • Selection Criteria: GMAT/GRE/SHL Scores
  • PGPMFAB
    • Selection Criteria: BAT score, Work Experience, and Interview
  • Advanced Management Program
    • Selection Criteria: Valid GMAT/GRE score
  • FPM
    • Selection Criteria: Valid GMAT/GRE/CAT/JRF/TOEFL/IELTS score
  • EFPM
    • Selection Criteria: Based on the candidate’s profile

Top Universities in Kolkata

The once reigning queen of culture and education in India, Kolkata endures a legacy of being a center of learning, culture, and education. Kolkata's status as an education hub is highlighted by the presence of such high altars of knowledge and learning as the National Library of India and the Ramkrishna Mission Institute of Culture.

Calcutta University (CU)

Notably, Calcutta University was the first multidisciplinary and western-style institution in Asia. The 5-star University, with a Grade 'A' NAAC accreditation to its credit, has 151 affiliate colleges and 21 affiliate institutes. CU was also awarded the status of a center with potential for excellence in a particular area. by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS)

NUJS is an autonomous law university that offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses. It is one of India's most elite national law schools. The University offers a five-year integrated B.A./B.Sc. LLB(Hons.) degree program at the undergraduate level and a master of laws at the postgraduate level. NUJS has various research centers and schools of specialized learning, namely:

  • Centre for Gender research Law
  • Centre for Human Rights and Citizenship Studies
  • Centre for WTO Law
  • Centre for Women and Law
  • The School of Criminal Justice &Administration (SCJA)
  • The School of Economic & Business Laws (SEBL)
  • The School of Legal Practice & Development (SLPD)
  • The School of Private Laws & Comparative Jurisprudence (SPLCJ)
  • The School of Public Law & Governance (SPLG)
  • The School of Social Sciences (SSS)
  • The School of Technology, Law & Development

Top Universities in Pune

The Oxford of the East, Pune is home to some of the most well-known and celebrated names in India's higher education pantheon, such as Symbiosis International University, Fergusson College, and the Film and Television Institute of India.

Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)

According to CEOWORLD Magazine, FTII is one of the top 10 film schools in the world. The Institute offers several certifications and short-term courses under the Film and TV wings.

  1. PG Diploma Courses
    • Specializations: Direction and Screenplay Writing, Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction & Production Design, Sound Recording & Sound Design, Screenwriting (Film, TV & Web Series), Screen Acting
  2. PG Certificate Courses
    • Specializations: Sound Recording & Television Engineering, Direction, Video Editing, Electronic Cinematography
Top Universities in India
Smart cities like Pune are putting India on the world map of higher education. Image credit: Times of India

Symbiosis International University (SIU)

Symbiosis International University (SIU) is a leading light when it comes to world-class education in India. Many of its affiliate Institutes are ranked among the best in the country. The University offers various undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma programs. Additionally, Symbiosis offers Distance Learning Education. Admission to these courses is based on the results of entrance tests conducted by the university, namely, SET and SNAP.

Fergusson College

Fergusson College, set up by the Deccan Education Society, is an affiliated college of Savitribai Phule Pune University. This historic institution offers a number of degree courses at both the undergraduate (UG) and the postgraduate (PG) levels. Moreover, there are special courses, vocational courses, certificate courses, and Ph.D. programs for students to choose from.

B.A. specializations include, among others, Economics, English, French, Geography, German, Hindi, History, Marathi, Mathematics, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Sanskrit, Sociology, Applied Statistics. B.Sc. specializations include, among others, Animation, Biotechnology, Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronic Science, Environmental Science, Geology, Mathematics, Microbiology, Physics, Statistics, Zoology.

M.A. specializations include, among others, Economics, English, Marathi, Psychology. M.Sc. specializations include, among others, Analytical Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Botany, Computer Science, Computer Applications, Data Science, Electronic Science, Environmental Science, Geology, Microbiology, Organic Chemistry, Physics. B.Voc. specializations include, among others,  Media and Communications, Digital Art, and Animation.

Certification courses include specializations in Photography, Counselling Psychology, Intellectual Property Rights, Women and Development, American Studies, MEAN Stack Web Development, English Content Writing, Yoga and Meditation, among others. Ph.D. specializations include, among others, English, Botany, Environmental Science, Electronic Science, Physics.

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Shreyanjana

Shreyanjana is an archaeologist who ironically finds the written word to be the most powerful means of storytelling. A travel buff and a photography enthusiast, she has been writing and sharing stories of all sorts ever since she can remember.