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Universities for Expats in India

Submitted: September 2013

Firstly, the title of this section is somewhat of a misnomer as there are not any specific universities in India specially set up for expats only. India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world, after the United States and China, with over tree-hundred universities and over thirty-thousand community colleges which educate both local and foreign students. The studies and disciplines offered in India range from poetry to computer engineering to space research, with strong emphasis on science and technology. Though some institutions have been globally acclaimed for their standard of education, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), India has failed to produce world-class universities which figure in the top one-hundred of world university rankings.

Degree levels which are available in India are similar to those worldwide with the typical Undergraduate Program lasting three years leading up to final examinations, and post graduate courses mostly lasting two ending with a Master’s degree. As a general rule of thumb, specialized fields such as Medicine usually last for a longer period of time. In most universities, the main medium of instruction is English. Some universities may use regional languages mainly for Humanities, Social Sciences and Commerce faculties but this is normally done alongside English.

Admission requirements vary between each university in India, however the admission policy and application procedure of each university can be found on their individual websites. To meet basic standards, one must complete at least twelve years of school, which is considered to be equivalent to obtaining five Ordinary Level passes and two subjects at the Advanced level by the British Council. Almost all universities take entrance examinations, and students are required to meet a certain pass marks to be considered for enrolment. Generally, admission into non-professional fields is not difficult, with the exception of major towns where there is strong competition. Entry into professional colleges such as Medicine, Engineering and Law is difficult and requires separate admission tests as the limited number of seats increases competition.

You should note that in some cases international students may be enrolled without taking entry tests; in return they are expected to contribute to the university building fund and as such are required to pay higher fees. Additionally, foreign students are encouraged to equate their qualifications to India’s standard, through the Association of Indian Universities. This is an admission requirement for first degree programmes.

Indian universities are not free and it is likely that you will be required to pay more than domestic charges if you are not an Indian citizen. However, most universities offer education at a fraction of the cost you would have to pay for university in some other countries (for example, the UK), and living expenses are relatively low. Most undergraduate courses, inclusive of accommodation, may have an annual cost anywhere between £800 – £3,500, while post graduate courses differ across the board. Also, as a rule of thumb, professional degrees may cost more. Some universities may require foreign students to deposit their first year tuition in full before they are enrolled.

Furthermore, several means of financial aid are available to international students who want to pursue studies in India. Many scholarships and grants are offered by the Indian Council For Cultural Relations, and most are open to students in both professional and non-professional fields, ranging from undergraduate to doctoral studies. External bodies may also provide aid, such as such the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

You should note that even though most Indian universities are internationally accredited, there are some universities that only exist for corrupt money-making practices. As such, their courses are not recognized nor approved by any governing body which ultimately makes their degree and diplomas of limited value. Although Indian authorities are trying hard to rid the system of these institutions, many are still in existence. It is important to check the reputation and international accreditation status of your desired university before you enrol on a program.

To view a list of universities available in India, please click here.

For a list of private universities accredited by the University Grant Commission which is the main accreditation body in India, please click here.



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