Study in India

You are here

The Indian education system is as diverse as the country's culture. With affordable tuition fees and a rapidly growing economy, there are plenty of opportunities

India is fast becoming a popular destination with students who want to study abroad and it's not hard to see why. With an array of courses, thousands of institutions and one of the largest education systems in the world your study options are endless.

There's no need to worry about learning a new language as Masters courses are taught in English, this combined with a warm and welcoming population, will make settling in easy.

For the explorers among you studying in India will provide plenty of opportunity to experience the country's history and traditions. If you fancied it you could trek up the Himalayan Mountains or venture across the Rajasthan desert, for those less adventurous India's many cosmopolitan cities offer the opportunity to sample the unique cuisine and take in a Bollywood movie.

Masters degrees

Postgraduate courses are popular in India and taught courses generally last one to two years with this increasing to three for research degrees.

Institutions in the country are free to establish their own entry requirements so check with your chosen university to be sure you meet the criteria.

Requirements for postgraduate courses are mostly dependent on the subject you wish to study, like in the UK. For the most part, you will need a relevant undergraduate degree to get accepted onto a postgraduate course.

Medicine, IT and business-related Masters courses are highly sought after, with Masters of Business Administration degrees (MBA's) being particularly popular. If you study for an Indian Masters you can expect to be assessed through coursework, exams and the production of a dissertation/thesis depending on your chosen course.

Aside from Masters and MBA's other types of postgraduate study include Doctoral degrees (PhDs).

For a list of courses see India Education - Course Directory.

Indian universities

Higher education institutions in India are divided into four categories:

  • Central and state Universities - public institutions supported by a central or regional government;
  • State Private Universities - privately established and funded institutions;
  • Deemed Universities - high performing institutions that have been declared as having a status equal to universities by central government.
  • Institutes of National Importance - established by acts of parliament and funded by the central government, including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM).

The structure of Indian higher education reflects that of the UK with Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees on offer.

The main regulatory body in charge of supervising all institutions in the country is the Indian University Grants Commission.

India is well known throughout the world for excellence in areas such as engineering and technology and more recently the country is building a reputation for its medicine and business-related courses.

India has a number of institutions in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15, with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur being the county's highest ranked.

India is a huge country and the sheer number of institutions can sometimes make it difficult to separate the good from the not so good. To avoid being duped by bogus institutions check that the university you are considering is recognised by the Indian Government Department of Higher Education.

Information about Indian universities can be accessed - depending on their geographic region and state - at the National Network of Education.

Fees and funding in India

Indian universities offer courses at a fraction of the price to the UK and living expenses are incredibly affordable. The cost of studying Masters courses in India will vary dramatically with each course and institution so make sure you check details with your chosen university.

The extra cash you save on tuition fees and living costs may come in useful as Indian universities do not offer grants and scholarships to students from the UK and very rarely to postgraduate students. International scholarships that are offered by the Indian government are usually restricted to nationals of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Students of other nationalities can find out more about scholarships and funding options at the National Portal of India - Scholarships and loans.

How to apply

Entry requirements will differ greatly between institutions depending on your course. The autonomy of institutions means you will have to enquire directly and individually to find out about specific admission requirements.

To be admitted into Indian institutions, international students must apply through the 'single window agency', Educational Consultants India Limited (EdCIL). Here you can download the required documents for UK nationals applying to study in India, namely the visa and application forms.

To find out if your qualifications are recognised in India visit the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) who are responsible for checking foreign academic qualifications.

Language requirements

Official languages in India are Hindi and English. All postgraduate courses are taught in English so if this is not your native language you may be required to sit an English proficiency test.

Student visas

All foreign nationals entering India will need a visa to do so. Student visas are issued for either the length of your studies or a maximum period of five years.

To secure a visa you must have an unconditional offer from an Indian university and submit supporting documentation alongside your application, including a passport with at least six months validity. Visas can be obtained from the Indian Embassy/High Commission in your home country.

For UK passport holders a student visa valid for one year will cost £154.78.

For more information on student visas see Educational Consultants India Limited (EdCIL) - Student visa information.

Indian exchanges and placements

Undergraduate UK students have the opportunity to learn about India, its history, culture, industry and what it's like to study and work there, on a four-week placement through the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).

Some UK universities may have exchange programmes with universities in India. Ask at your international office as to whether they have links with Indian universities.

The British Council have introduced cultural placements for students and teaching assistant posts for graduates under the new Cultural Immersion India programme starting in 2015. Teaching assistant placements can last between three to six months and provide graduates with the opportunity to practise their teaching skills. For more information on available opportunities see British Council - Generation UK-India cultural immersion placements.

IAESTE offers science, engineering and technology students the chance to embark on 12-week paid placements in the summer and for longer periods at other times of the year. Find out more at IAESTE UK.

Doctoral degrees

PhDs usually take three years to complete although this can vary depending on your course and institution.

To be admitted onto a course you must have a relevant Masters, although in exceptional circumstance you may be excepted with a good undergraduate degree.

In India all prospective PhD students are required to sit an entrance exam, referred to as the National Eligibility Test (NET). Once you have been admitted onto a course you will be assessed on the basis of coursework, examinations and the production of a thesis.