Learn how to find the best universities in India and abroad for the subjects you want to study with the World University Rankings.
Education and higher education have always been highly valued in India, right from the days of Nalanda University, the Buddhist monastery that was the first and oldest university in India.
From Delhi University, the largest university in India, to SNDT University, the first women’s university in India, we have a great history of establishing educational institutions at the forefront of education and research.
Our IITs and IIMs are considered to be some of the best universities in the world while the Shoolini University of Biotechnology & Management Sciences in the Himalayas is considered to be one of the most beautiful universities in the world.
The National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) ensures the quality of higher education in India, but many Indians turn to the World University Rankings for an objective assessment of the quality of education.
As legitimate Universities in India are the ones that are recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC), you need to first check if the top universities in India that you’re applying to are on the list of the UGC-approved universities in India.
This top universities guide to choosing the best universities in India will show you how to use the World University Rankings to choose the best ranking universities for the subjects you want to study.
How Does Ranking Universities Work?
How are top universities ranked? There are a number of World University Rankings that can help Indian students choose a top university in India for their studies.
You can find out the ranking of the university you’re applying to and check if it is truly one of the best universities in India using one of the World University Rankings services below.
Each of these top universities ranking services provides a list of the most prestigious universities ranking them on various parameters.
1. QS World University Rankings®
What are QS rankings? The QS Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings service has been publishing university rankings since 2004 when the first QS World University Rankings was released.
Today, the QS World Ranking is the world’s leading provider of services, analytics, and insight to the global higher education sector.
The QS Rankings is also the world’s most popular source of data about university performance for student and their parents, allowing millions of students to easily compare different institutions.
So what makes a university top-ranked? The QS top universities are assessed according to six key metrics, including:
- Academic reputation
- Employer reputation
- Faculty/Student ratio
- Citations per faculty
- International faculty ratio
- International student ratio
You can check the QS World University Rankings 2022 data to find out whether the University you plan to go to ranks on this list.
If you’re searching for a top university to study a specific subject, you can search the QS World University Rankings by subject. The data for QS ranking by subject covers a total of 51 disciplines grouped into five broad subject areas.
According to the latest QS 2022 global university ranking, the No 1 University in India is the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Bombay) with a world ranking of 46.4, and the rest of the top 5 university in India list is also taken up by IITs.
They also rank the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at Cambridge, USA, as the No 1 University in the world with a world ranking of 100.
2. Times Higher Education Ranking
THE (Times Higher Education) has been released by Griffith University, one of Australia’s leading research universities providing trusted performance data on universities since 2004.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings assesses university performance based on the three main areas of university activity: Research, Impact, and Teaching.
It uses 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons. The overall list is accompanied by 11 subject-specific rankings.
According to the Times Higher Education University rankings the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, is ranked as the No 1 University in India.
And which is the number 1 university in the world? The UK’s University of Oxford is the No 1 University in the world, according to the Times world university rankings.
3. Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)
The Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) – also known as the Shanghai Ranking – is an annual publication of World University Rankings originally compiled and issued by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2003, making it the first global university ranking with multifarious indicators.
ARWU is regarded as one of the three most influential and widely observed university rankings, alongside QS World University Rankings and Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
Although it has received positive feedback for its objectivity and methodology, it tends to rank larger institutions above smaller ones, as it fails to adjust for the size of the institution.
According to ARWU in 2021, the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru was the No 1 University in India, and Harvard University in the USA was the number 1 university in the world.
4. Center for World University Rankings (CWUR)
The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), based in the United Arab Emirates is a leading consulting organization providing policy advice, strategic insights, and consulting services to governments and universities to improve educational and research outcomes.
Since 2012, CWUR has been publishing an academic ranking of global universities that assesses the quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, and research performance without relying on surveys and university data submissions.
CWUR’s methodology for ranking universities uses seven objective and robust indicators grouped into four areas:
- Quality of education
- Alumni employment
- Quality of faculty
- Research performance:
- Research output
- High-quality publications
According to CWUR 2021-22, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, is the No 1 University in India, and Harvard University is the No 1 University in the world.
5. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
The Government of India’s Ministry of Education has its own National Institutional Ranking Framework or NIRF University Ranking system that ranks top Indian Universities based on the parameters below:
- Teaching, learning & resources (TLR)
- Research and professional practice (RP)
- Graduation outcomes (GO)
- Outreach and inclusivity (OI)
- Peer perception
According to the latest NIRF university ranking, the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, is the No 1 University in India.
Top 10 University In India (NIRF) List
Here is the latest ‘top 10 university in India’ (NIRF) list:
- Indian Institute Of Science Bangalore, Bangalore, Karnataka
- Institute Of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Delhi
- University Of Hyderabad-Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana
- Tezpur University, Tezpur, Assam
- University Of Delhi, Delhi
- Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
- Indian Institute Of Space Science & Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
- Birla Institute Of Technology & Science (BITS Pilani), Pilani, Rajasthan
- Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh
Which University Ranking Is More Accurate?
QS Top Universities Vs Times Higher Education Vs Shanghai Ranking Vs CWUR Vs NIRF – which university ranking is more accurate?
Since each one judges universities against different criteria, trying to make sense of the university rankings can be tricky, especially if you’re trying to decide where to study, says this article on comparing world university rankings.
Here’s a quick guide to help you decide:
- Use the CWUR or Shanghai ranking if you’re interested in doing high-quality research.
- Use the QS University Ranking if you’re looking for a well-paid graduate job.
- Use the Times University Ranking if you’re looking for both research impact and reputation.
- Use the NIRF University Ranking if you plan to study in India only.
Top 10 Universities In India Based On Popularity
Here is a list of the top 10 universities in India based on their popularity. These are some of the top universities in India that people search for on Google.
1. NLSIU Bangalore
The National Law School of India University is a public law school and a National Law University located in Bangalore, Karnataka.
2. Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University For Women
The Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women is an all-women’s university in New Delhi, India on the heritage campus at Kashmere Gate, Delhi.
3. St Joseph University, Dimapur
St. Joseph University, is a state private Catholic research university located in Ikishe, Chümoukedima District, Nagaland, India.
4. DSEU Delhi
The Delhi Skill and Entrepreneurship University, or DSEU, is a UGC-recognised collegiate public state university located in New Delhi, India.
5. IIHMR Jaipur
IIHMR University, Jaipur is a leading knowledge institution engaged in research, teaching and training in the domain of Public Health, Hospital Administration, Pharmaceutical Management and Rural Development.
6. Delhi Sports University
The Delhi Sports University plans to start operations from April 2022 at the Ludlow Sports Castle in the national capital’s Civil Lines area.
Its Vice-Chancellor, Karnam Malleswari, a former weightlifter and the first woman to bring home an Olympic medal, hopes to enrol kids and get them ready for the Olympics by the time they turn 18 or 19.
7. Capital University, Jharkhand
Capital University, Jharkhand (CUJ) is a private university in Koderma, Jharkhand, India, established under the Capital University Act, 2018.
8. Rajasthan University, Jaipur
The University of Rajasthan is a public and state university and is one of the oldest universities in Rajasthan, located in the city of Jaipur.
9. Gujarat University, Ahmedabad
The Gujarat University is a public state university located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. The university is accredited B++ by NAAC.
10. Indira Gandhi University, Delhi
Indira Gandhi National Open University, or IGNOU, is the best Open University in India and offers a large number of courses via distance education.
The Growth Of Online Education In India
The disruption of the traditional educational system by the pandemic, and the resulting growth of online education and homeschooling, has left students and parents asking themselves whether top universities are overrated and if top universities are worth it.
Another concern that Indian students have about getting into top universities is that they may be harder to get into and that they (the students) may not have the qualifications that top universities look for.
Many students also look for top universities with low tuition fees, because let’s face it, a university education doesn’t come cheap, even in India.
To our credit, we do have a tradition of distance learning and distance education thanks to institutions like the Indira Gandhi National Open University, the best Open University in India.
The pandemic also gave us India’s first digital university, the Kerala University of Digital Sciences, Innovation and Technology, which offers doctoral programs in cutting-edge technologies like AI Robotics, Computational Intelligence, and Computational Imaging Systems.
There are now many online portals that offer free online education through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It’s likely that, in the coming years, we will see the best online universities offering online degrees in many more subjects.
With the growth of remote work, we will all have to start learning new skills for the future workplace. The boom in online courses and online education will only make it easier to take education to the masses.
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About the author:
Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.