Study in India: India, with its diverse culture and history, is also making a name for itself as an emerging study destination for international students. Affordable tuition fees and living cost, a wide array of undergraduate and postgraduate courses on offer and several packed cities to choose from, studying in India can be a rewarding experience for international students. The land of mystics has much to offer besides the food, culture and an interesting and deep history. India is gradually becoming a favoured destination for the international community with an influx of international students from neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan. In recent years, a greater number of students from Latin and African countries are coming to study in India. With the second largest population in the world and a culture which changes from city to city, studying in India can be a humbling and transforming experience. With a gamut of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in science, mathematics, engineering, medicine and management, there are a lot of top courses to study in India. With many higher education institutes in top world rankings, there is no dearth of quality education for international students aspiring to study in India.
India also called the Republic of India, is a federal republic country in South Asia. One of the biggest democracies in the world, the Indian subcontinent was once home to the Indus valley civilisation in the 3rd millennium BCE. Home to religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, studying in India can be an unforgettable experience for international students. The diverse culture can be attributed to a large number of religions and their different habits and custom. This has led India to be widely recognised for its cinema, rich cuisine and lush wildlife, which is a major consideration for international students aspiring to study in India. In the 19th century, India came under the rule of British East India Company but gained its independence in 1947. With a growing economy which is the sixth largest by GDP, India provides plenty of opportunities to international students aspiring to study in India. With over 29 states spread over mountains and a few in contact with the sea, international students aspiring to study in India can expect 29 different cultures to experience and learn from. India is a pluralistic, multilingual and multi-ethnic society with something on offer for everybody, especially international students wanting to study in India.
Study in India: University Rankings
International students come to India, not only for the culture but also because Indian universities are being ranked with the best in the world. The country has undergone expansion recently boasting one of the largest higher education systems. This has led to the emergence of top Indian universities like IITs, AIIMS and IISc for international students to study in India. IIT, Bombay has overtaken IIT, Delhi in the QS world rankings 2019 by moving up to 162. The top six institutes have either moved up or maintained their respective rankings which shows the growth in the higher learning sector and the rise in international students wanting to study in India. Moreover, five more universities have been included in the rankings by QS compared to last year.
Top Universities to study in India
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
University of Delhi
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
University of Hyderabad
Manipal Academy of Higher Education
University of Calcutta
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh
Banaras Hindu University
Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
University of Mumbai
Savitribai Phule Pune University
Study in India Admission Cycle
The wide range of courses being offered to study in India has grabbed the attention of foreign students. For students wanting to study in India, the country has made giant strides over the years in the fields of Engineering, Medicine, Management and Arts. After deciding on India as the study destination, international students need to get familiar with the admission cycle of different universities in the county. Fortunately for international students wanting to study in India, the admission cycle is simple and similar for almost all the universities. International students aspiring to study in India, after understanding the admission cycle, will be able to manage other aspects of the admission process like tuition fees, standardised tests and India study visa. India education system comprises of two semesters: autumn and spring. The autumn semester is from July to November whereas the spring semester is from January till April. However, student intake in most Indian universities happens in autumn semester once a year. This is feasible for international students aspiring to study in India since it provides the applicant with enough time to take care of certain elements like tuition fee, application for India study visa and standardised tests like GRE, SAT, IELTS or TOEFL. Foreign nationals aspiring to study in India, if required, have to take JEE exams for admission in undergraduate programmes of top universities like IITs. JEE notifications are out in December each year and exam takes place in April. Applicants must keep in mind different deadlines in order to study in India. Universities in India also offer admission on a rolling basis, under which applications of students are accepted for as long as seats are available in the university. For instance, PhD applications in IITs are accepted throughout the year, whereas other courses have certain fixed admission deadlines. However, this depends on the courses and students aspiring to study in India should keep in mind that top universities rarely have seats left after the major intake session.
Study in India: Admission cycle
Students should start researching their options
Applicants should register for standardised tests and take them
Students should prepare their application and obtain their test scores.
Students should start applying to colleges of their choice
Application for universities close
Colleges start replying to applications
Applicants should prepare their finances, explore scholarships and apply for education loans.
Students should start applying for the India study visa
Departure preparations should be made by the students
July 2017 (Autumn Semester)
Session starts at the university
Study in India: Eligibility Criteria
To study in India, the eligibility criteria for international students differs depending on the undergraduate and postgraduate courses and the universities the applicant has applied to.
Students aspiring to study undergraduate courses in any of the IITs have to appear for the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). Another method of admission available to foreign students is through DASA (Direct Admission of Students Abroad). Under this scheme, aspirants do not have to go through the normal admission process and are selected on the basis of their SAT scores. Students can get selected in NITs through DASA. However, top IITs and many institutes like IISc accept JEE scores to study in India. Admissions are based on merit as the marks obtained in JEE will determine the acceptance of the student to the course. Admission in postgraduate courses at the IITs is determined by respective colleges since they are deemed universities. Students aspiring to study in India are suggested to visit the respective websites of colleges to get information pertaining to the admission process, standardised tests like GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL and the minimum scores required for being eligible.
Application form of the respective university/college
Copy of grade transcripts of the Bachelor's degree with an explanation of the assigned grades. A certified English translation is required if the document is in any other language
Statement of purpose
Bio-Data / Curriculum vitae / Resume
Financial undertaking - A letter of recommendation certifying that the fees will be paid by the Government, or a copy of the student’s bank statement in case of admission through a self-financed category.
Recommendation letters – references by former employers/ professors/academic mentors to shed light on the student’s academic performance.
English language Proficiency - If English is not the first language or language of medium of instruction during secondary & higher education, students aspiring to study in India should pass the following two tests
Test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 580 overall and 4.0 in the Written English. The computer-based test and Internet-based test requires minimum scores of 240 and 95 overall, and 4.0 and 20 in essay writing respectively.
The International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) test with minimum scores of 6 or more in each section and an overall score of 6.5.
Test scores more than two years old will not be accepted for consideration.
Copy of the applicant’s passport along with an India study visa.
Study in India: Fee specifications
International students should know all about studying in India and the fee structure of top Indian universities. Students from other countries come to study in India, drawn by its rich cultural heritage and affordable cost. Part of the reason is the low tuition fees set by Indian universities for international students aspiring to study in India. Tuition fees varies from courses, the level of the course- undergraduate or postgraduate, institute – private or public and the exchange rate of the aspirant’s country vis-a-vis India. Compared to top destinations for higher studies like US, UK, studying in India is comparatively cheaper. According to a report by HSBC, average annual tuition fee in India amounts to $580. When compared with Australia ($24,000), US($24,500) and UK($20,000), annual tuition fee in India is not a major obstacle for international students aspiring to study abroad.
Fee of University in India
Fee (in USD)
Admission Fee - 500Tuition Fees (per semester)Non-SAARC countries - 2000SAARC countries – 1000
Tuition Fees (per semester)Non-SAARC countries - 4000SAARC countries - 2000
Tuition Fees (annual)SAARC countries - 2000 + 261 (one time) other countries - 4000 + 261(one time)
Tuition Fees (annual) – 4000
One time Registration Fee - Rs. 18000 (Undergraduate), Rs. 24,000 (Postgraduate) and Rs. 30,000 (research work).Tuition fee for specific college + Rs. 6000 per year
For Computer Science, MIB, MHROD, and BSc (Hons)
Non-SAARC countries- Tuition fee + Rs. 2,10,000 per year
Study in India: Scholarships
The cost of studying in India is low compared to other destinations, but students aspiring to study in India from poor countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and other African and Latin countries should be aware of the scholarships available. Fortunately, there are a lot of scholarships available at the undergraduate and postgraduate level to international students aspiring to study in India. Many universities in India also offer its international students with financial assistance in the form of alumni-funded scholarships. The government offers a wide range of scholarships to international students in the top public universities of India. In the postgraduate area, there is a scholarship to students based on merit and institutes like Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore offer many options for masters and research students to be funded. International students aspiring to study in India can seek admission through Foreign Government Sponsorships like ICCR Scholarship. If admitted, the international student will study in India with very little or no tuition fees. In addition to scholarships on a merit basis, international students aspiring to study in India can receive financial assistance from various corporations, foundations, endowment prizes and external agencies. Some of the scholarships are:
General Cultural Scholarship Scheme – is an annual scholarship awarded to foreign students coming to pursue undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes in India. This scholarship is given to foreign students hailing from certain African, Asian, and Latin American countries.
Commonwealth Fellowship Plan
Reciprocal Scholarships Scheme
Financed Cultural Exchange Programmes
Indian Council for Cultural Relations
IITKGP Foundation Scholarship
India Study Visa
International students require a visa to study in India for the duration of the programme. To be eligible to apply for an India study visa, foreign students need to be admitted to a course at a recognized institute in India. Indian Missions/Posts grants a student visa, for a period of five years or the duration of the course (whichever is less), to foreign students coming to India in pursuit of regular academic studies or Industrial training, summer project and internship.
Below are a few things to keep in mind concerning the India study visa:
Spouse and dependent family members accompanying the applicant must apply for an Entry Visa and not a Tourist Visa.
The Indian government also provides a Provisional India study visa to students. This visa is valid for six months, allowing the students to explore admission and various tests. After the end of the period, students can apply for a proper India study visa at the local Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO).
The most important document is the proof of admission to a full-time academic course in a reputed/recognized educational institute in India.
Evidence of financial support is also needed for international students aspiring to study in India. However, proof of insurance is not required but international students are recommended to purchase health insurance.
The applicant should also possess a “No Objection Certificate” from the Ministry of Health in case of admission in the medical or Para-medical course. Students from restricted countries must provide a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to study in India.
India study visa is issued for up to five years, depending on the duration of the course. However, this duration can be extended.
Students aspiring to study in India should keep in mind that international students are not allowed to work during their stay. Hence, work and study in India for foreign students is not possible.
India requires a visa for the nationals of most countries, with the exception of Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal. US and EU citizens can expect to pay around $108 and $88 respectively for an India study visa. However, fees for India study visa is different for all the countries, ranging from $13 to $118.
The recommended time to apply for the India study visa is 3-4 months prior to the start of the semester at the concerned university. The process of obtaining an Indian study visa is fairly simple. Applicants are required to fill an online application through the government website, and then visit an Indian embassy with a printout of the application and required travel documents. Required Documents:
Passport with 6-month validity
Passport size photographs
Photocopy of passport
Proof of residential address
Copy of online filled form
University admission letter
Study in India: Living Expenses
According to a report by HSBC, India is the cheapest place for an international student to attend a university, with the annual expenditure coming to USD 5,642. When compared with other top study abroad destinations like Australia (USD 42,093), US and UK, India is a great option for students from SAARC countries. Cost of living includes accommodation, food, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses. These vary from region to region and also depend on the lifestyle of the student.
Rent in India varies highly depending on the location in the city and the city itself. For example – rent in Bombay is very high compared to other cities. Fortunately, all the top institutes including IITs provide in campus hostel facilitates to international students aspiring to study in India, including commodities like Internet and utilities like electricity. There are other options like private flat and paying guest. The private flat would be expensive than the hostel, and also depends on the number of flatmates. However, an agreement would have to be signed with a security deposit and one or two months rent in advance. In addition, getting a flat might be hard due to the foreign and bachelor status of the student. PG will be available on sharing basis with utilities like electricity not included in the monthly rent.
If the student is living in the hostel, a mess would be included with the accommodation. Eating is not expensive due to the number of options available to international students aspiring to study in India. Near universities, restaurants and cafes are present to provide food at reasonable cost to students.
Major cities like Delhi and Mumbai have metro (subway) that cover many areas. International students aspiring to study in India in the metro cities are suggested to buy the metro card.
1,500 to 4,500 per week
200 to 500 per week
50 to 100 per week
500 to 1000 per week
Study in India: Know all about best universities
Work after study in India
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