India’s Largest Universities: The 10 Biggest Schools

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The Top Ten

There are roughly 819 universities in India, all of which have numerous affiliated colleges. That number includes central, state, and private universities. This article will list the largest Indian university by student population and by campus size. It will conclude with a brief section discussing the difference between the different kinds of universities.

Universities with Large Student Population

At the top of the list is Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), the world’s largest university in terms of student population. IGNOU has gone a long way toward fulfilling its goal of providing higher education to everyone. It was founded in 1985 and has risen to tremendous heights in a very short period of time. Dubbed the People’s University, IGNOU has courses related to every field in every possible form including face-to-face, online, and distance education. It has the lowest fees of any university in India.

There are three other open universities including Dr. Ambedkar Open University, Yashwantrao Chavan Open University and the MP Bhoj University that make the list.

In second place is the University of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay University / University of Bombay) which has the second fastest growth in student population after IGNOU. Earlier it was in the seventh place but in less than five years it has moved into the second position. In addition to its distance education program, University of Mumbai has a number of affiliated colleges.

In 2010, The Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU) split, forming the Gautam Buddha Technical University(GBTU) and Mahamaya Technical University (MTU). In this list, both colleges are listed as a single entity until further data is made available.

The list has only one private university: Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) which posted impressive numbers right from its founding in 1995.

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Though Banaras Hindu University is the biggest university in terms of the number of students who live on campus, it is not included on this list because its total student population is around 40,000. It does however earn a place on the list of largest universities by campus size.

Note: The numbers given below reflect the number of students taking courses directly from the University, not affiliated colleges.

List of the Biggest Universities in India by Student Population

(click column header to sort results)

Rank  
University  
Founded  
State  
Enrollment  
1
Indira Gandhi National Open University
1985
Delhi
4,000,000+
2
University of Mumbai
1857
Maharashtra
549,432+
3
University of Pune
1948
Maharashtra
500,000+
4
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Open University
1982
Telangana
450,000+
5
University of Delhi
1922
Delhi
400,000+
6
Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University
1989
Maharashtra
400,000+
7
Sikkim Manipal University
1995
Sikkim
390,000+
8
Osmania University
1918
Telangana
300,000+
9
Uttar Pradesh Technical University
2000
Uttar Pradesh
150,000+
10
Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University
1991
Madhya Pradesh
150,000+
Universities with Large Campus Size

None of the universities on the previous list of largest universities by student population makes the cut for the list below of biggest universities by campus area. Strangely some of the universities with the largest campuses have much fewer students than you’d expect.

Some of the best-known universities on the list include Banaras Hindu University (1350 acres), Jawaharlal Nehru University of Delhi (1,000 acres), and the Bangalore University (1,100 acres).

The numero uno position is held by G.B Pant Agricultural University, which also happens to be the first agricultural university of India. Some other agriculture universities are Assam Agricultural University, Rajendra Agricultural University, and Indira Gandhi Agricultural University to name a few. Interestingly, G.B Pant is also the second largest university in the world in terms of total campus area, second only to Sewanee: The University of the South, which has 13,000 acres.

The state of Tamil Nadu is represented by Annamalai University and Tamil University with about 1,000 and 900 acres respectively. Also, there is Mizoram University to represent the northeast of India.

Three universities tie for tenth place: Sri Venkateshwara University, JNU of Delhi, and Annamalai University, all of which have 1,000 acres each.

Lastly, Banasthali university comes at the 16th place with about 850 acres. It is the only women’s university on the list.

India’s Biggest Universities by Campus Size

(click column header to sort results)

Rank  
University  
Founded  
State  
Campus Area (In Acres)  
1
G. B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology
1960
Uttarakhand
12,661
2
Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University
1970
Haryana
7,219
3
Banaras Hindu University
1916
Uttar Pradesh
Main campus 1,350, South campus 2700
4
University of Hyderabad
1974
Telangana
2,300
5
Osmania University
1918
Telangana
1,600
6
Punjab Agricultural University
1962
Punjab
1,510
7
1312.89
1946
Madhya Pradesh
1312.89
8
Aligarh Muslim University
1920
Uttar Pradesh
1,155
9
Bangalore University
1886
Karnataka
1,100
10
North Eastern Hill University
1973
Meghalaya
1,025
11
Sri Venkateswara University
1954
Andhra Pradesh
1,000
11
Jawaharlal Nehru University
1969
Delhi
1,000
11
Annamalai University
1929
Tamil Nadu
1,000
12
Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences / Allahabad Agriculture Institute
1910
Uttar Pradesh
900
13
Mizoram University
2001
Mizoram
978
14
Tamil University
1981
Tamil Nadu
900
15
Guru Ghasidas University
1983
Chattisgarh
875
16
Shivaji University
1962
Maharashtra
853
17
Banasthali Vidyapith
1935
Rajashthan
850

Different Kinds of Indian Universities

Universities in India are either central, state, private, deemed to be, or governed by an autonomous body. If all are included together there are a total of 785 universities (in 2017) and millions of colleges affiliated to them.

Central Universities

Central Universities are established by an act of Parliament. There are only 47 of these in all of India. Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi have the most with five each, while Telangana comes a close second with three central universities.

The north-eastern state of Assam has two central universities namely the Assam University and the Tezpur University. The rest of the states have at least one central university with the exception of Goa and Andhra Pradesh. After the division of Andhra Pradesh it does not have any central university.

State Universities

State universities are established, maintained, and funded by state governments. They can affiliate with colleges in their jurisdiction.

Deemed Universities

Deemed universities are operated by an autonomous body. This status is granted by the Department of Higher Education in the HRD ministry.

Private Universities

Private university status is also granted by the UGC. Unlike state universities, private universities can’t have affiliated colleges. In the future private university will come to the fore and play a major role in providing education. With more and more competition, students will have many options to choose from.

Below is the table summarizing the total number of universities and the number of Indian Institutes of Management, Indian Institutes of Technology, National Institutes of Technology and other Institute of National Importance (INIs).

Indian Universities and Institutions by Category

Universities
Number of Universities
Central Universities
47
State Universities
367
Private Universities
282
Deemed Universities
123
Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs)
20
Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)
23
National Institutes of Technology (NITs)
31
Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs)
23
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)
10
Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER)
8

India’s Largest Universities

I hope this list of our biggest universities gives you information which you can use. It discussed the central, state, and private universities, and listed the largest Indian university by student population and by campus size. Please leave a comment if you have more information about this subject.

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