Most universities in India are financed primarily by state governments.

Country Overview

India is the world’s largest democracy and one of its oldest and most diverse cultures. Its land sweeps down from the Himalayas of the north, past the jungles of the east, and westward to the offshore islands of the Arabian Sea. It was under British rule from the early 1800s until 1947, when the nonviolent resistance led by Mohandas Gandhi led to independence. That year the subcontinent was partitioned along religious lines into India and Pakistan. Since then the two countries have fought three wars; the disputed territory of Kashmir remains a flash point. Propelled by a fast-growing economy, particularly in the information-technology sector, India emerged in the 1990s as a major power. Economic growth has fostered a middle class, but the country still struggles with poverty, environmental degradation, Hindu-Muslim conflict, and the legacy of its caste system. Its film industry, called Bollywood, is the most prolific in the world.


The climate of India defies easy generalization, comprising a wide range of weather conditions across a large geographic scale and varied topography. Analyzed according to the Köppen system, India hosts six major climatic subtypes, ranging from desert in the west, to alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, to humid tropical regions supporting rain forests in the southwest and the island territories. Many regions have starkly different micro climates. The nation has four seasons: winter (January and February), summer (March to May), a monsoon (rainy) season (June to September), and a post-monsoon period (October to December).

India's unique geography and geology strongly influence its climate; this is particularly true of the Himalayas in the north and the Thar Desert in the northwest. The Himalayas act as a barrier to the frigid katabatic winds flowing down from Central Asia. Thus, North India is kept warm or only mildly cold during winter; in summer, the same phenomenon makes India relatively hot. Although the Tropic of Cancer—the boundary between the tropics and subtropics—passes through the middle of India, the whole country is considered to be tropical.


$1,242,000,000,000 (2009 est.)


1,176,917,000 (2010 est.)

Overview of Higher Education

Most universities in India are autonomous institutions financed primarily by state governments. So-called central universities, however, are supported by the federal government. Some universities, known as “deemed,” teach only one discipline. 

Bachelor’s degrees typically require three years of study; some subjects, such as engineering, dentistry, pharmacy, and architecture, can require four to five years of study. A standard two years of study is generally required for a master’s degree, while another year and a half is required for the predoctoral master of philosophy. A doctorate may be awarded no sooner than three years after a master’s and two years after a master of philosophy. 

Only about 12 percent of India's college-age population enrolls in higher education, in part because of a lack of capacity.

(Sources: BBC, The Europa World of Learning, Department of Higher Education of the Government of India)

Number of Colleges, Universities, Technical Institutes

Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (total): 18,153

Number of Higher Education Students

Number of students enrolled: 9,954,000

Contact Information

Ministry of Human Resource Development Department of Higher Education

Department of Higher Education
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Government of India, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi-110 115

Web site: http://www.education.nic.in/uhe/uhe.asp

Phone: 91-11-23386451

E-mail:  secy.dhe@nic.in

Contact:  Vibha Puri Das, Secretary for Higher Education