How to Study in India for International Students (4 Steps)

With more than 8,000 universities and 39,000 colleges, India is home to the world’s third-largest higher educational system. These offer a combined capacity of 20 million students, which allows Indian schools to serve both local and foreign students.

Apart from providing a wealth of university options, Indian education is also known to be at par with other countries – at a quarter of the price. Three of its institutes are included in the world’s top 200, with 5 more in the top 300-500 bracket. With these attractive factors, India has become one of the top destinations for international students.

In this article, we will be looking at how international students can study in India as international students.

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Study in India for International Students

If you desire to study in India, you need to do the following:

  • You need to be able to finance your education in India. Fortunately, the living cost in India is affordable. So, this shouldn’t be a problem for most people. In addition, you can fund your studies by getting scholarships, working while studying, and going to affordable universities in India.
  • To be eligible to apply, you need to meet the application requirements of Indian universities. You need to plan in advance to do this. We will cover what requirements you need to meet in the later section.
  • When you’ve met the eligibility requirements, you should apply!
  • Then, after you got accepted, you need to apply for a student visa.


1. Financing Your Education in India

True enough, Indian universities cost cheap. Government institutions cost about $400 a year, while private universities cost about $3,000 a year.

Post-graduate education, on the other hand, has an average annual tuition fee of $4,000.

You can even study in India for free, as the government offers a scholarship program called “Study in India.” As many as 2,000 students will be given a bursary worth $3,500 each. This applies to all levels of study (undergraduate to graduate).

Living in India is also very affordable – 67% cheaper than living in the US, to be exact. Accommodations only cost about $200 to $600 every month. Other monthly expenses include utilities at $37, transport pass at $10, and meals at about $60. This gives you enough money to spend on leisure, which could cost you about $28 to $60 a month.


2. Meet the Application Requirements for Indian Universities

To study in India as an international student, you need to complete the following requirements:

General English Requirements (Undergraduate)

Indian universities teach all of their courses in English. Although this is the case, not all institutions require proof of testing. As such, you need to check with your university if it requires proficiency tests for applicants.

Those that require English exams include Jawaharlal Nehru University. Here, the minimum admissible grade is B+ for the IELTS, TOEFL, and ELICS. This equates to a band 6.5 for IELTS and about 79-93 for the TOEFL iBT.

Meanwhile, at the University of Delhi, the required scores are markedly lower. The university will accept applicants with a minimum TOEFL iBT score of 90 and an IELTS band of 6. It also recognizes the Intermediate Level of English Language Proficiency Course (ELPC) with a grade of C or 60%.

Despite the proficiency requirements, certain applicants may be exempted. Students from English-speaking countries – and those who have passed the qualifying exam with English as the medium of instruction – will not be required to undergo proficiency exams.

General English Requirements (Graduate)

The same English proficiency grades apply to post-graduate applicants. Again, make sure to check with your university as the minimum admissible scores may vary according to school/program.

Take the case of the University of Hyderabad, which has a higher grade requirement compared to most Indian universities. Graduate students need to possess a minimum score of 6.5 for the IELTS, 80 for TOEFL iBT, 560 for TOEFL PBT, and 220 for TOEFL CBT.

Meanwhile, at Christ University, an IELTS band of 6 or a TOEFL iBT score of 79 will suffice. Apart from these, the school also considers a TOEFL CBT score of 213 and a TOEFL PBT grade of 550. If you don’t possess any of these exams, then you will need to enroll in an Intensive Certificate Course that runs from March to May. Another option is a One Semester Certificate Course that spans from June to December.

Application Requirements (Undergraduate)

If you want to study for your bachelor’s degree in India as an international student, here are the admission requirements that you should submit:

  • Passport
  • Proof of secondary schooling (at least 12 years)
  • Transcript of records

Additional requirements may be levied by your university, so make sure to check with your admissions advisor regarding this.

At the University of Delhi, certain programs have special requirements. For example, Fine Arts applicants need to supply a copy of their painting, while prospective Music students need to submit an audio file.

Meanwhile, at Jadavpur University, applicants need to submit an SAT score, recommendation letters, and a 300-word essay. Some programs also require a completed paper, personal interview, and statement of purpose, to name a few.

Application Requirements (Graduate)

The above-mentioned requirements also apply to graduate students. These applicants, however, need to submit a Bachelor’s and/or Master’s diploma in place of the certification for secondary schooling.

Depending on the university, other requirements may be needed. You may check this with your school’s admissions office.

A good example is the University of Delhi. Here, post-graduate applicants need to submit proof of financial support, a research proposal, and recommendation letters.

At Nalanda University, master’s applicants also need to submit their GMAT score, a self-introduction or bio-note statement, and a statement of purpose. Working executives also need to have 5 years’ experience, as well as a no-objection certificate from the employer.

Requirements for doctorate students are even more plentiful, as foreign students also need to submit the following:

  • Master’s degree certification with a GPA of at least 65%
  • Recommendation letters
  • Detailed research proposal
  • Evidence of past research/publications

Some schools also include interviews as part of the admission process.

Preparing the application requirements is one of the most important steps in studying in India for international students. Make sure to prepare carefully.

3. Apply

Applying early can help improve your chances of being able to study in India as an international student. As such, you need to follow the deadlines mentioned below:


Universities in India start the semester in August or September. Because of this, application deadlines vary. With that being said, you must check with your school regarding its intake period for international students.

For example, at Jadavpur University, applications are accepted until late June. At Madras University, applicants can submit their documents from mid-April to early May.

Application fees cost as cheap as $2 to as much as $50.


As mentioned, deadline schedules differ amongst universities. As always, you need to check with your admissions office regarding its application intake.

At Jadavpur University, submission deadlines depend on the program. MA applicants can turn their documents in until mid-June, while M.Sc. students have until mid-July to apply.

At Madras University, most Master’s programs accept applications from mid-April to mid-June. Doctorate students, on the other hand, have until the end of July to apply.

Application fees range average at $7 to $8, with some private universities levying as much as $50 per applicant.

4. Getting a Student Visa

Once you have been accepted to your program of choice, you may apply for a student visa. Getting an Indian student visa is the easiest step in this whole process for international students to study in India.

You need not go to the consulate at the beginning as you can apply through the Indian Visa Online portal. All you need to do is fill the online application form and submit the required documents, which include the following:

  • Passport with 6 months validity
  • Photocopy of the passport ID page
  • Passport size photographs
  • Proof of residential address
  • Proof of admission to an Indian higher education institution
  • University/college details

The processing period is usually 3 business days (minimum). The fee will depend on your nationality or where you apply. This can range from $70.70 to $236.70.

An Indian student visa is valid throughout your studies. It permits multiple entries within the maximum period of 5 years. If needed, you may also extend the visa validity while in India.


With its excellent educational tradition, India has become one of the most favored destinations for international students. With the country’s rich culture – coupled with its cheap tuition fees – India can give you a world-class education for a very reasonable price.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Scholarships Page.