In India students can obtain the following degrees:

Please note: not all Indian higher education institutions are permitted to award degrees. See Types of higher education institutions.

Pass bachelor

  • Duration: 3 years.
  • Content: usually English, a modern Indian language and 3 arts electives (e.g. humanities and visual arts), science (e.g. chemistry, physics and mathematics) of commerce (e.g. business administration, accountancy, economics); no thesis.
  • Admission requirements: a Standard XII diploma (or an equivalent), often with extra requirements, such as certain subjects and/or grades. An institution can also consider another diploma sufficient for admission.
  • Diploma: Bachelor of Arts (Pass), Bachelor of Science (Pass), Bachelor of Commerce (Pass). Instead of 'Pass' the term 'General' is also used.

We compare a Bachelor of Arts (Pass) to 2 years of research-oriented higher education (WO).

We compare a Bachelor of Science (Pass) to 2 years of research-oriented higher education (WO).

We compare a Bachelor of Commerce (Pass) to 3 years of higher professional education (HBO).

Honours bachelor

  • Duration: usually 3 years.
  • Content: a specialisation within the discipline of the arts (e.g. English language and literature or visual arts) or science (e.g. chemistry or biology) or subjects related to the discipline of commerce (with more theory and/or specialisation than the pass bachelor’s degree); sometimes includes a thesis or final project.
  • Admission requirements: a Standard XII diploma (or an equivalent), often with extra requirements, such as certain subjects and/or grades. Usually, higher grades are required than for admission to the pass bachelor’s programme. An institution can also consider another diploma sufficient for admission.
  • Diploma: Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Bachelor of Science (Honours), Bachelor of Commerce (Honours).

We compare a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) to 2 years of research-oriented higher education (WO).

We compare a Bachelor of Science (Honours) to 2 years of research-oriented higher education (WO).

We compare a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) to an HBO or a WO bachelor’s degree.

Please note: in terms of level, a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) or Bachelor of Science (Honours) is sometimes comparable to a WO bachelor's degree. This is the case if the diploma was obtained with at least first class/division and awarded by a top institution. This does not always apply to a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours).

We compare a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) with at least first class/division awarded by a top institution to a WO bachelor’s degree.

We compare a Bachelor of Science (Honours) with at least first class/division awarded by a top institution to a WO bachelor’s degree.

We compare a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) with at least first class/division awarded by a top institution to an HBO or a WO bachelor's degree.

Professional bachelor

  • Duration: 3 to 5½ years.
  • Content: lectures, often includes practicals and/or an internship and sometimes a thesis or final project.
  • Admission requirements: a Standard XII diploma (or an equivalent), often with extra requirements, such as certain subjects and/or grades. An institution can also consider another diploma sufficient for admission.
  • Diploma: Bachelor, for instance a Bachelor of Engineering (BE/BEng), Bachelor of Technology (BTech), Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA).

We compare a Bachelor of Engineering to an HBO bachelor’s degree.

We compare a Bachelor of Technology to an HBO bachelor’s degree.

We compare a Bachelor of Engineering with at least first class/division awarded by a top institution to an HBO or a WO bachelor’s degree.

We compare a Bachelor of Technology with at least first class/division awarded by a top institution to an HBO or a WO bachelor’s degree.

We compare a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) to a WO bachelor’s degree.

We compare a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) to a WO bachelor’s degree

We compare a Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) to 3 years of higher professional education (HBO).

Please note: some professional bachelor’s programmes, such as the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), vary from one institution to the next in terms of duration and content. Even within an institution, there are different variants of a BBA (or other professional bachelor’s programmes). We therefore compare some BBAs with 3 years of higher professional education and other BBAs with an HBO or WO bachelor's degree.

    Postgraduate bachelor

    • Duration: 1-3 years. A teacher-training programme (Bachelor of Education) usually lasts 1 year. For the study of law, both a postgraduate bachelor’s programme (3 years) and a professional bachelor’s programme (5 years) exist. Both lead to the same diploma (in terms of level), the Bachelor of Laws. The Library and Information Science study programme always lasts 1 year.
    • Content: the teacher-training programme is usually aimed at teaching 2 school subjects and the curriculum consists of educational subjects, education theory and teaching methods. Students do an internship, but do not write a thesis. With law, the emphasis is on the theory, but students usually do not write a thesis. Library and Information Science is a combination of (practice-oriented) theory and practicals (no thesis).
    • Admission requirements: a bachelor’s degree, often with certain grade average.
    • Diploma: Bachelor of Education (Bed), Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.), Bachelor of Library and Information Science (BLIS).

      We compare a Bachelor of Education to an HBO bachelor’s degree or a WO bachelor’s degree (with an educational minor).

      We compare a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) to a WO bachelor’s degree.

      General master

      • Duration: usually 2 years.
      • Content: subjects in the field of science, arts or commerce, sometimes an internship and usually no thesis. In many cases, little or no attention is given to academic research methods.
      • Admission requirements: a bachelor’s degree, which can also be in a non-relevant field. The admission requirements for students holding an honours bachelor’s degree are less strict than for those holding a pass bachelor’s degree: students holding a pass bachelor’s degree are sometimes required to take an entrance exam and/or to have obtained the pass bachelor’s degree with a higher average grade.
      • Diploma: Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Commerce.

      We compare a general master to an HBO master’s degree or a 1-year WO master’s degree.

      Professional master

      • Duration: 1-2 years, or 3 years (Master of Computer Applications).
      • Content: subjects in the area of the chosen specialisation, sometimes an internship and sometimes a thesis or research project.
      • Admission requirements: a bachelor’s degree, usually in a relevant field.
      • Diploma: Master, for instance Master of Business Administration, Master of Computer Applications, Master of Engineering, Master of Social Work, Doctor of Medicine.

      We compare a professional master to an HBO master’s degree or a (1-year) WO master’s degree.

      Dual/integrated master

      • Duration: 5 years.
      • Content: a combined bachelor's and master's degree programme. Subjects in the chosen specialisation, sometimes an internship and sometimes a thesis or research project.
      • Admission requirements: a Standard XII diploma (or an equivalent), often with extra requirements, such as certain subjects and/or grades. An institution can also consider another diploma sufficient for admission.
      • Diploma: Bachelor + Master, for instance Bachelor of Engineering + Master of Engineering, Bachelor of Science + Master of Science.

      We compare a dual/integrated master to an HBO master’s degree or a (1-year) WO master’s degree.

      Master of Philosophy

      The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) is a research master. Please note: in this context, the term ‘philosophy’ does not refer to any association of the programme with the study of philosophy, but rather to its foundation in research. MPhil programmes may be found in any branch of studies.

      • Duration: usually 1 year.
      • Content: research-oriented education and a thesis.
      • Admission requirements: a master’s degree, often with a certain average grade and/or an entrance exam.
      • Diploma: Master of Philosophy.

      We compare a Master of Philosophy to a WO master’s degree.

      Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

      A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a doctorate from a higher education institution. Usually, candidates continue to study in the field of study of their masters degree.

      • Duration: usually 5 years.
      • Content: academic research and a thesis, in some cases several subjects with regard to the research specialisation as well.
      • Admission requirements: in some cases a bachelor’s degree, usually a master’s degree, often with a certain average grade and an entrance exam. For some study programmes, students must first obtain a Master of Philosophy.
      • Diploma: Doctor of Philosophy.

      Other diplomas in higher education

      It is not only possible to obtain degrees in Indian higher education. Students can also obtain a different kind of diploma on completion of some study programmes. This is the case when they have completed their study programme at a stand-alone institution. Stand-alone institutions are not permitted to award bachelor’s or other degrees. See Types of higher education institutions.

      Types of diplomas

      Many study programmes offered by stand-alone institutions prepare students for medical or technical professions. In addition, a variety of study programmes are offered in business administration and management. These can differ considerably from each other in terms of admission requirements, duration, content and transfer entitlements. As a result, the levels of the diplomas also vary. We describe 2 common types below:

      • Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery
      • Post Graduate Diploma

      Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery 

      • Duration: 3 years.
      • Content: subjects in the area of nursing and midwifery, and internships, no academic research methods or a thesis.
      • Admission requirements: a Standard XII diploma (or an equivalent), often with extra requirements, such as certain subjects and/or grades.
      • Diploma: Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery, awarded by a State Board of Nursing and Midwifery (or an equivalent).

      We compare a Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery awarded by a State Board of Nursing and Midwifery (or an equivalent) to 2 years of higher professional education (HBO).

      Post Graduate Diploma

      • Duration: 1-2 years.
      • Content: subjects in the area of the chosen specialisation (often business administration and management). In some cases, students also take 1 or 2 subjects on academic research methods. They usually do not write a thesis.
      • Admission requirements: a bachelor’s degree (may be in a non-relevant field of study), usually with a certain average grade and sometimes an entrance exam.
      • Diploma: Post Graduate Diploma + specialisation, for instance Post Graduate Diploma in Management.

      We compare a Post Graduate Diploma to a post-HBO qualification or an HBO master’s degree.

      Diploma awarded by a board

      In non-university education, students sometimes take exams administered by a state board (or an equivalent). They are then awarded a diploma by that board and not by the educational institution itself. For points for attention, please see board exams.

      Types of higher education institutions

      Higher education institutions in India can offer both higher professional education and research-oriented higher education. The exception is the Institute of National Importance. This type of institutions offers only research-oriented higher education.

      There are different types of higher education institutions:

      • universities and university level institutions;
      • colleges and similar institutions;
      • stand-alone institutions.

      Universities and university level institutions

      Universities and university level institutions are allowed to award degrees, such as bachelors or masters. Types of institutions that fall into this category include:

      • central universities;
      • state universities;
      • open universities (for distance learning);
      • private universities;
      • deemed universities (institutions with the status of a university);
      • Institutes of National Importance;
      • institutes under State Legislature Act;
      • other institutions which are allowed to award degrees and are established on the basis of a State/Central Act or an Act of Parliament.

      Institutes of National Importance

      Institutes of National Importance are institutions known for the high standard of education they provide. They only offer academic study programmes. The Indian government can grant this status to institutions. Well-known examples include the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs). Admission to these types of institutions is very competitive. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) website provides an overview of all Institutes of National Importance. In this description, we refer to Institutes of National Importance as top institutions.

      Colleges

      Colleges and similar institutions offer education that is supervised by a university or university institution. There are 2 types of colleges:

      • university colleges/constituent colleges (established by the university or university institution);
      • affiliated colleges (affiliated with the university or university institution).

      Among other things, the university or university institution determines the content of the study programmes and awards the official degrees. Neither type of college is allowed to do that itself. Colleges gain more independence if they are granted the autonomous status.

      Autonomous colleges

      Both university/constituent colleges and affiliated colleges can be granted autonomous status. Autonomous colleges have greater independence than colleges without this status, for instance in terms of admission requirements and curricula. The university or university institution can apply for the autonomous status on behalf of colleges with the University Grants Commission (UGC). See the UGC website for the conditions.

      Autonomous colleges do, however, remain affiliated with the university or university institution, which also still awards the diplomas. The difference is that the name of the college also appears on the diploma.

      Stand-alone institutions

      Stand-alone institutions are independent institutions that are not affiliated with a university or university institution. They are not permitted to award degrees, so students obtain other qualifications from them. Examples of stand-alone institutions include polytechnics and nursing institutes. For a credential evaluation, it is important to check whether the institution is recognised and accredited. Please see Quality assurance: recognition and accreditation.

      Entrance exams

      National entrance exams do exist, but states and higher education institutions also administer their own entrance exams. An overview of national entrance exams can be found on the website of the National Testing Agency (NTA). Information about entrance exams for institutions which the NTA administers on their behalf can also be found on the NTA website.