Top Central Universities of India | Entrance Test | Eligibility | Admission | Difference with State Universities

Central Universities

In India there are there are three different type of public funded university – central, state and deemed. Formed by Government of India on the recommendation of parliament as an act, the Central Universities of India operates under the Department of Higher Education in the Union Human Resource Development Ministry. At present there are nearly 50 central universities in the country directly funded by the Government of India (GoI), prominent among them being Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Aligarh Muslim University. All the central universities are managed by UGC except Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and Central Agricultural University which are managed and funded by Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Agriculture respectively.

The Central Universities Act 2009 that regulates and governs the central universities. Central universities are permitted to award their own degree however they are restricted from granting affiliation to colleges. Also, according to UGC’s last published list, there are 46 deemed central universities in India offering MBA, B Tech, M Tech and Ph.D programs.

Characteristics of Central Universities –

  1. Get more funds (from central government)
  2. Eligibility criteria in the top central universities is high and demands good academic background
  3. Get better quality of students mainly through central level exams from all over the country
  4. Faculties and academic staffs get higher salaries
  5. Main focus for study of central universities on masters and PhD
  6. Research Scholars get more stipend
  7. Each university has its own chancellor and vice chancellor; chancellor can be the President of India
  8. Better exposure
  9. Higher Fees compared to state universities.
  10. Curricula is comprehensive and well constructed

State universities

State universities on the other hand are established by an act of the concerned state legislature. Currently India has nearly 215 state universities which are funded primarily by the respective state governments.

Characteristics of State Universities –  

  1. Established by state government on recommendation of legislative assemblies
  2. Funded by primarily by state and sometimes by central govt
  3. Each university has its own vice chancellor while the chancellor is always the governor of that state
  4. Get fewer funds (from state government) although education cost is subsidized heavily.
  5. Get best quality of students from a particular state. Cultural diversity is absent as most seats are reserved for domiciled students.
  6. Faculties and academic staffs get lower salaries. Research Scholars get lower stipend.
  7. Less exposure compared to central universities.
  8. Lower Fees compared to central universities
  9. Top state universities include Calcutta University, Jadavpur University, Anna University etc.
  10. Salary of employees is lower than central universities and admission course fee is also higher than many central universities.
  11. Almost Each university has around 500 (public funded and private) colleges
  12. State Universities handle more students than central university

The Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUCET)

CUCET is an all-India entrance exam conducted once a year across 120 cities in India in offline mode (pen & paper), jointly by 14 central universities for admission in UG, PG, and Ph.D. courses offered in all the participating institutions. A total of 20 universities participate, including 13 central universities and apart from them, Dr. B R Ambedkar School of Economics (BASE) is also a participating institute for the exam. The Central University of Rajasthan is the coordinating university for the exam. Candidates must meet the eligibility criteria set by the Central Universities in order to apply and appear for CUCET.

  • Year started: 2010
  • Purpose: Admission to undergraduate, postgraduate, M.Phil and PhD courses
  • Countries / regions: India
  • Offered: Once a year
  • Duration: 2hours

CUCET 2021 Eligibility

For UG: Passed class XII from a recognized board, General category candidate must have a minimum 50 per cent in class XII, SC/ST candidates must have a minimum of 45 per cent in class XII.

For PG: Must have a Bachelor’s degree from a recognised university. Candidates must have got a minimum of 55 per cent (General)/ 50 per cent (SC/ST) to be eligible for CUCET 2021.

For PhD: Candidates applying for PhD programme must have a Master’s degree for a recognised university or institute. The candidate must have minimum of 55 per cent (Genera)/ 50 per cent (SC/ST) to be eligible for PhD programmes in the Central Universities.

Note: Those who have cleared UGC-CSIR JRF, GATE, NBHM or qualified other national level exams need not appear for the entrance test, but  have to register for CUCET 2021.

CUCET 2021 Important dates

  • Registration – Likely in Mar 2021
  • Admit card available – Likely in May 2021
  • Exam – Likely in May 2021
  • Results available – Likely in Jun 2021

Exam dates may change. There may be optional or additional dates. Check the official website.

Top 6 central universities in India as per NIRF rankings 2020

1. Jawaharlal Nehru University, (JNU) New Delhi (NIRF rankings 2020 # 2) –

A public central university, JNU is located in New Delhi. It was established in 1969 and named after Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister. The university is known for leading faculties and research emphasis on liberal arts and applied sciences. JNU was awarded the “Visitor’s Award” for “Best University” in 2017 by the President of India.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University’s academic departments are divided into 20 Schools and Centres –

  • School of Arts & Aesthetics
  • School of Biotechnology
  • School of Computational and Integrative Sciences
  • School of Computer and Systems Sciences
  • School of Engineering
  • School of Environmental Sciences
  • School of International Studies
  • School of Language Literature and Culture Studies
  • School of Life Sciences
  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee School of Management and Entrepreneurship
  • School of Physical Sciences
  • School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies
  • School of Social Sciences
  • Centre for the Study of Law and Governance
  • Special Centre for Disaster Research
  • Special Centre for E-Learning
  • Special Centre for Molecular Medicine
  • Special Centre for Nanoscience
  • Special Centre for National Security Studies
  • Special Centre for the Study of North East India

2. Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi (NIRF rankings 2020 #3)

Banaras Hindu University is a creative and innovative university was created under the Parliamentary legislation – B.H.U. Act 1915 and was founded by the great nationalist leader, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, in 1916 with cooperation of great personalities like Dr Annie Besant, who viewed it as the University of India. The area of the main campus of this premiere Central University is 1300 acres Another campus of the university at Barkachha , in Mirzapur district, covering an area of 2700 acres is coming up. The university comprises 3 Institutes, 14 Faculties 140 Departments, 4 Inter-disciplinary Centers a constituent college for women’s and 3 Constituents Schools, spanning a vast range of subjects pertaining to all branches of humanities, social science, technology, medicine ,science, fine arts and performing arts. It has 6 centres of Advanced Studies, 10 Departments under Special Assistance Programme and a large number of specialized Research Centers. Four Degree Colleges of the city are affiliated to the University. The 927 bed hospital of the University is equipped with all the modern amenities. The University has about 15000 students, 1700 teachers, and 8000 non-teaching staff. Students from countries like U.S.A, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa etc., study here.


Under GraduatePost GraduateSpecial Courses(Diploma)Ph.D./Research
Institutes of Agricultural Sciences:Institute of Medical Sciences: 

Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development:Faculties:Arts
B.A. HonsCommerce
Performing Arts


Social Sciences

SanskritVisual Arts

Mahaila Maha Vidyalaya

Institutes of Agricultural Sciences:Institute of Medical Sciences: 






Management Studies

Performing Arts


Special Courses:Social Sciences

Special Courses

Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan 

Visual Arts

Mahaila Maha Vidyalaya
Institutes of Agricultural Sciences


Faculty of ArtsCommerce


Management Studies

Performing Arts


Dental Sciences


Social Sciences
Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vijnan Visual Arts
Institutes of Agricultural Sciences:

Faculty of ArtsPerforming Arts

Social Sciences 

Sanskrit Vidya Dharma Vigyan




Dental Sciences
Environment & Sustainable Development

Visual Arts 


Management Studies


3. University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad (NIRF rankings 2020 #7)

The University of Hyderabad is a central research university, founded in 1974. It is primarily a residential campus with more than 5,000 students and 400 faculty, belonging to different disciplines.

The university received Institution of Eminence status, in September 2019, which is recognition of UoH’s standing, ability and potential to move into the league of the world’s best institutions. With the additional funding, autonomy and support from the Government of India, we are positioned and mandated to figure in the World’s 500 Best Universities in the next few years. The university’s application, weighed and scrutinised thoroughly for its administrative, academic, financial plans, was prepared through a three-month consultative and deliberative process across all Schools and Departments of the University.

  • School of Mathematics & Statistics
  • School of Chemistry
  • School of Computer & Information Sciences
  • School of Humanities
  • School of Management Studies
  • S N School of Arts & Communication
  • School of Physics
  • School of Life Sciences
  • School of Social Sciences
  • School of Engg. Sciences & Tech
  • School of Economics
  • School of Medical Sciences

4. University of Delhi, Delhi (NIRF rankings 2020 #8) –

Delhi University is a collegiate public central university, located in New Delhi, India. It was founded in 1922. The University has grown into one of the largest universities in India. At present, there are 16 faculties, 86 academic departments, 77 colleges and 5 other recognized institutes spread across city, with 132,435 regular students.

Founded in 1922 as a unitary, teaching and residential University by the Act of the then Central Legislative Assembly, The University of Delhi is a premier university of the country with a venerable legacy and international acclaim for highest academic standards, diverse educational programmes, distinguished faculty, illustrious alumni, varied co-curricular activities and modern infrastructure. The university offers 540 programs which include undergrad programs offered by colleges under the university and also host of post-grad programs including masters, M. Phil and PhD and diploma and certification courses. The university comprises 91 colleges, 16 faculties, 86 departments, 20 centres and 3 institutes. According to 2018-19 data there are 193380 undergrad and 26925 post-grad students.

Admission to the prestigious colleges under DU is done either by entrance-exam or by means of merit. The entrance exams are held by the National Testing Agency (NTA) while for merit-based entry the university releases qualification cut-offs every year.

As the university initiates its registration process for the new academic year we at have collated all the necessary details about getting admission to this premier university.


  • Applied Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Arts
  • Commerce & Business Studies
  • Education
  • Interdisciplinary & Applied Sciences
  • Law
  • Management Studies
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Medical Sciences
  • Music
  • Open Learning
  • Science
  • Social Sciences
  • Technology
  • Affiliated Faculties

5. Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), New Delhi (NIRF rankings 2020 # 10)

Jamia Millia Islamia made a modest beginning in 1920 at Aligarh, with the resolute determination of its founding members–Shaikhul Hind Maulana Mahmud Hasan, Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Jenab Hakim Ajmal Khan, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, Jenab Abdul Majeed Khwaja, and Dr. Zakir Hussain to create an institution that would manifest indigenous ethos and spirit of plurality. It was conceived as a national institution that would offer progressive education and nationalist ideals to students from all communities, particularly the Muslims.

The University has been benchmarking its teaching and research processes by increasing its interface with foreign educational institutions through faculty exchange, student exchange, joint research, joint conference and joint publication. The university encourages entrepreneurship and innovation on the campus and facilitate campus recruitments. We are connecting our students to the world. Jamia Millia Islamia completed hundred years of its existence in 2020.


  • Department of Adult and Continuing Education and Extension
  • Department of Applied Art
  • Department of Applied Sciences & Humanities
  • Department of Arabic
  • Department of Architecture
  • Department of Art Education
  • Department of Art History & Art Appreciation
  • Department of Biosciences
  • Department of Biotechnology
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Civil Engineering
  • Department of Commerce and Business Studies
  • Department of Computer Engineering
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Educational Studies
  • Department of Electrical Engineering
  • Department of Electronics & Communication Engineering
  • Department of English
  • Department of Geography
  • Department of Graphic Art
  • Department of Hindi
  • Department of History and Culture
  • Department of Islamic Studies
  • Department of Mathematics
  • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Department of Painting
  • Department of Persian
  • Department of Physics
  • Department of Political Science
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Sanskrit
  • Department of Sculpture
  • Department of Social Work
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Teacher Training & Non-formal Education
  • Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management
  • Department of Urdu
  • University Polytechnic

6. Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh (NIRF rankings 2020 #11)

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, was established in 1920 and evolved out of the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College (MAO College), set up in 1877 by Sir Syed Ahmad khan. The campus is apread over 467.6 hectares and offers more than 300 courses. It draws students from India as well as from Africa, West Asia and Southeast Asia and has more than 28,000, students, 1,342 teachers and 5,610 non-teaching staff. It has 12 faculties comprising 98 teaching departments, 3 academies and 15 centres and institutes. There are 19 halls of residence for students with 80 hostels.

Apart from the conventional Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in Social Sciences, Sciences and Humanities, the university offers  specialized learning in technical, vocational and interdisciplinary studies. It has the Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Dr. Ziauddin Dental College, Institute of Ophthalmology, Food Craft Institute, Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Unit, Centre of Advanced Study in History, Department of West Asian Studies, Centre of Wildlife, Centre for South African & Brazilian Studies, Department of Islamic Studies, Academic Staff College, Women’s College, Ajmal Khan Tibbiya College, University Polytechnic –separately for boys and girls and Computer Centre etc.


  • Advanced Centre For Women’s Studies
  • Agricultural Eco. & Business Mngt.
  • Agricultural Microbiology
  • Anaesthesiology
  • Anatomy
  • Applied Chemistry
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Applied Physics
  • Arabic
  • Architecture
  • Bio-Chemistry
  • Botany
  • Business Administration
  • Cardiology
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Commerce
  • Community Medicine
  • Computer Engineering
  • Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics
  • Dermatology
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronics Engineering
  • English
  • Fine Arts
  • Foreign Languages
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Geography
  • Geology
  • Hindi
  • History
  • Home Sciences
  • Interdisciplinary Biotechnology Unit
  • Interdisciplinary Department of Remote Sensing And GIS Applications
  • Islamic Studies
  • K.A. Nizami Centre For Quranic Studies
  • Law
  • Library And Information Science
  • Linguistics
  • Mass Communication
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medicine
  • Microbiology
  • Modern Indian Languages
  • Museology
  • Neuro Surgery
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Oral Pathology/Oral Medicine & Radiology
  • Orthodontics And Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • OTO-Rhino-Laryngology (E.N.T.)
  • Paediatrics
  • Pathology
  • Periodontics and Community Dentistry
  • Persian
  • Petroleum Studies
  • Pharmacology
  • Philosophy
  • Physical Education
  • Physics
  • Physiology
  • Plant Protection
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Political Science
  • Post Harvest Engineering and Technology
  • Prosthodontics and Dental Material
  • Psychiatry and Psychology
  • Radio-Diagnosis
  • Radiotherapy
  • Saidla
  • Sanskrit
  • Sociology
  • South African & Brazilian Studies
  • Statistics and Operations Research
  • Strategic & Security Studies
  • Urdu
  • West Asian Studies and North African Studies
  • Wildlife Sciences
  • Zoology

Other renowned central universities

  1. Visva Bharati, Kolkata (NIRF rankings 2020 #19)
  2. Tezpur University, Tezpur (NIRF rankings 2020 #30)
  3. Panjab University, Punjab (NIRF rankings 2020 #33)
  4. Pondicherry University, Puducherry (NIRF rankings 2020 #37)
  5. North Eastern Hill University, Shillong (NIRF rankings 2020 #48)
  6. Assam University, Silchar
  7. Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow
  8. Central Agricultural University, Imphal
  9. Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar
  10. Central University of Haryana, Mahendergarh
  11. Central University of Himachal Pradesh, Kangra
  12. Central University of Jammu, Samba Jammu
  13. Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi
  14. Central University of Karnataka, Gulbarga
  15. Central University of Kashmir, Srinagar
  16. Central University of Kerala, Kasaragod
  17. Central University of Orissa, Koraput
  18. Central University of Punjab, Bathinda
  19. Central University of Rajasthan, Ajmer
  20. Central University of South Bihar, Chhajjubagh, Patna
  21. Central university of Tamil Nadu, Tiruvarur
  22. Dr. Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya, Sagar
  23. English & Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
  24. Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur
  25. Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Garhwal
  26. Indian Maritime University, Chennai
  27. Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha
  28. Mahatma Gandhi Central University, North of Ganga, Bihar
  29. Manipur University, Imphal
  30. Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad
  31. Mizoram University, Aizwal
  32. Nagaland University, Zunheboto
  33. Nalanda University, Nalanda
  34. Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University, Raebareli
  35. Rajiv Gandhi University, Itanagar
  36. Sikkim University, Gangtok
  37. The Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Anuppur
  38. Tripura University, Tripura
  39. University of Allahabad, Allahabad


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