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Top 20 Most Oldest Universities of India

Updated on March 26, 2017
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Kannan loves to create articles comprising Top 10's/20's. He has a knack for preparing listicles that help readers obtain information.

It is amazing that some of the universities that still stand tall dates back to nearly two centuries. Saluting the spirit of such universities this is just a small effort to list the oldest universities in India.

Though this page doesn't include the likes of Nalanda University which happens to be one of the oldest universities of the world; here you'll only find universities that are still in their operations, which apparently Nalanda isn't.

As of writing, in 2017, there are more than 785 universities in India. Universities include state universities, central universities, and deemed universities. Some of the universities in India date back to the British era. Many universities which were started by the British still exist and have continued their operations since then.

It will come as a surprise to many as the oldest university in India is Senate of Serampore College/University which was established in 1818 and was the first to be granted as the university status in India. Serampore University received the status of a university in 1829.

University of Roorkee which is now known as the IIT Roorkee comes close at the second position. The year 1857 seems to be most fashionable year in pre-independence era to start universities; namely University of Mumbai, Madras, and Calcutta came into existence.

The state of Uttar Pradesh has the most number of mentions in the list with Aligarh Muslim University, Allahabad University, BHU (Banaras Hindu University), University of Lucknow, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, CSJ Medical University (formerly known as King George Medical College), and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University (Agra University).

Apart from University of Mumbai, Maharashtra also has Nagpur university which dates back its establishment to 1923. The historically and politically important state of Delhi has two universities in the list namely Jamia Millia Islamia and University of Delhi. Whereas the Osmania University comes at the 13th position which now has courses of every kind.

The table below shows the most oldest universities of India. The criteria for compiling the oldest universities was to select institutions which started its operation as universities or were granted university status.

List of the 20 most oldest universities of India

(click column header to sort results)
Senate of Serampore College (University)
Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (Formerly University of Roorkee)
University of Calcutta
University of Mumbai
University of Madras
Aligarh Muslim University
Panjab University, Chandigarh
Allahabad University
Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University
Banaras Hindu University
University of Mysore
Patna University
Osmania University
Jamia Millia Islamia
New Delhi
Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth
University of Lucknow
University of Delhi
New Delhi
Nagpur University
Andhra University
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University

1) Senate of Serampore College (University)

  • Established: 1818 University status in 1829 (199 years old)
  • Motto: The wise will possess glory
  • Serampore institute is the first institute of India to be granted the university status and also the oldest. This university only offers studies related to Theology/Divinity. The university has 52 colleges affiliated all over India.

2) Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (Formerly University of Roorkee)

  • Established: 1847 (170 years old)
  • Motto: Nothing can be achieved without hard work
  • This premier engineering college was earlier known as University of Roorkee. Later it was given the status of an IIT to re-brand itself as a sought after destination for engineering. Most engineering aspirants vie for a seat here.

3) University of Calcutta

  • Established: 1857 (160 years old)
  • Motto: Advancement of Learning
  • True to its motto this university is at the forefront when it comes to higher studies. University of Calcutta has given many students who have done great work in their respective fields of expertise. Some of the notable students include Rabindranath Tagore, C.V Raman, and Amartya Sen.

4) University of Mumbai

  • Established: 1857 (160 years old)
  • Motto: The Fruit of Learning is Good Character and Righteous Conduct
  • One of the major universities in India, this has more than 700 colleges affiliated to it. This is also one of the largest when it comes to the number of students.

5) University of Madras

  • Established: 1857 (160 years old)
  • Motto: Learning Promotes Natural Talent
  • With six campuses and more than 100 colleges affiliated to it this is one of the major centers of learning in South India. Among the affiliated colleges Loyola college, Presidency college, and Queen Mary's college are notable.

6) Aligarh Muslim University

  • Established: 1875 (142 years old)
  • Motto: Taught man what he knew not (Quran 96:5)
  • AMU is one of the few institutions that are conferred with the prestigious Institute of National Importance (INI). INIs are considered to be in the forefront of developing highly skilled and creative thinkers.

7) Panjab University, Chandigarh

  • Established: 1882 (135 years old)
  • Motto: Lead us unto the Light from Darkness
  • This university has more than 75 departments of teaching and research. Also has 3 regional centers and about 190 colleges. Has more than 550 acres of campus area.

8) Allahabad University

  • Established: 1887 (130 years old)
  • Motto: Every branch yields a Tree
  • It is also known as the Oxford of the East. This premier university covers fields such as Arts, Science, Commerce, Law, and Medicine through its courses. Allahabad university has the unique distinction of giving many notable politicians such as VP Singh, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arjun Singh among others.

9) Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University (King George Medical University)

  • Established: 1911 (106 years old)
  • Motto: Sincerity-Service-Sacrifice
  • Ranked among the top 10 medical colleges in India by various ranking organizations, Newspapers, and magazines. This was given the university status in 2002.

10) Banaras Hindu University

  • Established: 1916 (101 years old)
  • Motto: Knowledge imparts immortality
  • Students from all over India come here for higher studies. In fact it is the largest university when it comes to resident students. More than 20,000 students live and study here. Banaras itself is an important place politically as well as spiritually.

11) University of Mysore

  • Established: 1916 (101 years old)
  • Motto: Nothing is Equal to Knowledge
  • The erstwhile princely state of Mysore's Maharaja was instrumental in the foundation of this university. The university of Mysore is famous for its library all over India which has more than 800,000+ books.

12) Patna University

  • Established: 1917 (100 years old)
  • Motto: Satya Tatveya Vijeyagyatsmeva
  • Patna university is the first university that was established in Bihar. Among all the list of universities in Bihar this is the most famous. As of writing it has 10 colleges affiliated to it.

13) Osmania University

  • Established: 1918 (99 years old)
  • Motto: Lead us from Darkness to Light
  • If we analyze the above table then this is the oldest university in Telangana and the third oldest in South India. The university is built in the huge campus area of 1600 acres. The university department of engineering and the law college are ranked among the best in India.

14) Jamia Millia Islamia

  • Established: 1920 (97 years old)
  • Motto: He taught man what he knew not
  • Jamia is the oldest university of Delhi which was given the status of a central university in 1988. It has around 9 faculties of studies, some of which are: Faculty of Law, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Faculty of Architecture and Ekistics, Faculty of Fine Arts among others.

15) Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth

  • Established: 1921 (96 years old)
  • Motto: Knowledge imparts immortality
  • As Mark Twain once famously told: Varanasi" is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together. So Varanasi is obvious to have some of the oldest universities. This was established in early 20th century.

16) University of Lucknow

  • Established: 1921 (96 years old)
  • Motto: Light and Learning
  • Lucknow university is the 16th oldest university in India. Uttar Pradesh is the largest state when it comes to population. This list has seven universities from UP. Lucknow university is another one apart from the other five above and the last one being Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University which is at the 20th place.

17) University of Delhi

  • Established: 1922 (95 years old)
  • Motto: Dedicated to Truth
  • The second most oldest university in Delhi. In my opinion DU is the most sought after among students in this whole list. There are 77 colleges affiliated to it and has two campuses viz. the North campus and the South Campus.

18) Nagpur University

  • Established: 1923 (94 years old)
  • Motto: Not mentioned in the official website
  • The second most oldest university in Maharashtra after University of Mumbai. This has been accredited as a grade A university by NAAC. The university has two campuses the old one near Maharajbagh zoo which serves as the administrative section and the new one at Futala lake which caters to other departments and students.

19) Andhra University

  • Established: 1926 (91 years old)
  • Motto: May the Divine Light illuminate our studies
  • There is something about the motto of the universities which stresses upon the larger truth about the importance of education. Andhra universities motto seeks the divine powers of The almighty to lighten the lives of those seeking education. One more thing I quite like about all the universities is the entrance. The entrance of all major ones are excellent examples of fine architecture. Below is one such.

20) Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University

  • Established: 1927 (91 years old)
  • Motto: Tumso Maa Jyotigarmay
  • The last one is again from Uttar Pradesh which was formerly known as Agra University. Agra is known for the history and the Mughal reign. Ambedkar University is now known for its department in Institute of Engineering and Technology, Institute of Social Sciences, Dau Dayal Institute of Vocational Education, and School of Life Sciences.

So these were the top 20 oldest universities of India. Although the oldest university in the world which is still in its operation is University of Bologna, just for a fact and it was founded in 1088, that's something for a year.

Hope you liked the article and do share it with your friends.

© 2011 Kannan Reddy


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    • profile image

      S niyogi 2 months ago

      Krishnagar Govt college was established in 1846. Search in Google you will get it.

    • profile image

      Isha Singh 5 months ago

      Panjab University is the best university located in THE CITY BEAUTIFUL- CHANDIGARH with the most qualified staff and ample of opportunities to grab.

    • profile image

      21 months ago

      Great Information to india

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 2 years ago

      Quite interesting and informative hub!

    • profile image

      mamta 2 years ago

      Thanks for helping in my project...

    • profile image

      Avhidipto 2 years ago

      Presidency university is the oldest in India and one of the oldest in Asia also .The Calcutta university is the largest multidisciplinary university in Asia...also it has largest research institute also.. centre for research in nanoscience and nanotechnology...chk the website...

    • profile image

      Debmalya Dasgupta 2 years ago


      Its not my expertise, its my interest.

      Don't stop writing.


    • kannanwrites profile image

      Kannan Reddy 3 years ago from Mumbai

      @Debmalya Dasgupta This above writeup was indeed about the oldest universities and without any choice I had to include institutes which were given university status later their establishment.

      I don't know if universities and related topics are your area of expertise. But anyway thanks for your enriching comment and I must you have a great eye for research.

    • profile image

      Debmalya Dasgupta 3 years ago


      Good efforts to write something about the oldest educational institutions in India. Thank!

      But my first confusion is whether u mean "the oldest institutes in India" or "the oldest universities in India".

      If you consider the university, the university of Calcutta (January 1857) would be the oldest one. The second is the university of Bombay and third, the university of Madras.

      IIT Roorkey was given university status in 1948. Therefore, it should not be considered as the second oldest university in India. This is the oldest engineering college in India. Bengal Engineering College is being considered as the second oldest engineering college in India.

      Senate of Serampore College was established in 1818 by Danish Govt. and continued to give degree in arts and theology from 1827. In this respect, this college may be considered as the first university in India.

      If the topic was "the oldest college in India", then undoubtedly Presidency College (1817) would rank the first. It is the oldest college in south Asia. Please remember once it housed even some of the most prestigious institutions of India like the University of Calcutta, Bengal Engineering College and Indian Statistical Institute. The second oldest college is then Serampore College (1818).

    • kannanwrites profile image

      Kannan Reddy 3 years ago from Mumbai

      @Subir Happy to receive your comment. Note that Presidency University was given the status of full university only recently in 2010.

      Also, Bengal Engineering and Science University was recently indicted in the list as a university.

      Hope this clears your doubt about both of the above mentioned ones.

    • kannanwrites profile image

      Kannan Reddy 3 years ago from Mumbai

      @Akash Note that Gurukul Kangri University is a deemed university and was given the status much after the above list of varsities.

    • kannanwrites profile image

      Kannan Reddy 3 years ago from Mumbai

      @Ankit Please note that IISc Bangalore was given deemed university status in the year 1958 hence it didn't got a mention in the list.

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      ankit 3 years ago

      Why not IISc is in the list formed in 1911.

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      Subir 4 years ago

      Serampur College is a college under Calcutta University, you can see the university website.

      The first three universities established in India are Calcutta University, Madras and Bombay. Calcutta University was established on January, 1857. Then in July Bombay University was established and in September Madras University was established. So the rank that you have shown are wrong.

      Also you should know about the Presidency University, Kolkata established in 1817, probably the oldest one in India and it is not mentioned in the list.

      Also, Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur is not in the list. It was established in 1856. You show work out much before you write in the web..

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      Kannan Reddy 4 years ago from Mumbai

      @Manjunath Can you please shed some more light on what you want to say?

    • profile image

      Manjunath 4 years ago

      Simply its not reality

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      Siva 4 years ago

      Where is The Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore ???

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      akash 5 years ago

      well,i guess gurukul kangri university,haridwar should also have been in this list(established 1902 by swami shraddhanand)....btw,nice effort...

    • Sravanti Peri profile image

      Sravanti Peri 5 years ago from India

      Great piece of information. Really I never knew anything about this before

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      Md Mobasshir Reyaz 5 years ago

      Why Patna Univ doesn't get d tag of Central University despite of being so reputed n so old

    • kannanwrites profile image

      Kannan Reddy 5 years ago from Mumbai

      @TwilightDream Thanks for the valuable comment.

    • TwilightDream profile image

      TwilightDream 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Marked 'interesting'. Very great information about Indian Universities. Keep writing!