A historic milestone has been reached as 91 Indian universities secured positions in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings. The top-performing institution, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, has re-entered the global top 250 for the first time since 2017.
This significant increase from the previous year’s count of 75 universities comes despite the continued absence of the top Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) from the rankings for the fourth consecutive year. India has risen to become the fourth most represented nation in the 2024 rankings, up from sixth place in the previous year.
The London-based THE magazine released these rankings, with the second-best-performing Indian universities, including Anna University, Jamia Millia Islamia, Mahatma Gandhi University, Shoolini University of Biotechnology and Management Sciences, all falling in the 501-600 range.
Two IITs, the Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati and the Indian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines) in Dhanbad, made notable progress by moving up two bands to join the top 800 universities globally, shifting from the 1001-1200 range to the 601-800 range.
Other universities, such as Anna University in Chennai, Aligarh Muslim University, Bharathiar University in Coimbatore, and Malaviya National Institute of Technology in Jaipur, also improved their positions within the rankings.
Notably, seven IITs, including Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras, and Roorkee, opted out of the THE World University Rankings in 2020 due to concerns about transparency and standards, but IIT Guwahati re-entered the rankings in the following year.
The 2024 rankings, now in their 20th year, evaluated 1,904 universities from 108 countries and regions across 18 indicators that assess the core missions of universities, including teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and internationalization. These indicators were grouped into five pillars, including teaching, research quality, research environment, international outlook, and industry.
Despite methodological changes affecting some Indian institutions, the overall trend is positive, with IISc’s rise into the top 250 and several other institutions making progress, according to Phil Baty, THE’s Chief Global Affairs Officer.
The University of Oxford in the UK holds the top spot in the world rankings, followed by Stanford University in the United States and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in third place.
This year saw the inclusion of 165 universities being ranked for the first time, with 89 of them hailing from Asia, including one newly ranked institution from mainland China. Mainland China is home to the highest-ranked universities in Asia, with 33 Asian universities now in the top 200, driven primarily by China and Japan.