Top Arts, Science and Commerce Colleges in India 2016
Updated on Jul 20, 2016 - 3:26 p.m. IST by Team Careers360
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Careers360 brings you a comprehensive list of top Arts, Science and Commerce colleges in India for the year 2016. In India, there are nearly 38,000 higher educational institutions including 824 universities in the country, catering to nearly 6.4 million students passing out of 10+2 schools each year. Among those students around 3.5 million choose to study general degree programme in Arts, Science and Commerce faculties in about 11,000 colleges located across length and breadth of the country.

A range of new undergraduate degrees with unique nomenclature like BBA, BACS, BIFS are also on offer. These degrees attempting to semi-professionalize what is otherwise a general and liberal education. While the majority of colleges stick to the plain vanilla offerings, some select private players, especially at the university level, do offer value-added undergraduate programmes, though at a price. The advent of private universities (both state private and deemed) has substantially altered the landscape of general undergraduate education.

Careers360 rating of best colleges for Arts, Science Commerce only focuses on affiliated and autonomous colleges of universities. No deemed or private university colleges have been brought into the list, since they are treated as universities. In the coming years, we hope to drill down and look at constituent colleges of private and deemed private universities like Christ, Jain, Amity and attempt to rate their general undergraduate programmes.


With an objective to ease the decision making process for undergraduate aspirants, Careers360 here lists out around 1500 colleges located in different parts– North, East, West, South and Central India.

 What we learnt from the evaluation process 


During this evaluation process, we came across some hard hitting facts. First is the simple revelation that close to 77 percentage of institutes do not have their official websites. In other words, only one in five institutes, has an online presence, wherein authentic and relevant information can be accessed. The second truth is the super mismatch in the various types of information provided (or grave error) on the institute’s website. For instance – one college in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh states it has 27 courses on offer but the total number of faculty in the college is only one. Another college with faculty strength of 197 in Haryana says they have 800+ research papers published in refereed national and international journals in an academic year. Similarly, accreditation in many colleges is considered equivalent to affiliation/approval. The third greater truth is about information obsolescence – the site is not updated for many years. The list goes on....


The shortlisting of degree colleges to a manageable size of around 4000 was based on three crucial factors: official website presence; accreditation as given by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC); and actual cut-offs (if available) for admission to various courses in the last two years. Critical data was searched on the official websites such as year of establishment, number and diversity of course offerings, student and faculty data, university affiliation, infrastructure, learning resources, recognition and so on. Further, the number was reduced to around 1200 institutes by scrutinizing these selected institutes to any recognition/award such as College with Potential for Excellence as assessed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the number of publications in refereed national/ international journals in the international database – the Web of Science.  Of these about 800 institutions that have ‘A’ grade in NAAC has been counted for rating. About 40 colleges that admit nationally through an open competition but still did not have a NAAC score has also been considered for rating. While NAAC is the primary criterion to define a rating cluster, the final grading has been decided on the basis of a composite score with weights allocated to autonomous status, publication record, competitive UGC grants and finally national standing as displayed by an open national admission policy.

Publication count

The scholarly productivity assessment of degree colleges in the country was carried out using Scientometric indicator by extracting the publication data of from the Web of Science (WoS) database produced by Thomson Reuters. This exercise was carried out on the WoS version that comprised Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), and Arts & Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI). The subject areas other than Science, Arts and Commerce, such as Medicine or Engineering, were excluded. The subjects in different streams were then clubbed in broader categories. The data collected was restricted to five years (2011-2015). For the assessment, records were searched using the following three approaches:

First, the ‘Organizations - Enhanced Field’ search string was used. Here, the popular or productive institute’s (organization) name and/or their name variants were grouped in one place and a search on the preferred organization name returned all records. In the second approach, lesser known institutes (or institutes the names of which are not been stored in the WoS database) were searched using their name in partial of full in the address field. In the address fields the names are entered in abbreviated form (e.g.  Inst for Institute and so on). The search string ‘India’ was common for all the three databases: SCI-Expanded; SSCI and A&HCI).

Rating criteria across domains –


Score Range



95 - 99 percentile



90 - 94 percentile



80 - 89 percentile

Very Good


70 - 79 percentile



60 - 69 percentile

Above Average


50 - 59 percentile



40 - 49 percentile



35 - 39 percentile



< 35 percentile



What does the list tell you?

Other magazines normally give you the top 50 or 20 colleges in each domain. This is not only misleading but also mostly irrelevant since a St. Stephen’s or a Presidency or a Loyola are sufficiently well-known brands for any 10+2 aspirant. It is beyond the top 20 in a state or top 2 or 3 in a district that matters to the student. Our objective always has been to help the student who is in the 80 or 85 percentile or even in the 70 percentile and help him or her find a better option.

So we have presented about 800+colleges which have been rated from AAAAA - indicating highest level of competition for entry, or very high quality education to AAA which indicates good education. We have also presented to you another 700 colleges that are accredited with at least a ‘B’ grade by NAAC but do not have any additional verifiable value-adds to be rated. Since they are accredited we presume at least they would offer a certain level of good education and hence have listed them for your reference.


Is the list perfect?

It is usable. Rating of educational institutions is always fraught with difficulties. Take for example Delhi’s St. Stephen’s College. It comes across as the most aspirational college for students and is almost impossible to get into. It boasts of an enviable alumni network. But it neither has a NAAC accreditation nor is one of the colleges selected by UGC as colleges with potential for excellence. It’s an excellent college and hence rated accordingly.


This is a fair representation of the status of general degree colleges in the country and the ratings can be used to make a shortlist. If a college is not rated please use the parameters mentioned to see if it is worth your money and time. We do not have sufficient data to determine if a college is good for Arts, Science or Commerce. So we have not segregated them on those lines. In the coming years we hope to widen and deepen our offerings.  


Good luck with your selections!


Stay tuned to for more updates on India’s Best Ranked Colleges 2016

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