When we hear about the largest universities in the world we think about the most renowned universities in the world like Oxford, Yale or Harvard, but you would be surprised to know that when it comes to number of students these universities are not even among the top ten.
Most of the largest universities are government owned but there are a few private institutions which have the capability to enroll tens of thousands of students. Such universities can consist of a single campus in one location or they may have multiple campuses across the country.
Here are the top ten largest universities in the world.
10. Chaudhary Charan Singh University – India
Formerly known as the Meerut University, the Chaudhary Charan Singh University is located in the city of Meerut in the Uttar Pradesh province of India. The university was renamed after the then prime minister of India, Chaudhary Charan Singh, the university was opened in 1965.
The Chaudhary Charan Singh University has the distinction of being the first Indian university to start an M.Phil programme in 1969. The total number of students enrolled in the university is 560,000, making it one of the largest universities in the world.
9. Tribhuvan University – Nepal
Located in the small town of Kirtipur in Nepal, the Tribhuvan university was founded in 1959 and it is the first higher education institution of Nepal. The university offers more than 4,400 courses, 2,000 of which are for postgraduates, 2.079 are for undergraduates and 500 for intermediate-level which is equivalent to high school.
Besides the main campus the Tribhuvan university has 88 constituent campuses all over Nepal, the university also has 1.033 affiliated colleges. The university is financed by the government and is more affordable than private options. The total number of enrolled students in Tribhuvan university is 604,437.
8. Universitas Terbuka – Indonesia
The University of Terbuka is a public university focusing mainly on open and distance learning programs, the motto of this university is “Making Higher Education Open to All”. The university was established on September 4, 1984.
The university has set an objective for itself to become the leading distance learning university in the world, so that it can cater to people living in remote islands of Indonesia and to people living outside the country. The total number of enrolled students in Universitas Terbuka is 646,467.
7. Bangladesh Open University – Bangladesh
The Bangladesh university was opened on October 21, 1992 and this public university’s main campus is located in Gazipur District, Dhaka division, Bangladesh. At the time of establishment this was the only Bangladeshi university to offer distance learning programs.
Two types of programs are offered in the Bangladesh open university i.e formal and non-formal in 1,000 tutorial centers, 80 coordinating offices, 12 regional resource centers and seven schools. The total number of students enrolled in the university are 650,000.
6. Payame Noor University – Iran
One of the largest universities of Iran, the Payame Noor University is public university’s main campus is located in Tehran, Iran. The university also has 500, local study centers, 31 provincial centers, an International Study Center in Tehran and numerous other campuses around the country.
The Payame Noor University was established in 1988 and it is under the control of the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology. The name of the university in Persian means “the message of light”. Almost 800,000 thousand students are enrolled in the university nationally or internationally.
5. Allama Iqbal Open University – Pakistan
Named after the great poet and philosopher Dr. Muhammad Allama Iqbal, this university was the first Asian open university focusing on distance learning in the fields of law, engineering, philosophy and natural and social sciences. The university was established in 1974 with its headquarter in Islamabad, Pakistan.
This is a public university offering extensive doctoral, post-graduate and undergraduate programs in different academic disciplines. The university is also known for providing higher education at a comparatively low cost. The total number of enrolled students in Allama Iqbal Open University is 1,326,948.
4. Islamic Azad University – Iran
The Islamic Azad University is among the largest system of universities, colleges and community colleges in the world. It is a private university and its motto is “Iranian Aspirations for Globalization”. It was established in 1982 and the headquarter is located in Tehran, it has 2 independent and 31 state university branches.
The Islamic Azad university also has 4 overseas branches, after the declaration by the Supreme Leader of Iran that said that financial endowment of this institution is unlawful, the university had to make changes in administration. According to estimates the number of students enrolled here are almost 7,000,000.
3. Anadolu University – Eskisehir Turkey
This public university is the largest university in Europe and the third largest university in the world by enrollment and it is located in Eskisehir, Turkey. The Anadolu University was established in 1982 by uniting four existing universities namely the Academy of Economics and Commercial Sciences of Eskisehir, the State Academy of Architecture and Engineering, the Institute of Education and medical college. The total number of students enrolled in the university are 1,974,343.
2. Bangladesh National University – Bangladesh
Located in Gazipur, the Bangladesh National University was established as an affiliating university, so that the affiliated colleges and professional institutions could impart post-graduate and graduate level education to the people of Bangladesh. The university was established in 1992 by an Act of parliament.
The main campus of the university is in Gazipur and it also has 2,254 affiliated colleges all around the country. The university is nicknamed “NUB” and the total number of enrolled students in the university is 2,097,182.
1. Indira Gandhi National Open University
Known popularly as IGNOU, the Indira Gandhi National Open University is the largest university in the world by enrollment. As many of the universities listed above Indira Gandhi National Open University also focuses on distance learning. The university is named after the former prime minister of India Indira Gandhi.
The motto of this university is “People’s University”, established in 1985 this university is located in the capital of India, New Delhi. The total number of students enrolled in this mega university is 3,499,999.