Top 15 Distance Learning Universities in India for Arts and Humanities

Published: | September 20, 2019
 Distance Learning Courses in India

Distance education in India is bound to grow in leaps and bounds due to the easy availability of the internet and a steady decrease in the price of smartphones. Here are some distance learning courses offered by the best open universities in India.

Distance learning is a mode of education in which you study remotely from the location of your choice. It is fast becoming the preferred mode of higher education in India, especially for working professionals, and has already caught the attention of many higher education aspirants in India. According to the All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) in India 2017-18, published by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, 11% of the total higher education enrolments in India are in distance learning courses.

Considering that the total number of enrolled students last year was around 36.6 million, over 4 million students are enrolled in distance learning colleges in India.

While distance education may seem an invention of the post-internet 21st-century era, many educational institutions have been offering distance learning courses since as far back as the 19th century. However, the viability of distance education increased exponentially in a world focused on connectivity and staying online. It can be argued that only after the advent of the internet were the advantages of distance learning in India, a country with an education sector that is still miles away from achieving its full potential, truly realised.

Distance Education Advantages and Disadvantages

There are two sides to every coin and distance learning is no exception. While it does have its advantages, several downsides have also been noticed in this mode of education. While these may not directly apply to everyone, it is important to keep them in the back of your head when you are debating whether distance learning courses are the best choice for you.

The advantages of Distance Education are as follows:

  • Convenient: Since there is no set time or place for the classes, the course can be completed at a time that is convenient for you.

  • Cost-Effective: Distance learning course fees are generally much lower as compared to their regular counterparts. Plus, most of the study material during these programmes is electronic, which cuts short the price. And there is no transportation cost either.

  • Diverse: With location not being a limiting factor as there is no need to physically visit the campus, during enrolment and even examinations in many cases, students have a much wider range of distance learning colleges and course that they can take admission into.

    Plus, the online discussion forums offer scope for healthy discussions with your teachers as well as colleagues.

The disadvantages of Distance Education are as follows:

  • No Classroom Environment: The flip side of not having to visit a class is that you may feel a lack of companionship and healthy competition that can only be felt by being in a room with your friends and colleagues. Some students may also find that they learn and perform better in a face-to-face environment.

  • Lack of Companionship: Even though this may not be applicable to everyone, visiting the college and spending time and bonding with your friends is relaxing and can help students cope with the pressures that student life puts them through.

Also Read: Vocational Courses Available at 10th, 12th and Graduate Level

Once you have decided to take admission into a distance learning course, it's time to talk colleges.

Best Distance Learning Universities in India

As mentioned in the AISHE report, there are 110 Dual-Mode Universities (offering both regular as well as distance learning courses) operational in India. Tamil Nadu, with a total of 16 universities, is the state with the maximum number of distance education universities in India. With such a large number of options on the table, it is easy to get confused.

So, to make things easy for you, these are the best distance learning colleges/universities in India.

S.No.

Name

Location

1

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)

New Delhi

2

Sikkim Manipal University Distance Education (SMU-DE)

Gangtok

3

Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University

Nashik

4

Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning

Pune

5

Dr B R Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU)

Hyderabad

6

School of Open Learning, Delhi University (SOL DU)

Delhi

8

Netaji Subhas Open University

Kolkata

9

Karnataka State Open University

Mysore

10

Maharishi Dayanand University

Rohtak

11

Tamil Nadu Open University

Chennai

12

Annamalai University

Annamalainagar

13

Maulana Azad National Urdu University

Hyderabad

14

Osmania University

Hyderabad

15

Madhya Pradesh Bhoj Open University

Bhopal

Also Read: How to take admission in IITs after 12th in Commerce and Arts

Arts/Humanities Courses Offered by Distance Learning Universities in India

Arts and humanities courses are some of the most popular in India. Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) courses alone make up for over 25% of the total enrolments in India. The second most popular course, Bachelor of Science (B.Sc), is not even close and has just over half the enrolment as compared to the admissions into BA colleges in India. And while the total number of enrolments falls sharply in Master of Arts (M.A.) courses as compared to BA enrolments, it still leads the number of enrolments into postgraduate programmes in India.

To cater to this demand, universities offer a wide range of arts and humanities distance learning courses. Here are some offered at the top colleges for distance education in India.

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)

Established in 1985, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) had humble beginnings. It offered two Diploma programmes, one of which was a Diploma in Distance Learning. Now, it is one of the biggest universities around the world with over 3 million Indian and foreign students enrolled in the 200+ programmes offered in its 21 School of Studies. IGNOU also has the largest share in enrolment to distance learning programmes in India.

The Arts and Humanities distance learning courses offered by IGNOU are listed below.

COURSE

ELIGIBILITY

DURATION

FEES

CERTIFICATE COURSES

Certificate in Library and Information Science (CLIS)

Class 12 in any stream /

Bachelor Preparatory Programme (BPP) from IGNOU

6 months - 2 years

Rs. 2,000

Certificate in Disaster Mangement (CDM)

Certificate in Environmental Studies (CES)

BACHELOR's COURSES

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Class 12 in any stream /

BPP from IGNOU

3 - 6 years

Rs. 6,000

Bachelor of Library and Information Science (BLIS)

Bachelor's degree with 50% aggregate marks /

Bachelor's degree + Diploma in Library Science (1 year) /

Bachelor's Degree + 2-year work experience in a LIS

1 - 4 years

Rs. 5,000

MASTER's COURSES

MA Economics

Bachelor's degree or higher from a recognized university

2 - 5 years

Rs. 12,000

MA Political Science

Rs. 9,000

MA Public Administration

Rs. 9,000

MA Gandhi and Peace Studies

Rs. 9,000

MA Sociology (MSO)

Rs. 9,000

Masters in Anthropology

Rs. 16,800

MA History

Bachelor's degree

Rs. 9,000

MA Psychology

Rs. 15,800

Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)

BLIS or equivalent degree

(Related work-experience is given weightage)

1 - 4 years

Rs. 9,000

POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA / CERTIFICATE COURSES

PG Diploma in Library Automation and Networking

BLIS degree

1 - 4 years

Rs. 18,000

PG Diploma in Mental Health

PG in Psychology, Nursing or Social Work

Medical degree in Allopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani or Siddha

Rs. 9,000

Post Graduate Diploma in Disaster Management

Bachelor's degree

Rs. 5,000

PG Diploma in Gandhi and Peace Studies

Bachelor's degree or higher

1 -3 years

Rs. 3,500

PG Certificate in Gandhi and Peace Studies

6 months - 2 years

Rs. 2,000

Also Read: Comparison of Political Science and Public Administration Courses

Sikkim Manipal University Distance Education (SMU-DE)

Sikkim Manipal University Directorate of Distance Education was established in 2001 with the main motive of providing an opportunity for career growth to working professionals. SMU-DE is counted among the top distance learning universities in India and offers UGC-accredited distance learning programmes at the bachelor's as well as the master's level.

The distance learning courses at SMU-DE that are eligible for Arts and Humanities students are as follows.

COURSE

ELIGIBILITY

DURATION

FEES

BACHELOR's COURSES

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Class 12 in any stream /

3-year Diploma

3 years

Rs. 30,000

Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA)

Rs. 97,500

MASTER's COURSES

Master of Computer Applications (MCA)

Graduation or equivalent

Maths as a subject in Class 12 or graduation

3 years

Rs. 1,09,500

SMU-DE offers scholarships for distance learning programmes to the candidates who fall under the following categories:

  • Physically disabled

  • Belonging to Sikkim and North-East Region

  • In-service or retired personnel of the Indian Armed Forces

Also Read: Entrance Exams and Career Options for MCA Aspirants

Yashwantrao C. Maharashtra Open University

Named after the state's first Chief Minister, Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University was established in 1989. It offers degrees, diplomas and certificates via is distance education programmes and is known for keeping a strong focus on maintaining high standards of education in all its courses.

It is also one of the few distance learning universities in India offering Marathi medium courses.

The distance education programmes open to Arts and Humanities students include the following.

COURSES

ELIGIBILITY

DURATION

FEES

BACHELOR's COURSES

BA Urdu

--

3 years

--

BA Mass Communication and Journalism

Class 12th or equivalent

3 years

Rs. 9,300

Bachelor of Library & Information Science (BLib & ISc)

--

1 year

Rs. 8,600

BBA Aviation, Hospitality and Travel & Tourism Management

Class 12 in any stream

3 years

Rs. 1,20,300

Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA)

Class 12 in any stream

3 years

Rs. 47,300

MASTER's COURSES

MA English

Graduate from a recognised university

2 years

Rs. 8,200

MA Education

BA degree / B.Ed degree /

BA B.Ed degree / B.P.Ed degree

2 years

Rs. 18,075

Master of Library & Information Science (MLib & ISc)

--

1 year

Rs. 12,100

DIPLOMA / CERTIFICATE COURSES

Certificate Courses in Computer Science

(Knowledge of computers.

Min. 18 years of age completed.

Knowledge of C/OOPS/C++ may be required in some courses)

6 months - 2 years

Rs. 3,600

Diploma in Aviation Hospitality & Tourism Management

Class 12 in any stream

1 - 3 years

Rs. 40,100

Diploma in School Management

Bachelor's degree from UGC-recognised university /

Having an appointment letter for the post of Headmaster or Deputy Headmaster

1 year

Rs. 3,100

Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning (SCDL)

Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning (SCDL) has been offering a wide range of Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma and Certificate programmes via the Distance Learning mode since 2001.

Here are the courses available at SCDL for students with an Arts and Humanities background.

COURSE ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA (PGD) COURSES
PGD Labour Laws and Employee Relations Graduate/Bachelor's degree in any discipline 1.5 - 2 years Rs. 35,000
PGD in Human Resource Management
PGD in Media and Event Management
PGD in Customer Relation Management
PGD in Business and Corporate Laws
PGD in Supply Chain Management
PGD in Business Administration 2 - 4 years Rs. 46,000
PGD in Baking and Finance
PGD in Technical Writing in Business Management 1.5 - 2 years Rs. 35,000
PGD in Data Sciences and Statistics
PGD in Educational Administration 2 - 4 years Rs. 46,000
PGD in Instructional Design 1 - 2 years Rs. 29,000
PGD in School Counselling 1 - 2 years Rs. 23,000
PGD in Pre-Primary Teachers Training 1 - 2 years Rs. 29,000
POSTGRADUATE CERTIFICATE COURSES
PG Certificate in Digital Marketing Graduate/Bachelor's degree in any discipline 1 year Rs. 17,000
DIPLOMA COURSES
Diploma in Taxation Laws Class 12 in any stream 1 - 2 years Rs. 17,000
Diploma in Creative Writing in English Class 12 in any stream with 50% marks in English Rs. 29,000
Diploma in English Language Teaching Rs. 14,000
CERTIFICATE COURSES
Certificate in Blockchain Technology Graduate/Bachelor's Degree in any Discipline 1 year Rs. 17,000

Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Open University (BRAOU)

Set up in 1982, BRAOU was a one-of-its-kind university set up by the Andhra Pradesh government to make higher education accessible to all sections of the society. Here are some of the courses at BRAOU for arts and humanities students.

COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
Bachelor of Arts (BA) Class 12 in any stream 3 - 6 years Rs. 6,000
POSTGRADUATE COURSES
MA in History Bachelor's degree 2 - 4 years Rs. 8,600
MA in Economics
MA in Political Science
MA in Public Administration
MA in Sociology
Ma in English
MA in Urdu Bachelor's degree with Urdu as a second language
MA in Telugu Bachelor's degree with Telugu as a second language
MA in Hindi Bachelor's degree with Hindi as a second language

School of Open Learning, Delhi University (SOL DU)

Established as The School of Correspondence Courses and Continuing Education in 1962, SOL DU is one of the oldest establishments offering distance learning courses in India. It offers a number of courses for arts and humanities students, which are given in the table below.

COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
Bachelor of Arts (BA) Class 12 in any stream with min. 40% marks 3 - 5 years Rs. 3,430
BA (Hons.) English Class 12 in any stream with min. 65% marks
Direct admission to students with 70% marks in English in 12th
Rs. 3,530
BA (Hons.) Political Science (PS) Class 12 with 60% marks (if without PS), 45% marks (if with PS)* Rs. 3,630
MASTER's COURSES
MA in Sanskrit BA (Hons.) in Sanskrit* 2 years Rs. 4,990
MA in Hindi N/A*
MA in History BA (Hons.) in History*
MA in Political Science BA (Hons.) in Political Science*

*Refer to the official website for detailed School of Open Learning eligibility criteria.

Also Read: Colleges and Eligibility of Nursing Courses after 12th

Netaji Subhas Open University (NSOU)

Its foundation laid on the birth centenary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose in 1997, NSOU started functioning in 1998 with more courses being added over the subsequent years. Some of the distance learning courses eligible for arts and humanities students are:

COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
BA in English Class 12 in any stream with 40% marks in English 3 - 6 years Rs. 6,300
BA in Bengali Class 12 in any stream
BA in Sociology
BA in Political Science
BA in Public Administration
BA in History
BA in Education
MASTER's COURSES
MA in Bengali Bachelor's degree in related stream 2 years Rs. 15,200
MA in English
MA in English Language Teaching
MA in Political Science
MA in Public Administration
MA in History
MA in Education

Karnataka State Open University (KSOU)

KSOU is a reputed open university offering degree, diploma and certificate courses via the distance education mode at affordable prices. It aims to make higher education accessible to all and contribute towards building a strong educational sector in India.

Here are some of the arts and humanities courses offered at KSOU.

COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
Bachelor's of Arts (BA) Class 12 in any stream 3 years Rs. 13,300
MASTER's COURSES
MA in Kannada/English/Hindi/Sanskrit/Urdu BA / BSc / Degree holders who have studied related topics* 2 years Rs. 11,100
MA in History BA / BA Performing Arts degree holders who have studied related subjects*
MA in Political Science
MA in Public Administration
MA in Sociology
MA in Ancient History and Archeology
MA in Journalism and Mass Communication 3-year degree course in any subject Rs. 19,300
POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA COURSES
PGD in English 50% marks in graduation or postgraduation with English as a subject 1 year Rs. 3,000
PGD in Communicative English Graduation or postgraduation with English as a subject
PGD in Journalism and Mass Communication Graduation in any discipline Rs. 5,800

*Refer to the prospectus available on the official website for detailed eligibility criteria and additional details.

Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU)

With roots going as far back as 1988, MDU is an establishment that offers the opportunity of higher education to a population that cannot enrol in regular courses due to financial or any other restrictions. The affordable cost of education has made its courses quite popular esp. among the rural and economically weak population of Haryana.

MDU offers the following bachelor's and master's programmes in arts and humanities streams.

COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
Bachelor of Arts (BA) Class 12 in any stream /
Diploma in Pharmacy course
3 years Rs. 7,000
MASTER's COURSES
MA in Hindi 3-year bachelor's degree or equivalent 2 years Rs. 7,500
MA in English
MA in Sanskrit
MA in Political Science
MA in Public Administration
MA in History

Also Read: Rank-Wise List of Indian Institutes of Management

Tamil Nadu Open University (TNOU)

Established in 2003, TNOU is a Government Open University offering a large catalogue of bachelor's and master's programmes in various disciplines. Working with the motive of providing education to anyone, anytime and anywhere, TNOU has so far helped over a million students attain higher education.

Listed below are the courses available for arts and humanities students at TNOU.

COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
BA Urdu

Class 12 in any stream /
TNOU BPP /
Class 10 + 3-year Diploma /
Class 10 + 2-year ITI /
Class 10 + 2-year TTC

3 - 8 years Rs. 6,600
BA English
BA English and Communication
BA History
BA Criminology and Criminal Justice Administration
BA History and Heritage Management
BA Tourism and Travel Studies
BA Economics
BA Business Economics
BA Public Administration
BA Political Science
BA Sociology
BA Human Rights
BA Islamic Studies
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
MASTER's COURSES
MA History Bachelor's degree in any discipline 2 - 8 years Rs. 6,600
MA Public Administration
MA Sociology
MA Political Science
MA Translation Studies
MA Tourism and Travel Studies
MA Linguistics
MA Women Studies
MA Criminology and Criminal Justice Administration
MA Human Rights
MA Development Administration
MA Police Administration
MA International Relations
MA Anthropology
MA Gender Studies
Master of Social Work
MA English
MA Islamic Studies Bachelor's degree in any discipline
(Arabic fluency required)
MA Tamil Refer TNOU Prospectus

Annamalai University

Established in 1979, the Directorate of Distance Education at Annamalai University offers over 200 Degree, Diploma and Certificate programmes. It has one of the most comprehensive ranges of distance learning courses in India, including programmes from Engineering, Law, Journalism etc.

Here are some of the popular arts and humanities distance learning courses at the university.

COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
BA English Class 12 in any stream /
Pre-University Course /
2-year Diploma in Teacher Education /
3-yeard Diploma or equivalent
3 years Rs. 7,350
BA English & Communication
BA History
BA Police Administration
BA Political Science
BA Sociology
BA Social Welfare Administration
BA Tamil
Bachelor of Literature (BLit) Tamil
Bachelor of Social Work (BSW)
MASTER's COURSES
MA Disaster Management Graduate / Postgraduate Degree in any discipline 2 years Rs. 6,300
MA English
MA History
MA Human Rights
MA International Relations
MA Labour Management
MA Linguistics
MA Philosophy, Religion & Culture
MA Police Administration
MA Political Science
MA Public Administration
Master of Social Work (MSW) Rs. 12,300
Master of Tourism and Travel Management Rs. 6,300
DIPLOMA / CERTIFICATE COURSES
Diploma in English Journalism Class 12 in any stream /
Pre-University Course (PUC)
1 year Rs. 3,800
Diploma in Human Rights
Diploma in Public Administration
Diploma in Mass Communication

Class 12 in any stream /
Class 10 + 3-year Diploma

Diploma in Tamil Journalism
Diploma in Yoga Class 12 in any stream

Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU)

MANUU is NAAC A-grade Central University set up with the motive to develop the Urdu language as a medium of vocational teaching and technical education. It is a dual-mode university and offers many regular mode courses as well.

The distance learning courses at MANUU for arts and humanities students are listed in the table below.


COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
Bachelor of Arts (BA) Class 12 in any stream 3 - 6 years Rs. 3,200
MASTER's COURSES
MA History 3-year degree or equivalent in any stream
(Urdu as a subject in school or graduation mandatory)
2 - 4 years Rs. 4,800
MA Islamic Studies
MA Urdu
MA English 3-year degree in any stream
MA Hindi 3-year degree in any stream
(Hindi as a subject in school or graduation mandatory)
MA Arabic 3- year degree in any stream
(Arabic as a subject in school or graduation mandatory)
DIPLOMA / CERTIFICATE COURSES
Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication Class 12 in any stream 1 - 2 years Rs. 3,300
Diploma in Teach English Bachelor's degree
Certificate in Urdu Proficiency through English Reading and Writing knowledge of English
Minimum 18 years of age
6 months - 2 years Rs. 2,100
Certificate in Functional English Class 10 in any stream

Also Read: 10 Best DU Colleges for Arts Courses

Osmania University

Established in 1977 as the Institute of Correspondence Course, Prof. G. Ram Reddy Centre for Distance Learning at Osmania University aims to democratize education. It offers several bachelor's and master's arts and humanities programmes, which can be found in the table below.

COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
Bachelor of Arts (BA) Class 12 in any stream* 3 years Rs. 7,700
MASTER's COURSES
MA English / Hindi / Telugu / Urdu / Sanskrit Bachelor's degree (except BE, BTech and BCA)
(Concerned Subject must have been a part of the curriculum)
2 years Rs. 8,200
MA History BA degree relevant to the picked specialisation
MA Political Science
MA Philosophy 3-year bachelor's degree in any stream
MA Public Personnel Management (PPM)
MA Sociology
MA Psychology 3-year bachelor's degree with Psychology as a subject /
BSW / MA Education / MSc Home Science /
Diploma in Child or Industrial Psychology
Rs. 13,600

*Additional conditions may apply based upon the electives you choose. Please contact the university for more details.

Madhya Pradesh Bhoj (Open) University

This state open university named after King Bhoj was established in 1991. It aims to make higher education available to as large a section of the society as possible to promote growth and well-being of the community.

The following arts and humanities courses can be taken up at MPBOU.

COURSES ELIGIBILITY DURATION FEES
BACHELOR's COURSES
Bachelor of Arts (BA) Class 12 in any stream 3 - 6 years Rs. 7,500
MASTER's COURSES
MA History Bachelor's degree or equivalent 2 - 5 years Rs. 13,200
MA Political Science
MA Sociology
MA Ancient Indian History, Culture & Archeology Rs. 19,920
MA Geography Bachelor's degree with Geography or equivalent Rs. 17,280
Master of Social Work (MSW) Bachelor's degree Rs. 23,040
DIPLOMA / CERTIFICATE COURSES
PG Diploma in Remote Sensing Bachelor's degree 1 - 3 years Rs. 10,800
Certificate in Human Rights 6 months - 2 years Rs. 3,312
Certificate in Rural Development Class 12 or equivalent

Also Read: Field and Scope of the Top Indian Research Institutes

That education is an important factor on which the prosperity and growth of a society depend was first recognised in the National Policy of Education 1986. Under this policy, a huge boost was given to distance learning programmes and due to the efforts of state and central governments and due to the unavailability of good higher educational institutions in many parts of India, these programmes have gained significant popularity, especially among the rural and economically-weaker sections of society.

However, as the trend changes and more working professionals start opting for distance learning courses to boost their career, more colleges and courses will be opened for online education in India.

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