Ashoka University

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Ashoka University
Type Private university
Established 2011
Endowment Rs. 750 crores ($125 millions)
Chancellor Rudrangshu Mukherjee
Vice-Chancellor Pratap Bhanu
Dean Mahesh Rangarajan, Vanita Shastri
Academic staff
37 permanent and 22 visiting faculty members
Students 750
Undergraduates 550
Postgraduates 200
Location Delhi NCR, Haryana, India
Campus 25 acres (10 ha) (Main campus)
Colors Ashoka University Red      & Ashoka University Blue     
Affiliations UGC

Ashoka University is a fully residential interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research university with a focus on liberal arts in Haryana, India. The university is recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC), the Government of India and the Government of Haryana.


The concept of Ashoka University was born in a conversation between some IIT Delhi alumni including Vineet Gupta, Rakesh Jaggi, Ashish Gupta and others, who approached Pramath Sinha for help in setting up a university that would be of a different calibre than that of present higher education in India. In fact, the project was code named Project Nobel, referring to the founders' aspiration for the students to become Nobel Laureates. At the same time, Sanjeev Bhikhchandani and Ashish Dhawan also approached Pramath with a vision of a university, and Pramath fused the two visions together.[1]

Initial discussions leaned towards setting up an institute of engineering and technology that could perhaps match the reputation of leading institutions in the field such as MIT, Penn and Stanford. This led the Ashoka founders to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Penn.

The conversation was to, however, take a turn towards conceptualizing an institution that would actually go on to focus not on engineering and other vocational disciplines, but rather have a bent towards the core sciences, social sciences and the humanities, or what is popularly called the ‘liberal arts’.[2] This decision finds its rationale in both industry need, as well as the need to change the mindsets of Indian students and parents to see education as an end in itself, rather than merely as a stepping stone to securing a job.[3]


Founders include:


Ashoka University is funded entirely by donations, with no hierarchies present in the founding group in terms of decision making. The group includes over 70 entrepreneurs and industry leaders.[4]

In addition to the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and Deans, Ashoka is guided by an academic council of academics and scholars from around the world. The Council sets the academic standard of the University, advising on matters of curriculum, faculty hiring and research.[5]

Academic Partners[edit]

Ashoka University collaborates with institutions around the world, drawing on their experience to develop its curriculum and practices. Ashoka University has active partnerships in place with:

  1. Yale University - An American private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. They collaborate in designing curriculum at Ashoka and also offer research assistance and summer abroad programs for Ashoka students.
  2. University of Pennsylvania - One of the oldest universities in the United States, and one of the eight Ivy League institutions; represented by Sampath Kannan of the Department of Computer and Information Science, School of Engineering and Applied Science, whose support has resulted in a formidable Computer Science programme at Ashoka[6]
  3. Carleton College - A private liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota, USA
  4. Wellesley College - A top-ranking private liberal arts college in Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA regarded as the premier women's college in the world.[7]
  5. Sciences Po - A public research university, ranked 1 in Europe and 16 in the world for Political and International Studies; represented on Ashoka's Academic Council by Christophe Jaffrelot, Director, CNRS[8]
  6. University of Michigan - An elite research university that is also recognized as one of the eight public ivies; represented on Ashoka's Academic Council by Ruma Banerjee of the Medical School[9]
  7. King's College, London - A public research university that is one of the oldest universities in England, ranked 19 in the world as per the QS World University Rankings published in 2013; represented on Ashoka's Academic Council by Sunil Khilnani of the King's India Institute[10]
  8. University of California, Berkeley- A major public research university located in Berkeley, California. It is the flagship campus of the University of California system.[11][12]
  9. Trinity College, Dublin[13] The University has recently also inked a collaboration with Yale University
  10. Official communication states that the University is also in talks with University of Oxford for partnership in the future. Its illustrious list of partners has been the subject of a lot of media attention, as it is felt to be commendable for a university in its year of inception.[14]

Academic Programs[edit]

Young India Fellowship[edit]

This form of education was prototyped in the Young India Fellowship, a full-time academic programme that was launched in 2011 with a vision "to develop committed change agents for India through a multi-disciplinary programme guided by eminent scholars and leaders of our time."[15] The founding batch had 57 Fellows, all of whom were provided full scholarship. Fellows included graduates and professionals from all walks of life.[16]

The one-year programme comprises eight terms of six weeks each, with up to three courses in each term. The Fellowship emphasizes writing, research, and experiential learning – in the form of an 8-month part-time Experiential Learning Module .[17]

Undergraduate program[edit]

Ashoka University offers a full time residential multidisciplinary 3 (+1 optional) year undergraduate programme. Students are motivated to extend 1 more year after the standard 3 year and remain in the campus and do a further in-depth research in their chosen major under the guidance of a faculty and complete the standard 4 year university education, which the universities abroad require to admit students to their Doctoral Research Programmes leading. The founding batch, inducted in 2014, graduated in May 2017. The founding batch consisted of about 120 students, but thereafter the strength has been increasing.

The admission procedure includes an application form, an on-spot essay, an interview, and an aptitude objective test (optional). During the admission of students into the UG programme of Ashoka University, students are not required to declare their major and may experiment with their course preferences. Only after the third semester, the University requires students to declare their majors.


The 25-acre campus of Ashoka University is in the Rajiv Gandhi Education city in Sonepat, Haryana. The campus has been designed by American design firm, Perkins Eastman led by architect Aaron Schwarz.[18]


  1. ^ "Ashoka University". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 2014-04-07. 
  2. ^ "Ashoka University". Ashoka University. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  3. ^ "Ashoka University". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  4. ^ "Ashoka University". Ashoka University website. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  5. ^ "Ashoka University". Ashoka University website. Retrieved 2014-03-02. 
  6. ^ "B.Sc. (Hons) in Computer Science at Ashoka University, developed in collaboration with the Department of Computer and Information Science, Penn". Ashoka University website. Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  7. ^ "Wellesley College and Ashoka University Sign Partnership Agreement". Wellesley College. Retrieved 2017-04-10. 
  8. ^ "French University extends tie-ups with India". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  9. ^ "Ashoka University inks MoU with University of Michigan". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 2014-11-13. 
  10. ^ "King's College plans tie-ups with Indian institutes". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-01-17. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "A New University Offers Liberal Arts as Higher Education Alternative". The New York Times India Ink. Retrieved 2014-11-26. 
  15. ^ "Young India Fellowship". Ashoka University. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  16. ^ "Young India Fellowship". Ashoka University. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  17. ^ "Young India Fellowship". Ashoka University. Retrieved 2014-08-07. 
  18. ^ Campus

Coordinates: 28°56′48″N 77°06′06″E / 28.9468°N 77.1016°E / 28.9468; 77.1016