Master of Computer Applications (MCA): The Ultimate Guide

  • By Christy J. Varghese
  • 12 July 2022
Master of Computer Applications (MCA): The Ultimate Guide

Master of Computer Applications (MCA) is a two-year professional post-graduate course offered to candidates who want to master developing computer applications by learning modern programming languages. The programme combines theoretical and practical knowledge and skill sets in the field of computer applications. 

A degree course in MCA endows students with the opportunity to work in a constantly evolving technological field with upgraded tools meant to facilitate the use of highly developed computer applications. MCA is designed to meet the shortcomings of qualified professionals in the IT (Information Technology) industry. In India,  an MCA degree is offered by many colleges and universities.

Students pursuing an MCA typically have the option to choose from the following specialisations:

Application Software

Systems Management

Hardware Technology

Systems Development


Systems Engineering

Management Information Systems (MIS)

Software Development

Computer Networking


Eligibility Criteria

To pursue a Master of Computer Applications programme, candidates are required to have pursued one of the following degrees: B.Sc (Bachelor of Science) /B.A (Bachelor of Arts) /B.Com (Bachelor of Commerce /BCA (Bachelor of Computer Applications) with mathematics as one of the subjects at 10+2 level or at graduation level.

MCA colleges in India frequently require you to fulfil the following eligibility criteria:

  • Cut-off marks: 50% to 60% (or a CGPA of 6.0+ out of 10 is) in a Bachelor's programme
  • 55%+ percentage in Class XII. In most cases, Class X marks are not included within the criteria

A Comprehensive Guide for MCA

MCA Course Fees and Other Particulars

As mentioned, MCA is a two-year post-graduate degree programme which specialises in the fields of computer software and their applications, computer operating system, computer architecture, and other highly specialised aspects of IT. Certain institutes like the NITs offer the MCA programme as a three-year course. MCA is a popular course choice among students interested in IT who seek specialisation in software, operating systems and computer architecture.

Although candidates having a BCA degree or Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics are usually eligible for MCA, certain institutes also allow students without BCA or STEM degree qualifications to enrol. 

The course may be pursued in a variety of modes, including distance learning. The average course fee of an MCA program in India ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 INR per semester.

MCA Courses in Different Modes

In India, MCA courses are offered by institutes in various forms - regular, distance, online and part-time modes. Candidates may take the different options into consideration in terms of fees and other feasibility.

Regular MCA programme

In this type of MCA programme, students are admitted to an institute and attend regular classes within the prescribed semester durations.

Distance MCA programme

Candidates opting for MCA courses in the distance-learning mode need not attend classes physically in a conventional way. Candidates may be asked to attend a few important practicals and lab work at the institute at which they are enrolled.

Online MCA programme

In online programmes, candidates are required to attend digital classes and the complete MCA course is taught online. All one needs is a working internet connection and access to a computer.

Part-time MCA programme

This type of MCA programme is typically preferred by working professionals who cannot attend regular classes physically or digitally.

Considering physical restrictions in the post-pandemic era, a candidate is recommended to think seriously about which mode of learning would best meet their needs. For more information on the modes of pursuing MCA, explore the Sunstone website.

Top Institutes for Pursuing MCA

The following are the top institutes in India for pursuing a Master of Computer Applications degree. Most of these are two-year-long degree programmes even though some of these courses may be offered over three years.

Students may opt for pursuing MCA in the distance learning mode as well. Many good institutes offer distance-learning programs in MCA at an affordable cost. In distance-learning MCA courses, students are required to attend classes as per a predetermined timetable. The annual or semester exams must be taken at the institute in which a student is enrolled in adherence to prescribed guidelines.


Top Institutes Offering MCA in the Regular (Physical) Mode


Delhi University, Delhi


Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi


Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi


National Institutes of Technology (NITs) - Jamshedpur, Surat, Tiruchirapalli, Warangal


Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi


Jamia Hamdard, Delhi


Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi


University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad


Aligarh Muslim University


PES University, Bangalore


Top Institutes For Distance-Learning MCA Courses


Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), Delhi


University of Mumbai, Mumbai


Bangalore University, Bangalore


Annamalai University, Chennai


University of Madras


Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai


Sikkim Manipal University, Gangtok

Online MCA programmes

Online MCA programmes are a popular choice among many students now. In this type of MCA course, candidates can complete their course and examination in online mode from the privacy of their homes. Online MCA courses are approved by AICTE as well as UGC, and are accepted throughout so there is no dearth of career opportunities after their completion.

Entrance Exams for Admission to MCA Course

The admission process for regular MCA courses is primarily fulfilment of basic criteria followed by entrance exams or merit of marks in qualifying degree courses. Students can appear in any of the below listed MCA entrance exams to enrol for their preferred institutes.

  1. NIT MCA Common Entrance Test (NIMCET)
  2. Maharashtra MCA Common Entrance Test
  3. West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination For MCA
  4. Delhi University Entrance Test (DUET)
  5. Central Universities Entrance Test (CUET)

However, nowadays many private MCA institutes also carry out their own entrance exams. And, there is a dedicated screening or interview process as well. 

About Sunstone

Sunstone is a leading higher education services provider that works with academic institutions in upskilling students for employability. Sunstone offers career-oriented training interventions for undergraduate and postgraduate students at 40+ institutions across 30+ cities.

Sunstone’s training programs are industry-endorsed to enhance employability. These programs are designed for hybrid delivery with an unparalleled focus on soft skills and personality development. Sunstone’s focus is to provide students with a holistic educational experience.


How can I prepare for MCA?

To prepare for MCA entrances, you can follow the available books, solve previous years’ questions, and receive mentoring and guidance from a good institute. It is also important to keep updated on the new technologies being used in top industries and develop necessary soft skills. 

Which book is best for MCA entrance

There are several books for the MCA entrance exam. A few of these include the Master of Computer Application Entrance Exam by R. Gupta, Arihant Study Package for MCA by Amit Agarwal, Pearson Guide to MCA Entrance Examinations by Edgar Thorpe, and Showick Thorpe, among others. 

Is the MCA exam difficult?

No, the MCA exam is not always difficult. The difficulty and format may also vary depending on the institute. The MCA exam encompasses a wide range of software development environments, logical reasoning, and quantitative abilities. So, if you are well versed with these the exam should be an easy task. However, it is integral to prepare for the MCA entrance exam thoroughly.


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