Master of Computer Applications (MCA): The Ultimate Guide

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

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Master of Computer Applications (MCA) is a 2-year professional postgraduate 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 computer applications. 

A degree course in MCA allows students to work in a constantly evolving technological field with upgraded tools 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


MCA Eligibility criteria

To pursue a Master of Computer Applications programme, candidates must pursue any 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 MCA subjects at the 10+2 level or graduation level.

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

  • Cut-off marks: 50% to 60% (or a CGPA of 6.0+ out of 10) 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 postgraduate degree programme specialising in computer software and its 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. As a result, 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. 

Students can pursue the MCA course in various 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, institutes offer MCA courses in various forms - regular, distance, online and part-time modes. Candidates may consider the different options 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 MCA course duration.
  • 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 they are enrolled in.
  • Online MCA programme: In online programmes, candidates must 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 should consider which mode of learning would best meet their needs. For more information on the modes of pursuing MCA, explore the Sunstone website.

Master of Computer Application Syllabus

The three-year MCA degree is divided into six semesters, of which the last year is solely dedicated to project work. 

Here is the MCA syllabus with semester-wise course subjects-

MCA Syllabus First Year (Semester 1):

  • Programming in C
  • Computer Organisation & Architecture
  • Discrete Mathematical Structure
  • Computer Programming with C
  • Business presentation and language lab
  • Business Systems and Application
  • Business English and Communication
  • Micro Programming & Architecture Lab

MCA Syllabus First Year (Semester 2):

  • Information Systems Analysis & Design
  • Object-Oriented Programming in C++
  • Data structure lab
  • Data Structures with C
  • Database Management System I
  • Database lab
  • Object-Oriented Programming lab (C++)

MCA Syllabus Second Year (Semester 3):

  • Intelligent Systems
  • Business Management
  • Management Accounting
  • Statistics and Numerical Techniques
  • Unix and Shell Programming
  • Operating Systems and Systems Software
  • Statistics and Numerical Analysis lab
  • Unix lab

MCA Syllabus Second Year (Semester 4):

  • Graphics & Multimedia Lab
  • Environment and Ecology
  • Software Engineering & TQM
  • Operation Research and Optimisation Techniques
  • Software Project Management lab
  • Database Management System II
  • Advanced Database lab
  • Graphics and Multimedia

MCA Syllabus Third Year (Semester 5):

  • Values and Ethics of Profession
  • Elective Lab
  • Elective 1 (System Administration and Linux or Windows Programming With VB)
  • Elective 2 ( Advanced Unix programming or Object Oriented Programming With Java )
  • Elective 3 (Distributed database management or Parallel Programming )
  • Elective 4 (Compiler Design or E-Commerce)
  • Minor project and seminar

MCA Syllabus Third Year (Semester 6):

  • Major project and seminar

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, although some courses may be offered over three years.

Students may opt to pursue 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 must attend classes per a predetermined timetable. 

The annual or semester exams must be taken at the institute where 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 popular among many students now. In this type of MCA course, candidates can complete their course and examination online from the privacy of their homes. 

Online MCA courses are approved by AICTE and UGC and are accepted throughout, so there is a reasonable number of career opportunities after completion.

Entrance exams for admission to the MCA course

The admission process for regular MCA courses is primarily the fulfilment of basic criteria followed by entrance exams or merit of marks in qualifying degree courses. 

Students can appear in any of the MCA entrance exams below 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)

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

Master of Computer Application Salary and Scope

MCA graduates have great career scope, and they can find numerous job opportunities in booming startups and top-notch IT companies. 

The average Master of Computer Application salary ranges from 2.5 to 3.6 LPA in an IT firm. 


What is MCA?

The MCA full form is Master of Computer Applications, which is a 3-year degree in computer science for students willing to learn computer application development. It allows students to learn ways to develop faster and better computer software and applications. 

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 stay updated on the new technologies used in top industries and develop the necessary soft skills. 

Which book is best for MCA entrance?

There are several books for the MCA entrance exam. These include the Master of Computer Application Entrance Exam by R. Gupta, Arihant Study Package for MCA by Amit Agarwal, Edgar Thorpe's Pearson Guide to MCA Entrance Examinations, 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 various software development environments, logical reasoning, and quantitative abilities. So, the exam should be easy if you are well versed in these. However, it is integral to prepare for the MCA entrance exam thoroughly.

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