Indian Institutes of Technology

Indian Institutes of Technology
Indian Institutes of Technology is located in India
(New Delhi)
Location of the IITs, current ones in green, proposed ones in red. IIT name (city/town, if different than name)

The Indian Institutes of Technology (Hindi: भारतीय प्रौद्योगिकी संस्थान, IITs) are a group of autonomous engineering and technology-oriented institutes of higher education. The IITs are governed by the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 which has declared them as “institutions of national importance”, and lays down their powers, duties, framework for governance etc.[1] They were created to train scientists and engineers, with the aim of developing a skilled workforce to support the economic and social development of India. IITs are listed as societies under the Indian Societies Registration Act.

The 1961 act lists seven institutes, which are, in order of establishment, IIT Kharagpur in Kharagpur (1950; as IIT 1951[2]), IIT Bombay in Mumbai (1958), IIT Madras in Chennai (1959), IIT Kanpur in Kanpur (1959), IIT Delhi in New Delhi (1961; as IIT 1963), IIT Guwahati in Guwahati (1994) and IIT Roorkee in Roorkee (1847; as IIT 2001).

In addition to the seven IITs, the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Act, 2010 seeks to add nine new institutes to the list. Of these, eight are new institutes, in order of establishment, IIT Ropar in Rupnagar (2008), IIT Bhubaneswar in Bhubaneswar (2008), IIT Gandhinagar in Gandhinagar (2008), IIT Hyderabad in Hyderabad (2008), IIT Patna in Patna (2008), IIT Rajasthan in Rajasthan (2008), IIT Mandi in Mandi (2009) and IIT Indore in Indore (2009).[3] These IITs are registered as societies and are in various stages of consolidation and development.[4] The ninth is Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU), which is currently a faculty under the administration of Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, which is to be named "Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University), Varanasi",[3] which is to be abbreviated IIT-BHU.[5] The bill was approved by the Indian Cabinet in February 25, 2011,[6] and the Lok Sabha passed the bill on March 24, 2011.[7] It is still to be adopted by the Rajya Sabha.

Each IIT is an autonomous university, linked to the others through a common IIT Council, which oversees their administration. They have a common admission process for undergraduate admissions, using the very selective Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT-JEE), which in 2011 had an acceptance rate of less than 1 in 50 (485,000 candidates and only 9,618 seats). Undergraduate students will eventually receive a B. Tech. degree in Engineering. The graduate level program that awards M. Tech. degree in engineering is administered by the older IITs (Kharagpur, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati, Roorkee) and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. M. Tech. admissions are done on the basis of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering, (popularly known as GATE test). In addition to the B. Tech. and M. Tech. programs that IITs are mostly known for, IITs also award other graduate degrees such as M.S. in engineering, M.Sc in Math, Physics and Chemistry, MBA and Ph.D. through tests such as Common Admission Test (CAT), Joint Admission Test to M.Sc. (JAM) and Common Entrance Examination for Design (CEED). About 15,500 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students study in the IITs, in addition to research scholars.

IIT alumni have achieved success in a variety of professions.[8] Most of the IITs were created in early 1950s and 1960s as the Institutes of National Importance through special acts of Indian Parliament. The success of the IITs led to the creation of the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT) in the late 1990s and in the 2000s.



The IITs are located in:

Name Short Name Established City/Town State/UT
Current IITs:
IIT Kharagpur IITKGP 1951 Kharagpur West Bengal
IIT Bombay IITB 1958 Mumbai Maharashtra
IIT Madras IITM 1959 Chennai Tamil Nadu
IIT Kanpur IITK 1959 Kanpur Uttar Pradesh
IIT Delhi IITD 1961 (1963) New Delhi New Delhi
IIT Guwahati IITG 1994 Guwahati Assam
IIT Roorkee IITR 1847 (2001) Roorkee Uttrakhand
New IITs:
IIT Ropar IITRPR 2008 Rupnagar Punjab
IIT Bhubaneswar IITBBS 2008 Bhubaneswar Orissa
IIT Hyderabad IITH 2008 Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh
IIT Gandhinagar IITGN 2008 Gandhinagar Gujarat
IIT Patna IITP 2008 Patna Bihar
IIT Rajasthan IITJ 2008 Jodhpur Rajasthan
IIT Mandi IIT Mandi 2009 Mandi Himachal Pradesh
IIT Indore IITI 2009 Indore Madhya Pradesh
IIT (BHU) Varanasi IITBHU 1916 (2011) Varanasi Uttar Pradesh

‡ - year converted/planned to convert to IIT

Current IITs

The first IIT was established in 1951, in Kharagpur (near Kolkata) in the state of West Bengal. It has 29 academic departments, centers and schools, spread over an 8.5 square kilometres (2,100 acres) campus that is a self-contained township of over 15,000 inhabitants. It has about 450 faculty; 2,200 employees; 3,000 undergraduates; 2,500 postgraduates and 950 research scholars. The students live in 17 hostels (called Halls of Residence). IIT Kharagpur also has a medical technology school (School of Medical Science and Technology), a management school (Vinod Gupta School of Management, a law school (Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law) and an infrastructure designing school (Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Designing and Management) within its premises.

The second IIT to be established, IIT Bombay, was founded in 1958 in Powai, Mumbai (Bombay). It was set up with assistance from UNESCO and the Soviet Union, which provided technical expertise. The Indian government underwrote all other expenses, including the construction costs.[9] With an area of 2.23 square kilometres (550 acres) and a total of 24 departments, centres and schools. In addition, IIT Bombay has 13 student hostels with about 2,200 undergraduate and 3,500 postgraduate students. IIT Bombay also has schools in management (Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management) and information technology (Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology) on its premises. Despite a change in the name of the city, the IIT retains the original name.

IIT Madras is located in the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. It was established in 1959 with technical assistance from the Government of West Germany[10] and has nearly 450 faculty members and approximately 2,500 undergraduate and 2,000 postgraduate students. The campus is spread over an area of about 2.5 square kilometres (620 acres), and has 16 academic departments, nearly 100 laboratories, and 17 hostels. As with IIT Bombay, it retains its original name despite a change in the name of its city.

IIT Kanpur was established in 1959 in the city of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. During its first 10 years, IIT Kanpur benefited from the Kanpur–Indo-American Programme, where a consortium of nine US universities helped to set up the research laboratories and academic programmes.[11] It covers an area of 4.85 square kilometres (1,200 acres). It has approximately 500 faculty members, and about 2,000 undergraduate and an equal number of postgraduate students living in 10 hostels.

Established as the College of Engineering in 1961, IIT Delhi was given the current name and declared an Institution of National Importance under the "Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Act, 1963".[12] It is located in Hauz Khas (New Delhi) and has an area of 1.3 square kilometres (320 acres). It has 11 hostels and 26 departments, centres and schools. It has 426 faculty members and approximately 2,200 undergraduate and 1,600 postgraduate students.

IIT Guwahati was established in 1994 near the city of Guwahati (Assam) on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra River. The sprawling 2.85 square kilometres (700 acres) campus attracts many visitors because of its scenic beauty.[13] There are approximately 1,300 undergraduate and 500 postgraduate students in 14 departments, which have a total of 152 faculty members.[14]

IIT Roorkee was established in 1847 as the first engineering college of the British Empire.[15] Located in Uttarakhand, this college was named The Thomson College of Civil Engineering in 1854. It became first technical university of India in 1949 and was renamed "University of Roorkee". The University of Roorkee was included in the IIT system in 2001 as IIT Roorkee. It runs eleven Under Graduate, five Integrated Dual Degree, three Integrated M.Tech., three Integrated M.Sc., 61 Post Graduate and several Doctoral Programmes.[16] The campus also includes the Department of Management Studies (DOMS), offering MBA courses. It has an academic staff strength of 342 as per the session of 2007-2008.[17] The Institute has two campuses. The main campus is at Roorkee in Uttarakhand and the other one is 50 km away at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The campus at Roorkee is spread over 356 acres (1.44 km2) of landscaped lush greenery and has twelve students hostels. A 10-acre (40,000 m2) campus is being developed as an extension centre at Greater Noida.[18]

New IITs

Establishment of the eight new IITs began with decision of the cabinet, which was announced by the Minister of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Arjun Singh, in March 28, 2008 that the government planned to establish more IITs, Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and Central Universities across the country. Each institute was budgeted Rs. 20–40 billion (USD 625 million-1 billion).[19]

IIT Ropar, also known as IIT Punjab, was established by MHRD in 2008. The classes for academic session 2008-2009 were held at IIT Delhi. The Institute started functioning from its transit campus in Rupnagar in August 2009.

IIT Bhubaneswar was the first of the eight new IITs to become operational. Classes for the first batch of students started from the campus of IIT Kharagpur at Kharagpur, the mentor Institute for IIT Bhubaneswar. The Foundation Stone for this IIT was laid on February 12, 2009.[20] The permanent IIT campus is being set up in Argul, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar.[21] A total of 935 acres (3.78 km2) of land has been allocated towards the self contained campus for 10,000 students and 1,100 faculty. A science park is being set up as a part of this institution to support industry oriented research activities.[22] IIT Bhubaneswar is the first IIT to set up a separate marine campus. This campus, which will be a part of the School of Earth, Ocean and Environment Sciences, will be set up in 2011 near Chilka lake.[23]

IIT Hyderabad started in 2008 from a temporary campus at Ordinance Factory (ODF), Yeddumailaram village. Its permanent campus will be located at Kandi near Sangareddy and is close to the Outer Ring Road (Hyderabad). United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Mrs Sonia Gandhi on 27th Feb 2009 laid the foundation stone for the permanent campus of IIT Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh's Medak district.[24] The admission of the First batch of students of IIT Hyderabad took place in August 2008 through IIT-JEE and their classes were conducted in its temporary campus with help of mentor IIT Madras. IIT Hyderabad'd permanent campus occupies a 2.2 km² (550 acres) area, that is part of the Kandhi village, Medak district. Presently The institute has nearly 60 faculty, 330 B.Tech students, 110 M.Tech students, 70 research scholars and 40 administrative and supporting staff. IIT Hyderabad has established itself as a premier centre for teaching, research and industrial consultancy in the country. The IIT Hyderabad has 10 academic departments and research centres across various disciplines of engineering and pure sciences.

IIT Gandhinagar has its temporary campus functioning from the Vishwakarma Government Engineering College, Chandkheda. Its mentoring institution is IIT Bombay.

IIT Patna was formally registered as a society on 25 July 2008 and its academic programs commenced on 6 August 2008. The temporary campus of IITP is located in pataliputra colony, Kurji. IIT Patna’s campus will be located at Bihita on the outskirts of Patna in a 600 acre (2.4 km2) campus. The campus will have 45,000 sq ft (4,200 m2) of space. It is expected that all operations will be shifted to the main campus in two-three years.[25]

IIT Rajasthan was also established in 2008. The classes for first academic session held at IIT Kanpur, its mentor IIT.

IIT Mandi is the youngest among the IITs. Foundation stone for its permanent campus was laid in Kamand, Mandi on February 24, 2009.[26] The admission of the First batch of students of IIT Mandi took place in July 2009 and their classes were conducted from 27 July 2009, onwards in its mentor IIT, IIT Roorkee. On January 15, 2010 IIT Mandi got Prof. Timothy A. Gonsalves as its first director.[26] From the academic year 2010-2011 institute will function from its transit campus at V.M. College of Arts, Mandi, India. It is the only IIT nestled in the lowermost climatic zone of the serene Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh. Permanent campus (about 12 km from historic town of Mandi) spread over 520 acres (2.1 km2) is under construction along Uhl River (a tributry of River Beas) at Kamand, Mandi. The institute admits students into various B.Tech. , Ph.D. (as of 2010) programs.

IIT Indore was established in 2009. The institution started functioning from a temporary campus at Institute of Engineering and Technology of Devi Ahilyabai University under mentorship of IIT Bombay.

The Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IT-BHU) is an Institute at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), situated in Varanasi. It is one of India's oldest and highest-ranked engineering colleges. The institute was already linked with the IITs through the common JEE intake right from its inception and is now slated to be converted into IIT (BHU) Varanasi as a part of the IIT Amendment Act of 2010.

The IITs
Main Building of IIT Kharagpur 
Main Building of IIT Bombay 
Library at IIT Kanpur 
Mathematics department in IIT Delhi with Main Building in background 
Academic Complex, IIT Guwahati 
Main (Administrative) Building, IIT Roorkee 
Transit Campus of IIT Hyderabad located at Ordinance Factory(ODF) 
Transit Campus of Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar located at Government Engineering College, Chandkheda, Ahmedabad 
The Software Technology Park of India, IIT Patna 
Transit Campus of IIT Mandi at Mandi Town 
Rampur Hall of IIT-BHU Varanasi 

Future IITs

A recommendation to award IIT status to the Indian School of Mines was made by the Government of Jharkhand in September 2011.[27] Another planned IIT is at Palakkad in the state of Kerala, as was announced in September 2011 by P. K. Abdu Rabb, the Minister for Education of the Government of Kerala. However, as establishing an IIT is done by an act of parliament, the local government role is limited, and this still requires several steps by the central government.[28]


The office of the Hijli Detention Camp (photographed September 1951) served as the first academic building of IIT Kharagpur.

The history of the IIT system dates back to 1946 when Sir Jogendra Singh of the Viceroy's Executive Council set up a committee whose task was to consider the creation of Higher Technical Institutions for post-war industrial development in India. The 22-member committee, headed by Nalini Ranjan Sarkar, recommended the establishment of these institutions in various parts of India, with affiliated secondary institutions.

The first Indian Institute of Technology was founded in May 1950 at the site of the Hijli Detention Camp in Kharagpur. On September 15, 1956, the Parliament of India passed the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) Act, declaring it as an Institute of National Importance. Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, in the first convocation address of IIT Kharagpur in 1956 said:[29]

Here in the place of that Hijli Detention Camp stands the fine monument of India, representing India's urges, India's future in the making. This picture seems to me symbolical of the changes that are coming to India.

On the recommendations of the Sarkar Committee, four campuses were established at Mumbai (1958), Chennai (1959), Kanpur (1959), and Delhi (1961). The location of these campuses was chosen to be scattered throughout India to prevent regional imbalance.[30] The Indian Institutes of Technology Act was amended to reflect the addition of new IITs.[1] Student agitations in the state of Assam made Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi promise the creation of a new IIT in Assam. This led to a sixth campus at Guwahati under the Assam Accord in 1994. The University of Roorkee, India's oldest engineering college, was conferred IIT status in 2001.

IITG estd. 1994

Over the past few years, there have been a number of developments toward establishing new IITs. On October 1, 2003, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced plans to create more IITs "by upgrading existing academic institutions that have the necessary promise and potential".[31] Subsequent developments led to the formation of the S K Joshi Committee in November 2003 to guide the selection of the five institutions which would become the five new IITs. Based on the initial recommendations of the Sarkar Committee, it was decided that further IITs should be spread throughout the country. When the government expressed its willingness to correct this regional imbalance, 16 states demanded IITs. Since the S K Joshi Committee prescribed strict guidelines for institutions aspiring to be IITs,[32] only seven colleges were selected for final consideration.[33] Plans are also reported to open IITs outside India, though not enough progress has been made in this regard.[34] Eventually in the 11th Five year plan, eight states were identified for establishment of new IITs, and IT-BHU was recommended to be converted in to IIT.[35]

Organisational structure

Organisational Structure of IITs

The President of India is the most powerful person in the organisational structure of IITs, being the ex officio Visitor,[36] and having residual powers. Directly under the President is the IIT Council, which comprises the minister-in-charge of technical education in the Union Government, the Chairmen of all IITs, the Directors of all IITs, the Chairman of the University Grants Commission, the Director General of CSIR, the Chairman of IISc, the Director of IISc, three members of Parliament, the Joint Council Secretary of Ministry of Human Resource and Development, and three appointees each of the Union Government, AICTE, and the Visitor.[37]

Under the IIT Council is the Board of Governors of each IIT. Under the Board of Governors is the Director, who is the chief academic and executive officer of the IIT.[38] Under the Director, in the organisational structure, comes the Deputy Director. Under the Director and the Deputy Director, come the Deans, Heads of Departments, Registrar, President of the Students' Council, and Chairman of the Hall Management Committee. The Registrar is the chief administrative officer of the IIT and overviews the day-to-day operations.[38] Below the Heads of Department (HOD) are the faculty members (Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors). The Wardens come under the Chairman of the Hall Management Committee.[39]


Admission to undergraduate B. Tech and integrated M. Tech programs are through IIT-JEE (the Joint Entrance Examination). Admission to most postgraduate courses in IITs is granted through various written entrance examinations. The admission for Ph.D. program is based primarily on a personal interview, though candidates may also have to appear for written tests.

Entrance examinations

Admission to undergraduate programs in all IITs is tied to the Joint Entrance Examination, popularly known as IIT-JEE. Candidates opting for the B.Arch. (Bachelor of Architecture) program in IIT Kharagpur and IIT Roorkee, and the B.Des. (Bachelor of Design) program in IIT Guwahati, have to clear an aptitude test as well. Candidates who qualify admission via IIT-JEE can apply for admission in B.Tech. (Bachelor of Technology), Dual Degree (Integrated Bachelor of Technology and Master of Technology) and Integrated M.Sc. (Master of Sciences) courses in IITs, IT-BHU and ISM Dhanbad. IIT-JEE is a science-oriented entrance exam, testing candidate's knowledge of mathematics, physics and chemistry. It is conducted by an IIT chosen by a policy of rotation. Admission is very competitive since the entrance exam is generally considered tough and also because of the very high number of test takers. In 2011 over 485,000 students[40] competed for 9,618 seats,[41] a ratio of acceptance of less than 1 in 50. Only students who have completed their 12th and secured at least 60% in their exam (higher secondary studies from a recognised educational board) are allowed to take admission through IIT-JEE. The IIT-JEE is well known for frequently changing the types of questions asked in order to discourage study by rote. In recent years, though the level of questions have become easier, the competition for a seat in an IIT has grown exponentially. Since IIT-JEE 2006, the format of the question paper was changed to a single objective test-based paper, replacing the earlier system that employed two tests. The candidates belonging to the general category must secure a minimum aggregate of 60% marks in the qualifying examination of the XIIth standard organised by various educational boards of India. Candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Physically Disabled (PD) categories must secure a minimum aggregate of 55% in the qualifying examination.[42] The upper age limit for appearing for the [IIT-JEE] is 25 years. The age limit is relaxed to 30 years for candidates classified in the SC, ST and PD categories. Starting with IIT-JEE 2007, a candidate can take IIT-JEE a maximum of two times, and students who are selected for an IIT cannot attempt the examination again.[42] Students select their institute and department of study based on what is available at the time of their counselling that follows the IIT-JEE result.

The admissions into the postgraduate programmes are made through various exams, primarily the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) for Ph.D., M.Tech., and some MS courses. This exam tests the conceptual clarity in technical subjects and is one of the most difficult in the country. Other prominent entrance exams include Joint Admission Test to M.Sc. (JAM) for M.Sc., and Common Admission Test (CAT) for management studies, which replaced Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET) in 2011.[43]

Reservation policy

IIT has an affirmative action policy on caste-based reserved quotas. As per the provisions in the Indian constitution, the IITs have been reserving seats for Scheduled Castes of society since 1973. The IITs follow a reservation policy that is notably different from the quota policy elsewhere in India[citation needed]. As per the rules of admission to IITs, 15% of the admitted students must be of the Scheduled Castes, and 7.5% of seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes.[44] The Other Backward classes have been provided with 27% reservation in effect from 2008 with the consent of the Supreme Court of India. As per the rules, all the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates must take the IIT-JEE with the rest of the students. Based on the results of IIT-JEE but using relaxed admissions criteria, SC and ST candidates are offered admission.[44] Another group of candidates who do not meet this relaxed admission criteria are offered a "Preparatory Course" consisting of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and English at the IIT concerned. After one year of study, those candidates who are able to secure a grade higher than the prescribed cut-off mark are offered admission to the regular undergraduate degree programs. There is no relaxation on the criteria for passing the exams or graduating a course. The candidates admitted through the reservation policy are also subjected to the same criteria as the general candidates for graduation.

In 1989, Prime Minister V. P. Singh accepted and implemented the proposals of the Mandal Commission that recommended provisions of reservations for OBCs in private unaided institutions as well as high-end government jobs for minority communities. No changes took place in the IITs because of the legislation, but in 2005, based on the recommendations of a political panel, the UPA government proposed to implement the reserved-quota system for the OBCs in IITs and IIMs. It received critical objections by many scholars and critics, who described the proposal as "dangerous and divisive" and based solely on political (vote-bank) purposes. Many argued that the OBCs are not a backward community and enjoy good economic and social status and thus a reservation for OBCs becomes a mere strategy to gain votes. Though, the issue has simmered down as of now, it still remains a very hotly argued one.[45] When the government planned to implement the quota system, anti-reservation protests were organised throughout India against the proposal. Student agitations also took place in the IITs and many students who opposed caste-based reservations resorted to hunger strikes. They labelled the quota system as a government tactic to earn cheap votes, and that the system would lead to increased casteism and a severe compromise on merit and talent.[46]

The additional procedures for admission into the IITs (the preparatory course and the qualifying end-of-semester exams that follow) have also been criticised as unnecessary and counter-productive. One of the arguments opposing the modified policy of reservation and favouring direct admission is that a large number of seats remain vacant under the present scheme.[47]


PK Kelkar Library, IIT Kanpur

The IITs receive disproportionately high grants compared to other engineering colleges in India.[48] While the total government funding to most other engineering colleges is around Rs. 100–200 million (USD 2-4 million) per year, the amount varies between Rs. 900–1,300 million (USD 18-26 million) per year for each IIT.[33] Other sources of funds include student fees and research funding from industry and contributions from the alumni. The faculty-to-student ratio in the IITs is between 1:6 and 1:8.[49] The Standing Committee of IIT Council (SCIC) prescribes the lower limit for faculty-to-student ratio as 1:9, applied department wise. The IITs subsidise undergraduate student fees by approximately 80% and provide scholarships to all Master of Technology students and Research Scholars in order to encourage students for higher studies, per the recommendations of the Thacker Committee (1959–1961).[50] The cost borne by undergraduate students is around Rs. 50,000 per annum.[51]

The various IITs function autonomously, and their special status as Institutes of National Importance facilitates the smooth running of IITs, virtually free from both regional as well as student politics. Such autonomy means that IITs can create their own curricula and adapt rapidly to the changes in educational requirements, free from bureaucratic hurdles. The government has no direct control over internal policy decisions of IITs (like faculty recruitment and curricula) but has representation on the IIT Council. The medium of instruction in all IITs is English.[52] The classes are usually held between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., though there are some variations within each IIT. All the IITs have public libraries for the use of their students. In addition to a collection of prescribed books, the libraries have sections for fiction and other literary genres[citation needed]. The electronic libraries allow students to access on-line journals and periodicals.

The academic policies of each IIT are decided by its Senate. This comprises all professors of the IIT and student representatives. Unlike many western universities that have an elected senate, the IITs have an academic senate. It controls and approves the curriculum, courses, examinations and results, and appoints committees to look into specific academic matters. The teaching, training and research activities of the institute are periodically reviewed by the senate to maintain educational standards.[53] The Director of an IIT is the ex-officio Chairman of the Senate.

Central Library, IIT Roorkee

All the IITs follow the credits system of performance evaluation, with proportional weighting of courses based on their importance. The total marks (usually out of 100) form the basis of grades, with a grade value (out of 10) assigned to a range of marks. Sometimes, relative grading is done considering the overall performance of the whole class. For each semester, the students are graded on a scale of 0 to 10 based on their performance, by taking a weighted average of the grade points from all the courses, with their respective credit points. Each semester evaluation is done independently and then the weighted average over all semesters is used to calculate the cumulative grade point average (known as CGPA or CPI—Cumulative Performance Index).

Undergraduate education

IIT Madras Library

The Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) degree is the most common undergraduate degree in the IITs in terms of student enrollment,[citation needed] although dual degrees integrating Master of Science or Master of Arts are also offered. The B.Tech course is based on a 4-year program with eight semesters,[54] while the Dual Degree and Integrated courses are 5-year programs with ten semesters. In all IITs, the first year of B.Tech. and Dual Degree courses are marked by a common course structure for all the students,[55] though in some IITs, a single department introduction related course is also included.[56] The common courses include the basics from most of the departments like Electronics, Mechanics, Chemistry, and Physics. At the end of first year (the end of first semester at IIT Madras), an option to change departments is given to meritorious students on the basis of their performance in the first two semesters.[57] Few such changes ultimately take place as the criteria for them are usually strict,[57] limited to the most meritorious students.

From the second year onwards, the students study subjects exclusively from their respective departments.[58] In addition to these, the students have to take compulsory advanced courses from other departments in order to broaden their education. Separate compulsory courses from humanities and social sciences department, and sometimes management courses are also enforced.[59] At the end of third year, the undergraduate students have to undertake a summer project at an industry or reputed academic institute as part of the curriculum. In the last year of their studies, most of the students are placed into industries and organisations via the placement process of the respective IIT, though some students opt out of this either when going for higher studies or when they take up jobs by applying to the companies directly.[60]

Postgraduate and doctoral education

The IITs offer a number of postgraduate programs including Master of Technology (M.Tech.), Master of Business Administration (MBA) (only for engineers and post graduates in science), and Master of Science (M.Sc.). Some IITs offer specialised graduate programmes such as the Post Graduate Diploma in Information Technology (PGDIT), Master in Medical Science and Technology (MMST), Master of City Planning (MCP), Master of Arts (MA), Postgraduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law (PGDIPL), Master of Design (M.Des.), and the Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Operation & Management (PGDMOM). The IITs also offer the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) as part of their doctoral education programme. In it, the candidates are given a topic of academic interest by the professor or have to work on a consultancy project given by the industries. The duration of the program is usually unspecified and depends on the specific discipline. Ph.D. candidates have to submit a dissertation as well as provide an oral defence for their thesis. Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Research Assistantships (RA) are often provided. Some of the IITs offer an M.S. (by research) program; the M.Tech. and M.S. are similar to the US universities' non-thesis (course based) and thesis (research based) masters programs respectively. The IITs, along with NITs and IISc, account for nearly 80% of all PhDs in engineering.[61]

The IITs also offer an unconventional B.Tech. and M.Tech. integrated educational program called "Dual Degree". It integrates undergraduate and postgraduate studies in selected areas of specialisation. It is completed in five years[62] as against six years in conventional B.Tech. (four years) followed by an M.Tech. (two years).[63] Integrated Master of Science programs are also offered at few IITs which integrates the Undergraduate and Postgraduate studies in Science streams in a single degree program against the conventional University system. These programme was started to allow IITians to complete postgraduate studies from IIT rather than having to go to another institute. All IITs (except IIT Guwahati) have schools of management offering degrees in management or business administration.

Culture and student life

All the IITs provide on-campus residential facilities to the students, research scholars and faculty. The students live in hostels (sometimes referred to as halls) throughout their stay in the IIT. Students in all IITs must choose between National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and National Sports Organisation (NSO) in their first years.[64] All the IITs have sports grounds for cricket, football (soccer), hockey, volleyball, lawn tennis, badminton, and athletics; and swimming pools for aquatic events. Usually the hostels also have their own sports grounds.

Technical and cultural festivals

All IITs organise annual technical festivals, typically lasting three or four days. The technical festivals are Kshitij (IIT Kharagpur), Techfest (IIT Bombay), Cognizance (IIT Roorkee), Technex (IIT BHU), Shaastra (IIT Madras), Techkriti (IIT Kanpur), Tryst (IIT Delhi), Techniche (IIT Guwahati), and Fluxus (IIT Indore). Most of them are organised in the months of January or March. Techfest is the most popular technical festival in Asia in terms of participants and prize money involved, it is conducted at a totally different scale and has been granted patronage from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for providing a platform to students to showcase their talent in science and technology. Shaastra holds the distinction of being the first student-managed event in the world to implement a formal Quality Management System, earning ISO 9001:2000 certification.[65] Kshitij is the largest in terms of Sponsorship amounts and also branded as a techno-management festival due to its emphasis on both technology and management.

Annual cultural festivals are also organised by the IITs and last three to four days. These include Spring Fest (IIT Kharagpur, also known as SF), Rendezvous (IIT Delhi), Tarang (previously Rave) and Thomso (IIT Roorkee), Kashiyatra (IIT BHU, also known as KY), Blithchron (IIT Gandhinagar), Elan (IIT Hyderabad), Alma Fiesta (IIT Bhubaneswar), Mood Indigo (IIT Bombay, also known as Mood-I), Saarang (IIT Madras, previously Mardi Gras), Antaragni (IIT Kanpur), Alcheringa (IIT Guwahati) and Zeitgeist (IIT Ropar) .

Illumination festival in IIT Kharagpur. The outlines are made by earthen lamps.

In addition to these cultural festivals, IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bombay celebrate unique festivals. IIT Kharagpur celebrates the Illumination festival on the eve of Diwali. Large bamboo structures (called chatais) as high as 6 metres (20 ft) are made and earthen lamps (diyas) are placed on them to form outlines of people, monuments, or an event.[66] The competition is held between hostels, it does not receive entries by outside visitors. Coupled with the Illumination festival is the Rangoli festival. In Rangoli, large panels showing an event or a concept, are made on the ground by fine powder, and sometimes even by crushed bangles or other innovative materials.

Unique to IIT Bombay is the Performing Arts Festival (popularly known as PAF). Technically a drama, each PAF includes drama, literature, music, fine arts, debating, and dance. All PAFs are held in the Open Air Theater (OAT), on the main campus of IIT Bombay. Typically two or three hostels (of 14) group together by random draw for each PAF. All of the dialogues are delivered as voice overs and not by the actors, mainly due to the structure and the huge size of the OAT. Recently, IIT Guwahati has also started this Performing Arts Festival (PAF).


IITs have a special status as Institutes of National Importance under the Indian Institute of Technology Act, due to which the degrees provided by IITs need not be recognized by the AICTE.[67] The IIT-JEE and GATE are important factor behind the success of IITs, as it enables the IITs to accept only a select group of meritorious students. This combination of success factors has led to the concept of the IIT Brand.[68] Other factors that have contributed to the success of IITs are stringent faculty recruitment procedures and industry collaboration. The procedure for selection of faculty in IITs is stricter as compared to other colleges offering similar degrees.[69] The Ph.D. degree is a pre-requisite for all regular faculty appointments.

Former IIT students get greater respect from their peers, academia and industry in general.[70] The IIT brand was reaffirmed when the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Indian Americans and especially graduates of IIT for their contributions to the American society.[8] Similarly, China also recognised the value of IITs and planned to replicate the model.[71]

Educational rankings

Nationwide, most IITs are consistently ranked above any other engineering colleges in India in engineering education surveys. For example, in the Dataquest-IDC T-School Survey of technology schools of 2009, the top six positions were taken by IITs.[72]

Worldwide, IIT Bombay was ranked 187 in the QS World University Rankings of 2010, the only IIT in the top 200.[73] In the Engineering & Technology ranking IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi ranked 47 and 52, respectively, with IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras and IIT Kharagpur also on the top 100.[74] While IITs were ranked in The Times Higher Education Supplement ranking until 2009 (IIT Bombay ranking 163 in 2009[75]) none are listed in the 2010 top 200 ranking or any of its sub rankings.[76]

In the Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, only one IIT (IIT Kharagpur) was listed among the top 500 universities worldwide.[77] The IITs fall short in many parameters that are considered for educational rankings. The criteria for ranking[78] prominently include internationally recognised research output, in which the IITs do not achieve notable success.[79]


The IITs have faced criticism from within and outside academia. Major concerns include allegations that they encourage a brain drain and that their stringent entrance examinations encourage coaching colleges and skew the socio-economic profile of the student body.

Brain drain

Among the criticisms of the IIT system by the media and academia, a common notion is that it encourages brain drain. This trend has been reversed somewhat—and is dubbed the reverse brain drain -- as hundreds of IIT graduates, who have pursued further studies in the USA, are returning to India over the last decade.[80] Additionally, IIT alumni are giving back generously to their parent institutions (examples are Kanwal Rekhi to IIT Bombay, Dr. Prabhakant Sinha to IIT Kharagpur, and many others). Until liberalisation started in early 1990s, India experienced large scale emigration of IITians to developed countries, especially to the United States. Since 1953, nearly twenty-five thousand IITians have settled in the USA.[81] Since the USA benefited from subsidised education in IITs at the cost of Indian taxpayers' money, critics say that subsidising education in IITs is useless. Others support the emigration of graduates, arguing that the capital sent home by the IITians has been a major source of the expansion of foreign exchange reserves for India, which, until the 1990s, had a substantial trade deficit.

The extent of intellectual loss has receded substantially over the past decade, with the percentage of students going abroad dropping from as high as 70% to around 30% today.[80] This is largely attributed to the liberalisation of the Indian economy and the opening of previously closed markets. Government initiatives are encouraging IIT students into entrepreneurship programs and are increasing foreign investment. Emerging scientific and manufacturing industries, and outsourcing of technical jobs from North America and Western Europe have created opportunities for aspiring graduates in India. Many undergraduates go abroad to pursue further studies, such as MS, MBA and PhD.

Entrance competition

The highly competitive examination in the form of IIT-JEE has led to establishment of a large number of coaching institutes throughout the country that provide intensive, and specific preparation for the IIT-JEE for substantial fees. It is argued that this favors students from specific regions and richer backgrounds. Some coaching institutes say that they have individually coached nearly 800 successful candidates year after year.[82] According to some estimates, nearly 95% of all students who clear the IIT-JEE had joined coaching classes.[83] Indeed, this was the case regarding preparation for IIT entrance exams even decades ago. In a January 2010 lecture at the Indian Institute of Science, the 2009 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan revealed that he failed to get a seat at any of the colleges of the Indian Institutes of Technology, as well as at an Indian medical college.[84] He also said that his parents, being old-fashioned, did not believe in coaching classes to prepare for the IIT entrance exam and considered them to be "nonsense".[84]

Not all children are of a similar aptitude level and may be skilled in different paradigms and fields. This has led to criticism of the way the examinations are conducted and the way a student is forced in the Indian community. The IIT-JEE format was restructured in 2006 following these complaints.[85] After the change to the objective pattern of questioning, even the students who initially considered themselves not fit for subjective pattern of IIT-JEE decided to take the examination. Though the restructuring was meant to reduce the dependence of students on coaching classes, it led to an increase in students registering for coaching classes.[86] Some people (mostly IITians) have criticised the changed pattern of the IIT-JEE. Their reasoning is that while IIT-JEE traditionally used to test students understanding of fundamentals and ability to apply them to solve tough unseen problems, the current pattern does not stress much on the application part and might lead to a reduced quality of students.[87]

Another criticism is about the language of the exam. IIT-JEE is conducted only in English and Hindi, making it harder for students where regional languages, like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Urdu, Oriya, Bengali, Marathi, Assamese or Gujarati, are more prominent. As an example, in September 2011, the Gujarat High Court has acted on a Public Interest Litigation by the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, for conducting the exams in Gujarati.[88] A second petition was made in October by Navsari's Sayaji Vaibhav Sarvajanik Pustakalaya Trust.[89]


As of 2008, the alumni of IIT number more than 170,000.[90] The IITians are known for their loyalty to their alma mater and many IIT Alumni Associations are active in India and abroad. The IIT alumni either help their alma mater in the form of donations, or by preferential job opportunities extended to students from the IITs. The Vinod Gupta School of Management at IIT Kharagpur and Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management at IIT Bombay are management schools within IITs that have been established largely by alumni donations; these schools were named after their benefactors.

Many IIT's alumni have become entrepreneurs, including N.R. Narayana Murthy (co-founder and former chairman of Infosys), Rajendra S. Pawar (Co-founder and Chairman of NIIT), Vinod Khosla (co-founder, Sun Microsystems), Anurag Dikshit (co-founder of PartyGaming) and Suhas S. Patil (founder and Chairman Emeritus Cirrus Logic Inc.). Other alumni have achieved leading positions in corporations, such as Rajat Gupta (former Managing Director, McKinsey), Arun Sarin (former CEO, Vodafone), Vijay K. Thadani (Co-founder and CEO of NIIT), Victor Menezes (Senior Vice Chairman, Citigroup), and Kanwal Rekhi (CTO, Novell) . IIT alumni have also pursued careers in politics; for example, Manohar Parrikar became the Chief Minister of Goa. Many alumni have gained national and international recognition: Sushantha Kumar Bhattacharyya was awarded the CBE, a knighthood, and Padma Bhushan; and V. C. Kulandaiswamy was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. Arogyaswami Paulraj well known for his work in wireless technology was awarded Padma Bhushan. Narendra Karmarkar is also world-renowned for his work in applied mathematics. Many IITians have contributed a great deal to innovations in science and technology, such as Mani Lal Bhaumik who co-invented the LASIK eye surgery process. They have authored many books and hold many patents.

See also


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