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Few opt for branch change: ITT-M on the option being cut

Chennai: After suspending branch change option for the 2020-21 batch, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, defended it saying only a small percentage of undergraduate students availed the option every year. On the other hand, a larger pool upgraded to interdisciplinary dual degree programmes in emerging areas including data science, bio-medical engineering, computational engineering and robotics — an option still available to the institute students this year.
“IIT-M admits about 1,300 students a year and only 25 to 30 students get their branch changed, which is a really small number in comparison,” IIT-M dean (academic) professor Jagadeesh Kumar said, adding the suspension of that option would not be an impediment.
“On the other hand, a student in the fourth semester or the fifth semester can upgrade to a large number of interdisciplinary programmes. This year, nearly 200 students upgraded to specializations which is a large number when compared with branch changes,” Kumar said. Students were allowed to upgrade their BTech courses into dual degree programmes in areas of interest.
IIT-M suspended the branch change option to students in view of Covid-19 pandemic. The option is usually available for students who score more than eight CGPA at the end of first semester and students generally prefer to switch over to computer science, electrical and mechanical engineering branches.
Citing that other IITs still have branch change option, IIT-M aspirants and parents urged that the institute reconsider its decision.
In a release, IIT-M said it offers one of the best academic curriculum in the world and that its academic flexibility is unrivaled, even among IITs. “Students have the freedom to choose nearly 50% of course subjects, with only some restrictions,” the institute said.