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IIT Madras offers academic Flexibility, new courses and credit transfer

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, ranked as the country’s No.1 Engineering Institution for five consecutive years in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), is allowing students to choose nearly 50 per cent of the courses they will be studying, with only a few restrictions.

Out of the electives, students are free to choose about eight courses (called Free Electives) from any of the 16 departments of IIT Madras as well as other approved institutions. The students can get 72 credits from pursuing courses as diverse as History of India, Psychology and Economics to Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning.

Highlighting the salient points of the academic programmes of IIT Madras, V. Jagadeesh Kumar, dean (academic courses) of the institute, said: “I do not think any other IIT offers the academic flexibility being provided to students by IIT Madras. Students can have fun and earn credits too.”

IIT Madras is admitting about 1,300 students this year and is also in the process of adding a new specialisation. “A new specialisation in Dynamical Systems will soon be added. This year, nearly 200 students have upgraded to such specialisations, which is a large number compared with the branch change students. More such specialisations will be added by IIT Madras,” Kumar said.

If a student chooses four such courses in one contiguous area, they will be conferred a minor in that field. For example, if a student chooses four courses in Economics, IIT Madras will confer a minor in Economics to that student. The detailed curriculum and syllabus for each minor programme can be found here.

“For example, if a student is interested in building things and builds a robot, the student can avail credits for the same. Students can earn as much as 36 credits in all departments, with certain departments even offering up to 48 credits for such activities. This is not part of a class but something done for fun and if it clicks, it can be converted to credits under the IIT Madras System,” Kumar said.

Also, IIT Madras has MoUs with many prestigious foreign universities, most of them are in Europe besides quite a few in the US and other countries. IIT Madras students will have the academic flexibility to pursue one entire semester in any of these foreign universities. The list of foreign universities with which IIT Madras has MoUs can be viewed here.

Another unique academic option being offered by IIT Madras is that if students decide that apart from their BTech, they also want an MBA, they need to spend only one more year and they can get both their BTech and MBA degrees from IIT Madras.

IIT Madras has several initiatives to encourage women students to apply. Elaborating on these initiatives, Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras, said: “In recent years, with the introduction of supernumerary seats specifically for girl students in IITs, the fraction of girl students in UG courses at IIT Madras has hit 20 per cent. Typically, at IIT Madras, the fraction of women students in the PhD Program is quite high – almost 30 per cent.”