Indian institute of Technology-Kharagpur.
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Indian institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT-K) has introduced major curriculum reforms for undergraduate students from the academic year 2024-25, in keeping with the spirit of the National Educational Policy (NEP).

The changes, which intend to give greater freedom to students, include abolishing of course-change option at the end of first year and starting of the ‘double major’ system under which, for example, a B.tech student can also earn a degree in economics.

“Admission to all UG programmes will be for four-year B.tech and B.S. levels only. Students will get an opportunity to opt for the five-year dual degree programmes after second or third year of their study… Students can choose a five-year dual degree programme in his/her parent department or he/she can also choose the Interdisciplinary Dual Degree Programmes offered by several schools and centres of the institute,” IIT-Kharagpur said in a press release.

This, the institute said, will create interesting possibilities, such as combining B.S. (hons.) in Economics with M.tech in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, or a B. tech (hons.) in Civil Engineering with M.tech in Financial Engineering, and so on.

Also, the branch change option at the end of the first year for UG students admitted through JEE (Advanced) was being abolished, it said. “This is done to reduce the level of stress some students undergo to secure higher grades for branch change and availability of the option. Less than 10% of the students manage to change their branch every year, leaving the remaining 90% dejected who undergo depression, [which] sometimes results in serious mental health issues and poor performance in subsequent semesters,” the release said.

It further said that students would now have the option of earning a Double Major along with the B.tech (hons.) or B.S (hons.) degree. “For example, a student pursuing B.tech (hons.) in Mechanical Engineering can opt for a Double Major in Economics, or a student pursuing B.S. (hons.) in Physics can opt for a Double Major in Electronics and Electrical Communications Engineering or Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning,” the release said.

The institute has also introduced the Semester Away Program (SAP) for undergraduate students, under which they can spend one semester in another reputed national or international institute or industry or research laboratories and earn full credits equivalent to the semester credits. They can also combine their mandatory summer internship of eight weeks with the semester-long SAP program.

Another important decision is making at least one Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning elective compulsory for all. “Taking into account the rapid developments in AI/ML and its huge potential for the nation, studying at least one elective will be made mandatory for all the students along with several other electives being offered in areas such as Linguistics, Happiness and Well-Being, Indian Knowledge Systems, Performing Arts, etc.,” it said.


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