IIT Kharagpur announces major reforms in undergraduate programs aligning with National Educational Policy

IIT Kharagpur campus

The Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur) has introduced a series of transformative reforms to its undergraduate (UG) programs, commencing from the academic year 2024-25. These changes, the institute asserts, are in complete alignment with the National Educational Policy (NEP 2020), aiming to enhance educational outcomes and student flexibility.

Starting in 2024, all UG admissions at IIT Kharagpur will lead to a five-year program, either at the Bachelor of Technology (BTech) or Bachelor of Science (BS) level. In a novel approach, students can pursue dual degree programs after their second or third year. These can be within their primary department or through interdisciplinary dual degree programs (IDDP) offered across various schools and centers of the institute.

This innovative structure opens up many exciting possibilities for students, such as earning a BS (Hons) in Economics alongside an MTech in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning or combining a BTech (Hons.) in Civil Engineering with an MTech in Financial Engineering. By allowing students to make these decisions after gaining experience and insights into their fields of study at IIT Kharagpur, the institute aims to facilitate more informed and personalised educational pathways.

Another significant reform is abolishing the branch change option at the end of the first year for UG students admitted through the JEE Advanced. This decision was made to alleviate the high-stress levels associated with the competitive process, which, for less than 10% of students who successfully change their branch, leaves the remainder facing potential depression, mental health issues, and academic underperformance.

Furthermore, starting with the 2024 admissions, UG students will have the opportunity to pursue a “double major,” allowing them to earn an additional major alongside their primary BTech (Hons) or BS (Hons) degree. This initiative will enable students to broaden their academic horizons and skills in multiple disciplines, such as a mechanical engineering student obtaining a double major in economics or a physics student exploring electronics and electrical communications engineering, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.

To complement these degrees, IIT Kharagpur also introduces options for students to earn a “Minor” or a “Micro-Specialisation” in various disciplines, emphasising the importance of interdisciplinary studies. Notably, the curriculum will now mandate at least one elective in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) for all students, alongside a diverse selection of electives in areas such as linguistics, happiness and well-being, Indian knowledge systems, and performing arts.

Another innovative feature is the Semester Away Program (SAP), where from the academic year 2024-25, undergraduate students may spend a semester at another renowned national or international institute, industry, or research laboratory, earning full credits for the semester. This program can also be combined with the mandatory summer internship, offering students an extended eight-month exposure to global institutions and industries.

These reforms by IIT Kharagpur represent a significant leap forward in aligning India’s premier engineering education with global standards and the evolving demands of the workforce, thereby preparing students for a future of innovation, leadership, and societal contribution.

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