IITs have lot to offer to humanities students too

July 6th, 2008 - 12:50 pm ICT by IANS  

By Vaaruni Eashwar
New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Science is science and humanities is humanities…But it does look like the twain have met - at least at the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT)! Now the IITs have more to offer than just engineering - studying there is an option for those interested in humanities, management and even law.

India has seven IITs. Almost all of them offer management programmes while IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur and IIT Kharagpur offer programmes in humanities. IIT Kharagpur has even a law programme.

IIT Delhi is in the process of starting a two-year MA programme, which should begin in the next year or two.

“We are planning on starting a master of arts (MA) programme in development studies and cultural studies, with maybe about 15-20 seats,” V. Upadhyay, acting head of the humanities and social sciences department, IIT Delhi, told IANS.

“The programme will have an inter-disciplinary approach, making it different from similar courses at other colleges.”

IIT Madras started a five-year integrated MA programme in economics, English and development studies in 2006.

Admission is through the Humanities and Social Sciences Entrance Examination (HSEE), held in May. The number of seats per batch has grown from 30 to 34 this year because of the increased reservation quotas and will gradually increase to about 45.

“The programme was started as part of the goal of promoting research and study in the sciences and engineering as well as the humanities, as is mentioned in the statute book,” V.R. Muraleedharan, head of the humanities and social sciences department at IIT Madras, told IANS on phone.

“We felt that having our own graduate programme would make us feel more complete,” he said.

“We were keen on making the resources of IIT available to a wider cross-section of people. Overall, the response to the programme has been encouraging,” he added.

The programme is well structured with an inter-disciplinary approach. Subjects vary from courses in philosophy and English to economics, sociology, history and development. Students also get to study along with the B.Tech students in certain courses.

Aadya Singh, a student of the first MA batch at IIT Madras, said, “It is a very cohesive programme and apart from the inter-disciplinary approach that widens your exposure, we get to do some basic science and math courses which complement the social sciences.”

IIT Kharagpur and IIT Kanpur have had a five-year integrated M.Sc programme in economics for the last few years. Admission is through the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE). Both the institutes offer 25 seats and economics, as a subject at the senior secondary level, is not a prerequisite.

All the IITs have departments of humanities and social sciences, most of which are as old as the institutes themselves, offering elective courses for B.Tech and M.Tech students as a compulsory part of their curriculum. They have also been conducting PhD programmes in certain subjects in the humanities.

IIT Kharagpur recently set up a law school (Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law), which focuses on intellectual property rights and law related to technology.

The school offers a three-year LLB degree with specialisation in intellectual property rights and also conducts PhD programmes. It is the only IIT to have such a programme.

“We wanted to create a class of professionals with scientific and technological knowledge as well as the additional knowledge of law, which we felt was important,” said S. Tripathy, head of the department.

Management degrees are also offered at all the IITs, except Guwahati, as well as at Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore.

The Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET) is the common admissions test for the two-year post-graduate management programmes at these institutes.

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