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BITS Pilani

Coordinates: 28°21′49.96″N 75°35′13.26″E / 28.3638778°N 75.5870167°E / 28.3638778; 75.5870167
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani
Former names
  • Birla College of Engineering[1]
Mottogyānaṁ paramaṁ balam (Sanskrit)
Motto in English
Knowledge is supreme power
TypeInstitute of Eminence Deemed University
  • 1946; 78 years ago (as Birla College of Engineering)
  • 1964; 60 years ago (as BITS Pilani)[2]
FounderG.D. Birla
Endowment$356,557[3] (2017)
ChancellorKumar Mangalam Birla
Vice-ChancellorV. Ramgopal Rao
DirectorSudhirkumar Barai (Pilani campus)[4]
Academic staff
Students13,049 (2021-22)[5]
Undergraduates10,977 (2021-22)[5]
Postgraduates1,363 (2021-22)[5]
709 (2021-22)[5]

28°21′49.96″N 75°35′13.26″E / 28.3638778°N 75.5870167°E / 28.3638778; 75.5870167
CampusMultiple sites, 328 acres (133 ha) (Pilani campus)
Colors      Sky blue, red, and yellow
AffiliationsUGC,[6] NAAC,[7] PCI,[8] AIU,[9] ACU[10]

Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) is a deemed university in Pilani, Rajasthan, India.[11] It focuses primarily on higher education and research in engineering and sciences.[12] BITS Pilani is one of the first six institutes in India to be granted Institute of Eminence status.[13] According to 2012 data, BITS Pilani has an acceptance rate of 1.47%, making it one of the most exclusive technical universities in the world.[14][15]

The institute was established in its present form in 1964.[16] During this period, the institute's transformation from a regional engineering college to a national university was backed by G.D. Birla. The university has expanded its campuses from Pilani to Goa, Hyderabad and Dubai.[17] After expansion to a campus in Dubai, it has become the first international deemed university, spearheading research in science and engineering with four established campuses and fifteen academic departments. Backed by the Aditya Birla Group, the institute secures extramural research funds from industries and various government agencies.[18][19]

Admissions to on-campus programs are solely merit-based and assessed by the entrance examinations conducted by BITS.[20][21] Through its highly successful and widespread alumni network spanning globally across varied fields, BITS Pilani has made a significant impact on corporates, academia, research, entrepreneurship, arts and social activism.[22][23]




Large buildings surrounding green quadrangle
Aerial view, BITS Pilani (1978)
Aerial image of the Pilani campus with the newly inaugurated Rotunda (2014)

Founded in 1929, the Birla Education Trust established an intermediate college,[24] followed by the addition of Science and Pharmacy colleges in 1943 and 1950 respectively.[25] The Birla College of Engineering, offering degree programs in electrical and mechanical engineering was started in 1946.[26] The master's program in electronics was introduced in 1955.[27] In 1964, the Birla Colleges of Science, Engineering and Pharmacy were incorporated to form the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS).

Reacting to early criticism about the project, contemporary advisor Thomas Drew said:

In my judgment to attempt to develop an American institution in India would be like trying to graft apples on a pine tree. We have not been asked to make such an attempt. We were asked to help devise in India an Indian technological school to produce graduates with the know-how to produce knowledge pertinent for India…. In many respects, they consider us immature, rude, hypocritical barbarians who in certain respects happened to hit it lucky. To be viable in India an institution must be framed with Indian values in mind.[28]

BITS Pilani became a deemed university established under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956 by notification No. F.12-23/63.U-2 of 18 June 1964.[29][30] In its formative years, the Institute tied up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, USA.[29][31] It adopted a semester system, modular structure of courses, continuous and internal evaluation, letter grading and the likes. It also created linkages with the industries which yielded structured “Practice Schools” as an integral component of education.[29]

The Institute board provided direction in developing a curriculum, selecting equipment, upgrading the library and recruiting (and training) an Indian faculty. To quicken the pace of reform he convinced C. R. Mitra to be the new director of the institute. Mitra advocated a "practice school" internship program as a requirement for faculty and students.[32] The Practice School Program is still a requirement for students in BITS.

Low, gold-colored building seen from green space
Clock tower, BITS Pilani

According to Robert Kargon and Stuart Leslie:

BITS offered an opportunity to build a leading technological university in India responsive to India's goals, to produce practising engineers who will be in a position to graduate and to build industries in India, under Indian conditions. With its emphasis on the Practice School and ties to Indian industry, it helped educate Indian industrialists along with Indian engineers who would remain in India, in contrast to many other engineering colleges in India, most of whose graduates would leave the country after obtaining their basic engineering education. The Ford Foundation Evaluators...proudly noted that the Indian government, despite having given no direct financial support, was looking to BITS to provide a model for future development in education in engineering and science in India.[28]

Like Berkeley, BITS Pilani has also experienced student activism. BITS Pilani had to be shut down multiple times because of student strikes in 1973, 1980, 1985 and 2017.[33][34]

Multi-campus expansion

Campuses Within India: Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad, Mumbai

In 1999, enrollment expanded from 2,500 to 4,000[35] and campuses were founded in Dubai (2000) and Goa (2004). Upon invitation by the Government of Andhra Pradesh, BITS Pilani acquired 200 acres (81 ha) of land from the Andhra Pradesh government through the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority for a new constituent campus in 2006. The land is located in Jawaharnagar, Shameerpet Mandal in the Rangareddy district.[36] The BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus opened in 2008; the school also has a virtual university[37] and an extension center in Bangalore.[38] BITS School of Management (BITSoM) was established in January 2021 and offers a 2-year full-time residential MBA. BITSoM has its interim campus in Hiranandani Knowledge Park, Powai, Mumbai while the 63-acre permanent campus is being set up in Kalyan within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.[39] In March 2023, BITS Pilani entered into legal education with the establishment of BITS Law School (BITSLAW) in the Mumbai campus.[40] In February 2024, BITS entered the field of design education by setting up BITS Design School (BITSDES) in the Mumbai campus.[41][42]

Chancellor and academic head


BITS Pilani has a tradition of long-serving chancellors. Its founder, G.D. Birla, was chancellor from the college's inception until his death in 1983.[35] He was followed by his son, Krishna Kumar Birla, who was chancellor until his death in 2008.[43] Currently, Kumar Mangalam Birla is chancellor and Shobhana Bhartia is pro-chancellor.[44]

The first academic head of the institution was J. C. Stracliff (Principal) for a period of 3 years during 1946–1949.[45] V. Lakshminarayan became Principal of Birla Engineering College in 1949 and Director of BITS Pilani in 1964 when it was established (serving until 1969).[46] He was succeeded by the third and fourth academic heads (BITS Pilani Directors) C.R. Mitra (1969–1989)[47] and S. Venkateswaran (1989–2006). L.K. Maheshwari was the fifth academic head, serving as Director as well as Vice Chancellor, the latter terminology denoting the overall head of multiple campuses (each of which now has a Director). The current directors of the campuses are Prof. Sudhirkumar Barai, Prof. Suman Kundu, Prof. Soumyo Mukherji, and Prof. Srinivasan Madapusi for Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad, and Dubai campuses, respectively.[48][49][50][51]

In April 2016, Chancellor Kumar Mangalam Birla announced that Prof. Souvik Bhattacharya of IIT Kharagpur was selected to take over as the new Vice chancellor of BITS Pilani. He took over in June 2016 to become the 6th academic head of the institute.[52] Prof. Ranendra N. Saha served as the Acting Vice Chancellor from 13 June 2021 to 30 September 2021 after the expiration of Prof. Bhattacharya's term. The latter was re-appointed as the Vice Chancellor from 1 October 2021 for a period of five years.[53] On 10 March 2023, Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao took over the Vice Chancellor's office from the outgoing Prof. Bhattacharya, becoming the seventh academic head of the institute.[54][55]



Pilani campus


Spread across 328 acres (1,330,000 m2), the main campus in Pilani is positioned 200 kilometres (120 mi) west of Delhi and 220 kilometres (140 mi) north of Jaipur.[56] The campus has 11,245 square metres (121,040 sq ft) of classrooms and 7,069 square metres (76,090 sq ft) of laboratories.

G.D. Birla Memorial
Birla Science Centre, BITS Pilani

The Pilani campus has India's first technological museum, the Birla Museum. Built in 1954, it showcases technological achievements.[57][58] BITS has a 2,535-square-metre (27,290 sq ft) auditorium decorated with paintings by students from the department of art and decoration.[59]

Temple with four rounded step levels
Saraswati temple, BITS Pilani

BITS has a Sharda Peeth dedicated to the goddess Saraswati, Sharda Peeth, built by G. D. Birla. The white marble temple is built on a 7-foot (2.1 m)-high foundation, with 70 pillars for support. It covers an area of 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2).[60]

Residential and dining facilities


The institute has fourteen hostels in total. Each hostel is referred as a "Bhawan", the Sanskrit word for hostel. Twelve of them – Krishna Bhawan, Vishwakarma Bhawan, Rana Pratap Bhawan, Bhagirath Bhawan, Ashok Bhawan, Gandhi Bhawan, Shankar Bhawan, Vyas Bhawan, Ram Bhawan, Budh Bhawan, Malviya Bhawan, CV Raman Bhavan and Srinivasa Ramanujan Bhawan are for male students. Meera Bhawan is the only hostel for female students. The institute also has one more hostel for parents and guests[61] The hostels are named after saints, scientists, and historical and religious figures.

Every two hostels share a mess hall except Meera Bhawan, Srinivasa Ramanujan Bhawan and Sir C V Raman Bhawan which have their own mess halls. All dining areas are student-managed.[62] Students may also eat at a "Redi" (a small kiosk near every hostel), Institute Canteen (IC), the All-Night Canteen (ANC), Food Ministry (FM), and the Student Activity Centre (SAC) cafeteria (Talk Of The Town and Mr. Idli). The ANC is also student-managed.[63] Moreover, there is a small area inside campus called "Connaught" which has many restaurants, cafes, etc.[64] and has shops for general daily needs as well.

Vision 2020, Mission 2012


In 2010 the institute launched a renewal project, "Vision 2020, Mission 2012,"[65] to identify and implement measures establishing BITS Pilani as one of India's top three research-led universities by 2015 and among the leading 25 technical universities in Asia by 2020. As a part of this initiative, Kumar Mangalam Birla visited the Pilani campus on 13 November 2011 with pro-chancellor Shobhana Bhartia and other members of the board of governors. At this meeting, Birla announced a Rs. 600 crore fund for renovation and construction of new academic buildings and student hostels on the Pilani campus. The project was planned for completion in 2014.[66]

Goa campus


Hyderabad campus


Dubai campus




Academic programmes (On-campus)


Integrated first degrees


BITS Pilani offers four-year integrated first-degree programs in engineering and pharmacy, and integrated Master of Science programs in science and technology.[67]

BITS Pilani is noted for its Dual-Degree program, wherein students are allowed to pursue two degrees, namely a Master's in Science (M.Sc.) and a Bachelor's in Engineering (B.E.) simultaneously for a time duration of five-years. The dual-degree program is part of the first-degree programs and is offered to students taking the BITSAT exam.[68]

Higher degrees


BITS Pilani offers two-year higher-degree programs in engineering, pharmacy and business administration.[69]

The Master of Engineering (M.E.) program is offered on-campus to students on the basis of GATE scores and BITS HD exam scores.[70]



Pilani, Goa and Hyderabad campuses


Before 2005, admissions were based on the candidates' score in the 12th board examination. BITS had been moderating marks from various school boards since 1982.

Since 2005, admission to first-degree in BITS has been offered on the basis of the student's performance in the all-India entrance examination, the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Admission Test (BITSAT).[71] BITSAT, for which applications are submitted in December, is conducted online in May and June in cities all over India. The exam tests the candidate's knowledge, reasoning and analytical abilities in physics, chemistry, mathematics, English and logical reasoning, and is based on higher secondary curricula in India and abroad. A 2012 news report showed that BITSAT had become more competitive than the IIT-JEE, in terms of the ratio of the number of aspirants to the number of seats available.[71]

Admission to on-campus higher degrees such as Master's in Engineering (M.E.) is done on the basis of GATE scores and BITS HD (Higher Degree) examination scores.[70]

For foreign students, BITS has a separate admission scheme called International Student Admissions (ISA) category. To gauge the merit of these ISA students, BITS accepts the SAT and SAT Subject Tests in chemistry, physics, and Math 2C.[72]

Dubai campus


Admission to Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani – Dubai Campus is based on scores in the 12th standard qualifying exam along with BITSAT. Although the BITS Pilani-Dubai campus was established for the educational requirements of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, admission is open to students of all nationalities.[73]

International projects


BITS Pilani is a partner in developing the JournalServer[74] open-access digital library, Project IPV6[75] and the MIT iCampus[76] initiative.

Distance learning programs [WILP]


BITS Pilani also offers online distance learning programs such as Work Integrated Learning Program (WILP) in which students can get a B.Tech, M.Tech, Diploma, as well as Certificate programs while working in the industry.[77]


University and college rankings
General – international
QS (World) (2023)[78]951-1000
QS (Asia) (2023)[79]175
Times (World) (2023)[80]801–1000
Times (Asia) (2022)[81]251–300
Times (Emerging) (2022)[82]301–350
General – India
NIRF (Overall) (2023)[83]25
NIRF (Research) (2023)[84]26
NIRF (Universities) (2023)[85]20
Engineering – India
NIRF (2023)[86]25
Private colleges: 
Outlook India (2022)[87]2
Pharmacy – India
NIRF (2023)[88]3

Internationally, BITS Pilani was ranked 951-1000 in the QS World University Rankings for 2024[89] and 188 in Asia.[79] It was ranked 801–1000 in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2023,[80] 251–300 in Asia in 2022[81] and 301–350 among emerging economies.[82]

In India, BITS Pilani was ranked 25 overall in 2023 by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF),[90] 20 among universities,[91] 25 in the engineering ranking[92] and 3 in India in the pharmacy ranking.[93] It was ranked 7th among engineering colleges by India Today in 2020 and second among private engineering colleges by Outlook India in 2022.[87]

The Department of Management was ranked 10 among private management schools in India by Outlook India in 2020.

Student life






Oasis is the annual cultural festival of the BITS, Pilani. It hosts a variety of events in various categories like dance, drama, literature, comedy, fashion and music.[94]



BOSM (BITS-Pilani Open Sports Meet) is the annual sports competition at the Pilani campus. BITS-Pilani invites colleges throughout India to participate in events including carrom board, hockey, cricket, basketball, football, volleyball, track and field, badminton, tennis, table tennis, squash and weightlifting. Since its 2010 silver jubilee (25th) anniversary, BOSM has invited a team from Moratuwa University in Sri Lanka.[95]



APOGEE (A Professions Oriented Gathering over Educational Experiences) is an international annual technical festival at the Pilani campus.[96] Since its inception in 1983, APOGEE has hosted students and researchers from across the country. The guest lecture series of the fest, Think Again Conclave has received eminent speakers in the past which include A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Richard Stallman, Jimmy Wales, Kailash Satyarthi, Walter Lewin and A. S. Kiran Kumar.[97] Other events include the Paper Presentation Event, which is one of the oldest research paper presentation platforms in the country, and Project Presentation, which exhibits over 550 projects in various fields of science and engineering.



BITS Spark programme was launched in 2012. The programme promotes entrepreneurship courses and workshops, offers mentorship, and provides angel funds.[98]

Notable alumni


See also



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