Indian Institutes of Technology

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Indian Institutes of Technology is located in India
Location of the 23 Indian Institutes of Technology
Indian Institutes of Technology
TypePublic universities
Location23 places in India
NicknameIIT or IITs

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are autonomous public institutes of higher education, located in India.[1] They are governed by the Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 which has declared them as institutions of national importance and lays down their powers, duties, and framework for governance etc.[2][3] The Institutes of Technology Act, 1961 lists twenty-three institutes (after the last amendment in 2016).[4] Each IIT is an autonomous institution, linked to the others through a common IIT Council, which oversees their administration. The Minister of Human Resource Development is the ex-officio Chairperson of IIT Council.[5] As of 2018, the total number of seats for undergraduate programmes in all 23 IITs is 11,279.[6]

The first IIT was set up in Kharagpur in 1951, and soon later in Bombay (1958), Madras (1959), Kanpur (1959) and Delhi (1963). An IIT was then established in Guwahati in 1994. The University of Roorkee was converted to IIT Roorkee in 2001. Eight new IITs were set up in Gandhinagar, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Ropar, and Mandi in 2008-09. Around the same time the Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University was given IIT status. Another six new IITs in Tirupati, Palakkad, Dharwad, Bhilai, Goa and Jammu, approved through a 2016 bill amendment were established in 2015-16, along with the conversion of ISM Dhanbad to IIT.

The IITs have a common admission process for undergraduate admissions, the Joint Entrance Examination - Advanced, formerly called the IIT-JEE until 2012. JEE Advanced admits students according to their ranks in the exam. The post-graduate level program that awards M.Tech., MS degrees, and the doctoral programme that offers Ph.D. in engineering is administered by the older IITs. M.Tech. and MS admissions are done on the basis of Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). Additionally, IITs also award other graduate degrees such as M.Sc in Maths, Physics and Chemistry, MBA, etc. Admission to these programs of IITs is done through Common Admission Test (CAT), Joint Admission Test for M.Sc. (JAM) and Common Entrance Examination for Design (CEED). IIT Guwahati and IIT Bombay offer undergraduate design programmes as well.[7] Joint Seat Allocation Authority conducts the joint admission process for a total of 23 IITs,[8][9][10] that offer admission for 10,962 seats in 2017.[11]


The IITs are located in:

IITs and locations, sorted by date of establishment[3][4][12][13]
Serial no Name Short Name[citation needed] Founded Established (as IIT) State/UT
1 IIT Kharagpur IITKGP 1951 1951 West Bengal
2 IIT Bombay IITB 1958 1958 Maharashtra
3 IIT Kanpur IITK 1959 1959 Uttar Pradesh
4 IIT Madras IITM 1959 1959 Tamil Nadu
5 IIT Delhi IITD 1961 1963 Delhi
6 IIT Guwahati IITG 1994 1994 Assam
7 IIT Roorkee IITR 1847 2001 Uttarakhand
8 IIT Ropar IITRPR 2008 2008 Punjab
9 IIT Bhubaneswar IITBBS 2008 2008 Odisha
10 IIT Gandhinagar IITGN 2008 2008 Gujarat
11 IIT Hyderabad IITH 2008 2008 Telangana
12 IIT Jodhpur IITJ 2008 2008 Rajasthan
13 IIT Patna IITP 2008 2008 Bihar
14 IIT Indore IITI 2009 2009 Madhya Pradesh
15 IIT Mandi IITMandi 2009 2009 Himachal Pradesh
16 IIT (BHU) Varanasi IIT (BHU) 1919 2012 Uttar Pradesh
17 IIT Palakkad IITPKD 2015[14] 2015[14] Kerala
18 IIT Tirupati IITTP 2015 2015 Andhra Pradesh
19 IIT Dhanbad IIT (ISM) 1926 2016 Jharkhand
20 IIT Bhilai[15] IITBH 2016 2016 Chhattisgarh
21 IIT Goa[16] IITGOA 2016 2016 Goa
22 IIT Jammu[17] IITJMU 2016 2016 Jammu and Kashmir
23 IIT Dharwad[18] IITDH 2016 2016 Karnataka


The office of the Hijli Detention Camp served as the first academic building of IIT Kharagpur.

The history of the IIT system dates back to 1946 when Sir Jogendra Singh of the Viceroy's Executive Council set up a committee whose task was to consider the creation of Higher Technical Institutions for post-war industrial development in India. The 22-member committee, headed by Nalini Ranjan Sarkar, recommended the establishment of these institutions in various parts of India, with affiliated secondary institutions.

The first Indian Institute of Technology was founded in May 1950 at the site of the Hijli Detention Camp in Kharagpur.[19] The first Indian Institute of Technology was established in 1951. On 15 September 1956, the Parliament of India passed the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) Act, declaring it as an Institute of National Importance. Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India, in the first convocation address of IIT Kharagpur in 1956 said:[20]

On the recommendations of the Sarkar Committee, four campuses were established at Bombay (1958), Madras (1959), Kanpur (1959), and Delhi (1961). The location of these campuses was chosen to be scattered throughout India to prevent regional imbalance.[21] The Indian Institutes of Technology Act was amended to reflect the addition of new IITs.[2] Student agitations in the state of Assam made Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi promise the creation of a new IIT in Assam. This led to a sixth campus at Guwahati under the Assam Accord in 1960. The University of Roorkee, India's oldest engineering college, was conferred IIT status in 2001.

IITG estd. 1994

Over the past few years, there have been a number of developments toward establishing new IITs. On 1 October 2003, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced plans to create more IITs "by upgrading existing academic institutions that have the necessary promise and potential".[22] Subsequent developments led to the formation of the S K Joshi Committee in November 2003 to guide the selection of the five institutions which would become the five new IITs. Based on the initial recommendations of the Sarkar Committee, it was decided that further IITs should be spread throughout the country. When the government expressed its willingness to correct this regional imbalance, 16 states demanded IITs. Since the S K Joshi Committee prescribed strict guidelines for institutions aspiring to be IITs,[23] only seven colleges were selected for final consideration.[24] Plans are also reported to open IITs outside India, though not enough progress has been made in this regard.[25] Eventually in the 11th Five year plan, eight states were identified for establishment of new IITs and IT-BHU was converted into an IIT.[26]

Indian School of Mines at Dhanbad was converted to IIT Dhanbad in 2016.[27]

Organisational structure[edit]

Organisational Structure of IITs

The President of India is the most powerful person in the organisational structure of IITs, being the ex officio Visitor,[28] and having residual powers. Directly under the President is the IIT Council, which comprises the minister-in-charge of technical education in the Union Government, the Chairmen of all IITs, the Directors of all IITs, the Chairman of the University Grants Commission, the Director General of CSIR, the Chairman of IISc, the Director of IISc, three members of Parliament, the Joint Council Secretary of Ministry of Human Resource and Development, and three appointees each of the Union Government, AICTE, and the Visitor.[29]

Under the IIT Council is the Board of Governors of each IIT. Under the Board of Governors is the Director, who is the chief academic and executive officer of the IIT.[30] Under the Director, in the organisational structure, comes the Deputy Director. Under the Director and the Deputy Director, come the Deans, Heads of Departments, Registrar, President of the Students' Council, and Chairman of the Hall Management Committee. The Registrar is the chief administrative officer of the IIT and overviews the day-to-day operations.[30] Below the Heads of Department (HOD) are the faculty members (Professors, Associate Professors, and Assistant Professors). The Wardens come under the Chairman of the Hall Management Committee.[31]

The Institutes of Technology Act[edit]

The Institutes of Technology act was later taken as the base for the following years up until date. The Act primarily accepted few IITs as Institutes of National Importance and converted them from 'Societies' to University status.


PK Kelkar Library, IIT Kanpur

The IITs receive comparatively higher grants than other engineering colleges in India.[32] While the total government funding to most other engineering colleges is around Rs. 10–20 crores (USD 2–4 million) per year, the amount varies between Rs. 90 crores –130 crores (USD 18–26 million) per year for each IIT.[24] Other sources of funds include student fees and research funding from industry and contributions from the alumni. The faculty-to-student ratio in the IITs is between 1:6 and 1:8.[33] The Standing Committee of IIT Council (SCIC) prescribes the lower limit for faculty-to-student ratio as 1:9, applied department wise. The IITs subsidise undergraduate student fees by approximately 80% and provide scholarships to all Master of Technology students and Research Scholars in order to encourage students for higher studies, per the recommendations of the Thacker Committee (1959–1961).[34] The cost borne by undergraduate students is around Rs. 180,000 per annum.[35] After students from SC and ST categories, physically challenged students will now[when?] be the beneficiaries of fee waiver at the IITs in India.[citation needed]

The various IITs function autonomously, and their special status as Institutes of National Importance facilitates the smooth running of IITs, virtually free from both regional as well as student politics. Such autonomy means that IITs can create their own curricula and adapt rapidly to the changes in educational requirements, free from bureaucratic hurdles. The government has no direct control over internal policy decisions of IITs (like faculty recruitment and curricula) but has representation on the IIT Council. The medium of instruction in all IITs is English.[36] The classes are usually held between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm, though there are some variations within each IIT. All the IITs have public libraries for the use of their students. In addition to a collection of prescribed books, the libraries have sections for fiction and other literary genres[citation needed]. The electronic libraries allow students to access on-line journals and periodicals. The IITs and IISc have taken an initiative along with Ministry of Human Resource Development to provide free online videos of actual lectures of different disciplines under National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning. This initiative is undertaken to make quality education accessible to all students.[37]

The academic policies of each IIT are decided by its Senate. This comprises all professors of the IIT and student representatives. Unlike many western universities that have an elected senate, the IITs have an academic senate. It controls and approves the curriculum, courses, examinations and results, and appoints committees to look into specific academic matters. The teaching, training and research activities of the institute are periodically reviewed by the senate to maintain educational standards.[38] The Director of an IIT is the ex-officio Chairman of the Senate.

Central Library, IIT Roorkee

All the IITs follow the credits system of performance evaluation, with proportional weighting of courses based on their importance. The total marks (usually out of 100) form the basis of grades, with a grade value (out of 10) assigned to a range of marks. Sometimes, relative grading is done considering the overall performance of the whole class. For each semester, the students are graded on a scale of 0 to 10 based on their performance, by taking a weighted average of the grade points from all the courses, with their respective credit points. Each semester evaluation is done independently and then the weighted average over all semesters is used to calculate the cumulative grade point average (known as CGPA or CPI—Cumulative Performance Index).

Undergraduate education[edit]

The Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree is the most common undergraduate degree in the IITs in terms of student enrollment,[citation needed] although dual degrees integrating Master of Science or Master of Arts are also offered. The BTech course is based on a 4-year program with eight semesters,[39] while the Dual Degree and Integrated courses are 5-year programs with ten semesters. In all IITs, the first year of BTech and Dual Degree courses are marked by a common course structure for all the students, though in some IITs, a single department introduction related course is also included.[40] The common courses include the basics from most of the departments like Electronics, Mechanics, Chemistry, Electrical and Physics. At the end of first year (the end of first semester at IIT Madras, IIT Hyderabad and IIT Roorkee), an option to change departments is given to meritorious students on the basis of their performance in the first two semesters.[41] Few such changes ultimately take place as the criteria for them are usually strict,[41] limited to the most meritorious students.

From the second year onwards, the students study subjects exclusively from their respective departments.[42] In addition to these, the students have to take compulsory advanced courses from other departments in order to broaden their education. Separate compulsory courses from humanities and social sciences department, and sometimes management courses are also enforced.[43] In the last year of their studies, most of the students are placed into industries and organisations via the placement process of the respective IIT, though some students opt out of this either when going for higher studies or when they take up jobs by applying to the companies directly.[44]

Postgraduate and doctoral education[edit]

Master's degrees and postgraduate diplomas

The IITs offer a number of postgraduate programs including Master of Technology (MTech), Master of Business Administration (MBA) (only for engineers and post graduates in science), and Master of Science (MSc). Some IITs offer specialised graduate programmes such as Master of Design (M.Des.), the Post Graduate Diploma in Information Technology (PGDIT), Master in Medical Science and Technology (MMST), Master of City Planning (MCP), Master of Arts (MA), Postgraduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law (PGDIPL), and the Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Operation & Management (PGDMOM).

Some of the IITs offer an M.S. (by research) program; the MTech and M.S. are similar to the US universities' non-thesis (course based) and thesis (research based) masters programs respectively. Admissions to masters programs in engineering are made using scores of the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), while those to masters programs in science are made using scores of the Joint Admission Test to MSc (JAM).

Several IITs have schools of management offering master's degrees in management or business administration.

Bachelors-Masters dual degrees

The IITs also offer an unconventional BTech and MTech integrated educational program called "Dual Degree". It integrates undergraduate and postgraduate studies in selected areas of specialisation. It is completed in five years[45] as against six years in conventional BTech (four years) followed by an MTech (two years).[46] Integrated Master of Science programs are also offered at few IITs which integrates the Undergraduate and Postgraduate studies in Science streams in a single degree program against the conventional University system. These programs were started to allow IITians to complete postgraduate studies from IIT rather than having to go to another institute.

Doctoral degrees

The IITs also offer the Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) as part of their doctoral education programme. In it, the candidates are given a topic of academic interest by the professor or have to work on a consultancy project given by the industries. The duration of the program is usually unspecified and depends on the specific discipline. PhD candidates have to submit a dissertation as well as provide an oral defence for their thesis. Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Research Assistantships (RA) are often provided.

The IITs, along with NITs and IISc, account for nearly 80% of all engineering PhDs in India.[47] IITs now allow admission in PhD programs without the mandatory GATE score.[48][49]

Culture and student life[edit]

All the IITs provide on-campus residential facilities to the students, research scholars and faculty. The students live in hostels (sometimes referred to as halls) throughout their stay in the IIT. Students in all IITs must choose among National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and National Sports Organisation (NSO) in their first years.[50] All the IITs have sports grounds for basketball, cricket, football (soccer), hockey, volleyball, lawn tennis, badminton, and athletics; and swimming pools for aquatic events. Usually the hostels also have their own sports grounds. Moreover, an Inter IIT Sports Meet is organized annually where participants from all 23 IITs contest for the General Championship Trophy in 13 different sports.[51]

Technical and cultural festivals[edit]

All IITs organise annual technical festivals, typically lasting three or four days. The technical festivals are Shaastra (IIT Madras), Kshitij (IIT Kharagpur), Techfest (IIT Bombay), Cognizance (culfest) (IIT Roorkee), Concetto (IIT-ISM Dhanbad), Nvision (IIT Hyderabad), Amalthea (technical summit)(IIT Gandhinagar), Technex (IIT BHU), Techkriti (IIT Kanpur), Tryst (IIT Delhi), Techniche (IIT Guwahati), Wissenaire (IIT Bhubaneswar), Exodia (IIT Mandi), Fluxus (IIT Indore), Celesta (IIT Patna) and IGNUS (IIT Jodhpur) has now become the biggest techno-cultural college festival in Central India,. Most of them are organised in the months of January or March. Techfest (IIT Bombay) is also one of the most popular and largest technical festival in Asia in terms of participants and prize money involved. It has been granted patronage from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for providing a platform to students to showcase their talent in science and technology. Shaastra holds the distinction of being the first student-managed event in the world to implement a formal Quality Management System, earning ISO 9001:2000 certification.[52] Kshitij is the largest in terms of Sponsorship amounts and also branded as a techno-management festival due to its emphasis on both technology and management.

Annual cultural festivals are also organised by the IITs and last three to four days. These include Alcheringa (IIT Guwahati), Exodia (IIT Mandi), Saarang (IIT Madras, previously Mardi Gras), Spring Fest (IIT Kharagpur, also known as SF), Rendezvous (IIT Delhi), Srijan (IIT-ISM Dhanbad), Tarang (culfest) (previously Rave), Anwesha (IIT Patna), Kashiyatra (IIT BHU, also known as KY), SPANDAN (IIT Jodhpur), Blithchron (IIT Gandhinagar), ELAN (IIT Hyderabad), Alma Fiesta (IIT Bhubaneswar), Mood Indigo (IIT Bombay, also known as Mood-I), Antaragni (IIT Kanpur), Zeitgeist (IIT Ropar) and Thomso (IIT Roorkee).

Academic rankings[edit]

IITs are generally ranked above other engineering colleges in India for Engineering. According to Outlook India's Top Engineering Colleges of 2017, the top four engineering colleges within India were IITs. [53] IIT Delhi was the highest-ranked IIT internationally, ranking 172nd in the QS World University Rankings of 2019, followed by IIT Bombay (179th), while 3 other IITs (IIT Madras at 264, IIT Kanpur at 293 and IIT Kharagpur at 308) make the top 310.[54] In the 2017 QS World Rankings by Subject, IIT (ISM) Dhanbad featured at 24th, followed by IIT Kharagpur at 35th, in Engineering — Mining and Mineral Science.[55] In the same ranking, IIT Delhi secured 49th place for Electrical Engineering.[56] The only IIT that was listed in the top 400 by the Times Higher Education rankings 2018 was IIT Bombay in the 351–400 category. The Times Asia Rankings 2018 featured IIT Bombay, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, IIT Kanpur, and IIT Delhi at 44th, 60th, 65th, 81st, and 86th respectively. In 2016, a new IIT, IIT Indore, was ranked 8th in the world, followed by IIT Kanpur (which was ranked 9th), under a ranking released by HackerRank for the world's best coders.[57] The following IITs have topped the 2018 QS BRICS rankings: IIT Bombay (9th), Delhi (17th), Madras (18th), Kanpur (21st), Kharagpur (24th), Roorkee (51st), Guwahati (52nd), Hyderabad (100th), and Patna (108th).[58]


The IITs have faced criticism from within and outside academia. Major concerns include allegations that they encourage brain drain and that their stringent entrance examinations encourage coaching colleges and skew the socio-economic profile of the student body. Recently some prominent IITians have also questioned the quality of teaching and research in IITs.[59][60][61]

Brain drain[edit]

Among the criticisms of the IIT system by the media and academia, a common notion is that it encourages brain drain. This trend has been reversed somewhat (dubbed the reverse brain drain) as hundreds of IIT graduates, who have pursued further studies in the US, started returning to India in the 1990s.[62] Additionally, IIT alumni are giving back generously to their parent institutions (examples are Kanwal Rekhi to IIT Bombay, Dr. Prabhakant Sinha to IIT Kharagpur, and many others). Until liberalisation started in the early 1990s, India experienced large scale emigration of IITians to developed countries, especially to the United States. Since 1953, nearly twenty-five thousand IITians have settled in the USA.[63] Since the USA benefited from subsidised education in IITs at the cost of Indian taxpayers' money, critics say that subsidising education in IITs is useless. Others support the emigration of graduates, arguing that the capital sent home by the IITians has been a major source of the expansion of foreign exchange reserves for India, which, until the 1990s, had a substantial trade deficit.

The extent of intellectual loss receded substantially over the 1990s and 2000s, with the percentage of students going abroad dropping from as high as 70% at one time to around 30% in 2005.[62] This is largely attributed to the liberalization of the Indian economy and the opening of previously closed markets. Government initiatives are encouraging IIT students into entrepreneurship programs and are increasing foreign investment. Emerging scientific and manufacturing industries, and outsourcing of technical jobs from North America and Western Europe have created opportunities for aspiring graduates in India. Many undergraduates go abroad to pursue further studies, such as MS, MBA and PhD.

Entrance competition[edit]

The highly competitive examination in the form of IIT-JEE has led to establishment of a large number of coaching institutes throughout the country that provide intensive, and specific preparation for the IIT-JEE for substantial fees. It is argued that this favours students from specific regions and richer backgrounds. Some coaching institutes say that they have individually coached nearly 800 successful candidates year after year.[64] According to some estimates, nearly 95% of all students who clear the IIT-JEE had joined coaching classes.[65] Indeed, this was the case regarding preparation for IIT entrance exams even decades ago. In a January 2010 lecture at the Indian Institute of Science, the 2009 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan revealed that he failed to get a seat at any of the Indian engineering and medical colleges.[66] He also said that his parents, being old-fashioned, did not believe in coaching classes to prepare for the IIT entrance exam and considered them to be "nonsense".[66]

In a documentary aired by CBS, Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems states, "The IITs probably are the hardest school in the world to get into, to the best of my knowledge".[67] The documentary further concludes, "Put Harvard, MIT and Princeton together, and you begin to get an idea of the status of IIT in India" to depict the competition as well as demand for the elite institutes.

Not all children are of a similar aptitude level and may be skilled in different paradigms and fields. This has led to criticism of the way the examinations are conducted and the way a student is forced in the Indian community. The IIT-JEE format was restructured in 2006 following these complaints.[68] After the change to the objective pattern of questioning, even the students who initially considered themselves not fit for subjective pattern of IIT-JEE decided to take the examination. Though the restructuring was meant to reduce the dependence of students on coaching classes, it led to an increase in students registering for coaching classes.[69] Some people (mostly IITians) have criticised the changed pattern of the IIT-JEE. Their reasoning is that while IIT-JEE traditionally used to test students understanding of fundamentals and ability to apply them to solve tough unseen problems, the current pattern does not stress much on the application part and might lead to a reduced quality of students.[70]

IIT-JEE is conducted only in English and Hindi, making it harder for students with regional languages as their main language. In September 2011, the Gujarat High Court has acted on a Public Interest Litigation by the Gujarati Sahitya Parishad, for conducting the exams in Gujarati.[71] A second petition was made in October by Navsari's Sayaji Vaibhav Sarvajanik Pustakalaya Trust.[72] Another petition was made at the Madras High Court for conducting the exam in Tamil. In the petition it was claimed that not conducting the exam in the regional languages is in violation of article 14 of the Constitution of India.[73] IIT council has recommended major changes in entrance examination structure which will be effected from 2017 onwards.[74]


As of 2008, the alumni of IIT number more than 170,000.[75]

See also[edit]


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