Bold Initiative in Post-Graduate Education —IIT Roorkee's Innovative Curriculum

    Inam Ansari
    March11/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    IIT Roorkee

    Roorkee (The Hawk): Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, the first technical Institute in the country with a history of more than 175 years, has recently revised its Post-Graduate curriculum aligned with the NEP 2020. The design of the new curriculum is aimed to make students project oriented and future-ready through cutting–edge projects, coursework, internships and industry interactions. The revision, which came after a decade, was approved by the Senate. It will be implemented from the Autumn Semester of 2024-2025.
    The curriculum revision, was carried out with the primary objectives to enhance the quality, relevance, and competitiveness of the academic offerings, ensuring that the graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in their respective fields. A major thrust of the revision was to provide the students ample scope for learning by doing. In the new curriculum, the students will be mandatorily required to earn credits through laboratory and project work in an attempt to make learning interesting and problem-solving oriented.
    While revising the curriculum, IIT Roorkee involved internal and external experts of global repute, representatives of the industries, other educational institutes, alumni, and policymakers. The institute employed modern and comprehensive methodologies, such as conducting surveys to understand stakeholders' opinions, brain-storming sessions, organizing open-house debates, workshops, and series of discussions at various levels.
    The theme of the PG curriculum revision, an enduring process spanning over several months, was "RISE," which stands for Research(R), Interdisciplinary(I), Societal Connect(S), and Enrichment of practical knowledge(E). This theme reflects the institute's focus on enhancing students' research capabilities, promoting interdisciplinary learning, strengthening social connections, and enriching practical knowledge.
    The new postgraduate curriculum which has earned immediate attention of the academia and industries, has been considered innovative and game-changer in the postgraduate technical education. Some of the key features of the curriculum include:
    • Flexibility in course selection based on a basket of course offerings, providing students with a wide range of options.
    • Industrial internships and social activities in the curriculum will provide the students hands-on experience and exposure to real-world challenges.
    • Flexibility to choose courses on advanced technology themes such as AI, ML, and Programming languages (e.g., Python, C++, Hadoop, Java), encouraging students to stay abreast of the latest developments in their field.
    • Interdisciplinary electives, enabling students to explore diverse areas of study and gain holistic understanding of their subject.
    • Practical/project-based courses and self-learning courses, enhancing students' problem-solving abilities and fostering a spirit of independent learning.
    • Provision to switch to PhD Programme after earning 40 credits.
    The revised PG Curriculum at IIT Roorkee offers flexible Basket-based courses, which includes the Program Core Courses (PCC), Specialization-based Program Elective Courses (PEC), Societal Impact-themed Social Sciences Courses (SSC). The courses in the SSC basket will be designed focusing on the societal impact of the technology and science. Other innovative features include introduction of the mandatory Science, Technology, and Advanced Research (STAR) basket and the Internship or Social Activity (ISA) basket. The ISA basket will bring opportunities for engaging the students in internships and social activities which will make them more market-ready as well as more aware about the societal issues around.
    Prof. Apurbba Kumar Sharma, Dean of Academic Affairs, who also led the Postgraduate Curriculum Revision Committee and played the key role in drafting the new curriculum is optimistic about the outcome of the new curriculum. Professor Sharma said – “IIT Roorkee has once again demonstrated its leadership in rolling out this futuristic curriculum. The curriculum is unique in the country on many aspects. The committee diligently worked on reviving the students’ interest in the laboratory and project-based work. The Institute Senate is forward looking and accepted the committee’s proposal to link practical and industry interaction time of the students with their credits. The students will thus get multiple advantages of identifying their career prospects while fulfilling their post graduate degree requirements. The ‘learning-by-doing’ approach and the RISE philosophy will decisively make our graduates ahead of others in the country and competitive globally”.
    In line with the NEP-2020 guidelines for "imaginative and flexible curricular structures to enable creative combinations of disciplines for study," the new PG Curriculum offers three models for the award of a Master's Degree. The Model-1 is the Course-based Master's Degree, where students can choose courses from various pre-approved course baskets each semester. The Model-2, on the other hand, is the thesis-based Master's Degree programme, where students can choose courses from the pre-approved course baskets in the first year, followed by a research work in the form of a thesis in the second year. In a new move, the Institute has introduced a new model, in the form of M.S. (by Research), a research-based PG program where students can choose courses from the pre-approved course baskets in the first semester and followed by the research work in the remaining semesters.
    In line with NEP-2020, an exit option is also available for students who have spent at least one year in the program and earned a minimum of 28 credits. Such students, who may opt for a different route for their career shall be provided an exit certificate.
    Summing up the initiative, Prof. K. K. Pant, Director of the Institute, said – “the comprehensive changes in the PG Curriculum at IIT Roorkee are poised to transform the learning experience for students, equipping them with the skills, knowledge, and mindset needed to succeed in a rapidly evolving world. I am sure, with the new curriculum, graduates will have a rewarding experience in the form of brighter future engagements and holistic development. I am confident that the new curriculum will emerge as a game changer in the post graduate technical education in the country.”