IIT-B revises the UG curriculum to suit the changing career trends

It has become a well-established practice for engineering graduates from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to seek and pursue careers in various non-core engineering fields such as management, consulting, finance, start- oops, everyone. IIT Bombay has now revised its undergraduate (UG) curriculum to suit the changing trends.

Engineering students at IIT Bombay will now have courses in management, entrepreneurship and design along with humanities as part of their core engineering curriculum. The non-engineering subjects (Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, Management, Entrepreneurship, Design, or as IIT Bombay calls it “HASMED”), are of great importance in the new curriculum. This is coupled with an interdisciplinary STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) approach combined with the core engineering subjects of a specific branch that a student is pursuing.

As Professor Kishore Chatterjee, convenor of the committee that worked on the curriculum review, explained, the first step was to try to identify where IIT Bombay graduates go after graduation. “This can be divided into three broad groups: specialist, generalist and super-generalist.

Specialists are those who want to follow the path of academic or research work, or join a company in the core sector. Generalists are those who aspire to a career in management, analytics, consulting, among others, away from the central sector. Apart from these two extremes, there is another group — super generalist, where a student wants to take the path of Startups and entrepreneurship in different sectors and where knowledge of basic engineering and other areas is required. Once the three groups were identified, it was important to see how the needs of each of these segments could be met. The idea is to help our graduate students become leaders in whatever path they choose,” said Chatterjee. The curriculum review is the result of an 11-member commission established in 2019. The commission was also represented by students

Chatterjee said, “The committee formulated a rudimentary curriculum based on data gathered over the years, informally, through student interactions and placement trends. It was then shared with various stakeholders from institutes – students, faculty, recruiters and alumni for final calibration,” he said.

According to information provided by IIT Bombay’s Dean Academics, Professor Avinash Mahajan, the first institute’s syllabus was last changed in 2007. “While the old syllabus offered several options of electives from different disciplines, the new curriculum has made HASMED and STEM courses part of the course curriculum,” he said.

Students will be required to select a minimum of two to three courses from each basket along with the core subjects of the engineering branch and aligned science courses. Explaining with an example, Chatterjee said, “A student of mechanical engineering branch will have to study the core subjects of his branch. The number of core subjects may vary depending on the branch. Also, every student has to select a minimum of three elective subjects from sectors related to mechanical engineering and two subjects each from HASMED and STEM basket. In addition, each student must take five additional courses from one or a combination of the basket of courses.”

For HASMED courses, the institute will offer courses/subjects in association with non-engineering schools on campus such as Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IDC School of Design and Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, Desai Sethi School of Entrepreneurship, among others. . For STEM courses, collaboration between different branches of engineering will be encouraged.

In addition to this huge basket of courses, IIT Bombay students will also have a mandatory ‘Makers Space’ where a student is expected to create something for hands-on experience. “’Makes Space’ replaces the existing mandatory engineering drawing workshop course. This could also have an interdisciplinary approach based on the requirements of the product being developed,” said Mahajan.

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