The Non-Degree Program: A Chance for Non-IITians to Experience IIT in India
Rupanjali Prasad was pursuing her B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from Vishwakarma Government Engineering College, Ahmedabad, when she came face to face with the academic culture of Indian Institute of Technology for the first time by means of the Non-Degree Program. “The IIT education system promotes high level of critical thinking to observe and solve problems with an applied approach rather than cramming all the information without an in-depth understanding of its utility and vomiting it in the exam paper as is generally prevalent in most institutes of India,” she said.
Established in the year 2008 on the banks of River Sabarmati, IIT Gandhinagar (IITGN) is a firm believer of the open door policy. The Non-Degree Program is a unique initiative in this direction where students of colleges and universities other than an IIT can take part-time or full-time courses and spend an entire semester at IITGN for credit or perform research, undertake projects with distinguished faculty, participate in internships and utilize other academic facilities of the Institute. This program was conceptualized with the objective of opening the doors of IIT and welcoming non-IIT students from any institute of the country or abroad to attend classes at IITGN which will enhance their understanding of the working style at IITs. It gives a chance to be exposed to the conventional environment of IITs which is otherwise not possible for a large number of students owing to the cut-throat competition in entrance examinations. Hence, the students are no longer restricted to qualifying Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) or Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) to get the feel of an IIT!
Shradhda Jain, one of the part-time non-degree students who pursued several courses in sociology and psychology, said that such initiatives provide the flexibility to learn and explore along with a person’s other engagements or commitments. The non-degree program students attend their classes with the regular degree students of IITGN which fosters healthy, positive and innovative discussions between them. It is much better than online programs where direct interactions between the faculty and students are absent. This program helped Shradhda to understand and connect better with the grassroots by means of various community outreach activities. She will soon be starting a research project based on her experiences.
The Non-Degree Program is a significant step towards broadening the horizon and changing the entire notion of IITs from being reserved for the JEE and GATE qualifiers only! The students get access to all the world class facilities including housing, meals, library and internet access, laboratory and computer center access, sports facilities, etc. After the completion of their term, they are given a certificate which is beneficial for their future careers.
Any student registered for a degree in a recognized institute in India or abroad can apply for admission as a full-time non degree student. Students, engineers or scientists of other institutes, industries or research-labs can apply as part-time non-degree students, while pursuing other endeavors at their parent organization. Applications for the same can be submitted by 1st July for the Semester-I and by 1st December for the Semester-II of an academic year.