The Pan-IIT Project



       Part 1: The Introduction


“It’s hard to think of anything like IIT anywhere in the world. It is a very unique institution”                                                                                                       – Bill Gates

With IIT Delhi finishing 3rd in the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2018 Engineering Colleges Rankings, we felt obliged to assess where we stand as compared to IIT Madras and IIT Bombay, the two institutions who finished above us. These rankings are contrary to popular belief which conjecture IIT Bombay at the top, followed by IIT Delhi and then IIT Madras. This series, conducted in collaboration with Insight, IIT Bombay and The Fifth Estate, IIT Madras, has been formulated so as to give the readers a detailed analysis of the similarities and disparities between a number of crucial performance factors across these reputed institutions, with a primary focus on academic and research facilities, initiatives and contributions. We hope that this series not only helps you realize the strengths and weaknesses of your IIT, but also increases your awareness regarding the dormant unknown opportunities waiting for you within your institution. Here, we present to you the first part of this series, aimed primarily at comparing the student demographics across these IITs.

Breaking down the Departments

IIT Delhi has the least number of students, with both the number of undergraduate and postgraduate students, being considerably less than IIT Bombay and IIT Madras. This can be attributed primarily to the lesser number of departments and schools at IIT Delhi before 2018. With the establishment of the Department of Design and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering this year, the number of students on IIT Delhi’s roll list is expected to increase substantially. While Metallurgical Engineering, Energy Sciences and Aerospace Engineering are all full-fledged departments at IIT Bombay, Energy Studies is only a PG-oriented school at IIT Delhi and the other two fields do not even find a place among IIT Delhi’s curriculum. IIT Madras is the sole offerer of degrees in Ocean Engineering. To promote interdisciplinary learning and to keep up with the changing environment, all the three institutes offer management courses and degrees, either through Departments or through Schools. Careers360 ranks IIT Delhi’s Department of Management Studies at 9th, IIT Bombay’s SJM School of Management at 10th and IIT Madras’s Department of Management Studies at 12th. This clearly shows that management is a discipline that is gradually coming up to speed at the “old IITs” as well. 

In terms of student intake, we see that Mechanical Engineering has the highest combined strength due to a gigantic intake of students in this area at IIT Bombay and IIT Madras. In terms of the Undergraduate and Dual Degree students alone, Chemical Engineering Department trumps over the other departments in IIT Delhi and IIT Bombay but still lags behind the Mechanical Engineering Department of IIT Madras which has a nearly 740 students on its roll.

Mathematics and Physics Departments have the lowest UG student intake among the departments offering B.Tech or BSc. degrees at these IITs. With the skyrocketing popularity of Computer Science and Computing based fields in recent years, perhaps it is time to accept an equally high number of students in the CS and Mathematics Departments in the IITs. The Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department at the IIT Bombay is the largest among CSE departments in any Institute in India.

 Mars or Venus?

The Male-Female Student Ratio in IITs is often a subject of mockery and ridicule. As per the latest NIRF reports, IIT Delhi comes out on top when we consider the ratio of female students to male students. It is closely followed by IIT Madras and IIT Bombay slots in at the last position. 21% of the students in IIT Delhi are female, while this figure is only around 16% in IIT Bombay. If we consider only the Undergraduate pool of students, then the picture becomes increasingly grave. Only 1 among every 9 UG students is a female when averaged across these three IITs while the national average for Indian engineering colleges is 23 females per 100 students. Even though IITs still have a long way to go in this regard, there are positive signs of improvement and with the scheme to have a separate merit list for girls to ensure minimum 14% representation, the skewed ratio is bound to become fairer.

Badi Door se Aye Hain!

In terms of foreign nationals, IIT Delhi fares much better than IIT Madras, hosting a total of 60 students from 10 different countries. This figure is five times the number of foreign students in Madras. However, IIT Bombay steals the top position here with a total of 98 foreign national students belonging to countries ranging from the likes of Bhutan and Afghanistan to Sweden and Germany. Another interesting finding is derived from the fact that IIT Bombay has the maximum number of students from out of state. This is because IIT Bombay is the go-to-institute for most JEE Advanced Toppers, hailing from different corners of the country.

Faculty Woes

In terms of faculty, IIT Delhi falls behind the pack with 508 faculty members as compared to 618 in IIT Bombay and 607 in IIT Madras. On comparing the Faculty-Student ratios, we find that IIT Madras comes out on top averaging 15 students per faculty member. The other two IITs stand head-to-head with around 16.5 students per faculty member. These figures do not deviate too much from the accepted standards of 15 students per faculty. While developing these figures, we also gained an insight into why this statistic seems to go in contrast to our general perception. Undergraduates, who form the largest section of students engaged in classroom learning, form less than 50% of the student population at all IITs. Consequently, the real scenario cannot really be expounded from numbers alone.

This is just a glimpse into what this series has in store for you. Here, we have only touched upon some of the key factors that affect the general dynamics of an institution and, to a large extent, influence their policies and initiatives. In the upcoming editions, we will compare these Academic Initiatives, Research infrastructures and International Collaborations across these three IITs. The Best is Yet to Come!


Disclaimer: The statistics used in this article have to been taken from NIRF 2018 reports, IIT official websites and Annual Reports for 2016-17.

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