In order of establishment the Eight are located at Kharagpur, Mumbai, Chennai, Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati, Roorkee and Patna. The Government of India has announced plans to add nine more IITs, to be established in states that don't yet have an IIT. Some IITs were established with financial assistance and technical expertise from UNESCO, Germany, the United States, and Soviet Union. Each IIT is an autonomous university, linked to the others through a common IIT Council, which oversees their administration. They have a common admission process for undergraduate admissions, using the Joint Entrance Examination (popularly known as IIT-JEE) to select around 4,000 undergraduate candidates a year. Postgraduate Admissions are done on the basis of the GATE, JMET, JAM and CEED. About 15,500 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students study in the seven IITs, in addition to research scholars.
IIT alumni have achieved success in a variety of professions. The autonomy of the IITs has helped them to create specialised degrees in technology at the undergraduate level, and consequently to award the Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) degree, as opposed to the Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degree awarded by most other Indian universities. The success of the IITs has led to the creation of similar institutes in other fields, such as the National Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT).
The seven IITs are located in Kharagpur, Bombay, Madras, Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati, and Roorkee. With the plan to setup eight more IITs in the states of Rajasthan, Bihar (Patna), Andhra Pradesh ( Hyderabad), Himachal Pradesh, Orissa (Bhubaneshwar), Madhya Pradesh (Indore), Gujarat (Gandhinagar) and Punjab, and the conversion of IT-BHU to an IIT, the total number of IITs will be increased to 16. Six of the eight proposed new IITs, namely, IIT-Rajasthan, IIT-Patna, IIT-Hyderabad, IIT-Bhubaneshwar, IIT-Gandhinagar and IIT-Punjab, are functional as of June 2008 and have admitted students for the 2008-'09 academic year. All IITs are autonomous universities that draft their own curricula, and they are members of LAOTSE, an international network of universities in Europe and Asia. LAOTSE membership allows the IITs to exchange students and senior scholars with universities in other countries.
The first IIT was established in 1951, in Kharagpur (near Kolkata) in the state of West Bengal. It has 29 academic departments, centres and schools, spread over a 8.5 km² (2,100 acre) campus that is a self-contained township of over 15,000 inhabitants. It has about 450 faculty, 2,200 employees, 3,000 undergraduates and 2,500 postgraduates. The students live in 17 hostels (called Halls of Residence). IIT Kharagpur also has a medical technology school (School of Medical Science and Technology), a management school (Vinod Gupta School of Management, a law school (Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law) and a infrastructure designing school (Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Designing and Management) within its premises. Its central library is the largest technical library in Asia.
The second IIT to be established, IIT Bombay, was founded in 1958 in Powai, Mumbai (Bombay). It was set up with assistance from UNESCO and the Soviet Union, which provided technical expertise. The Indian government underwrote all other expenses, including the construction costs. With an area of 2.23 km² (550 acres) and a total of 24 departments, centres and schools, it is the largest university in the state of Maharashtra. In addition, IIT Bombay has 13 student hostels with about 2,200 undergraduate and 2,000 postgraduate students. IIT Bombay also has schools in management (Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management) and information technology (Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology) on its premises. Despite a change in the name of the city, the IIT retains the original name.
IIT Madras is located in the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. It was established in 1959 with technical assistance from the Government of West Germany and has nearly 360 faculty and approximately 2,500 undergraduate and 2,000 postgraduate students. The campus is spread over an area of about 2.5 km² (620 acres), and has 16 academic departments, nearly 100 laboratories, and 17 hostels. As with IIT Bombay, it retains its original name despite a change in the name of its city.
IIT Kanpur was established in 1959 in the city of Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. During its first 10 years, IIT Kanpur benefited from the Kanpur–Indo-American Programme, where a consortium of nine US universities helped to set up the research laboratories and academic programmes. It covers an area of 4.85 km² (1,200 acres). It has approximately 500 faculty members, and about 2,000 undergraduate and an equal number of postgraduate students live in 10 hostels.
Established as the College of Engineering in 1961, IIT Delhi was given the current name and declared an Institution of National Importance under the "Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Act, 1963". It is located in Hauz Khas (New Delhi) and has an area of 1.3 km² (320 acres). It has 11 hostels and 26 departments, centres and schools. It has 426 faculty members and approximately 2,200 undergraduate and 1,600 postgraduate students.
IIT Guwahati was established in 1994 near the city of Guwahati (Assam) on the northern banks of the Brahmaputra River. The sprawling 2.85 km² (705 acres) campus attracts many visitors because of its scenic beauty. There are approximately 1,300 undergraduate and 500 postgraduate students in 14 departments, which have a total of 152 faculty members.
IIT Roorkee, originally known as the University of Roorkee, was established in 1847 as the first engineering college of the British Empire. Located in Uttarakhand, the college was renamed The Thomson College of Civil Engineering in 1854. It became first technical university of India in 1949 and was renamed "University of Roorkee". The University of Roorkee was included in the IIT system in 2001 as IIT Roorkee. It runs eleven Under Graduate, five Integrated Dual Degree, three Integrated M.Tech., three Integrated M.Sc., 61 Post Graduate and several Doctoral Programmes. The campus also includes the Department of Management Studies (DOMS), offering MBA courses. It has an academic staff strength of 342 as per the session of 2007-2008. The Institute has two campuses. The main campus is at Roorkee in Uttarakhand and the other one is 50 km away at Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. The campus at Roorkee is spread over of landscaped lush greenery and has twelve students hostels. A 10 acre campus is being developed as an extension centre at Greater Noida.
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 committee felt that such institutes should not only produce undergraduates, but researchers and academics. The institutes were expected to maintain high educational standards.
With these recommendations in view, the first Indian Institute of Technology was founded in May 1950 at the site of the Hijli Detention Camp in Kharagpur. On September 15, 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:
Here in the place of that Hijli Detention Camp stands the fine monument of India, representing India's urges, India's future in the making. This picture seems to me symbolical of the changes that are coming to India.
On the recommendations of the Sarkar Committee, four campuses were established at Mumbai (1958), Chennai (1959), Kanpur (1959), and Delhi (1961). The location of these campuses was chosen to be scattered throughout India to prevent regional imbalance. The Indian Institutes of Technology Act was amended to reflect the addition of new IITs. 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 1994. The University of Roorkee, India's oldest engineering college, was conferred IIT status in 2001.
Over the past few years, there have been a number of developments toward establishing new IITs. On October 1, 2003, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced plans to create more IITs "by upgrading existing academic institutions that have the necessary promise and potential". 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, only seven colleges were selected for final consideration. Plans are also reported to open IITs outside India, though not enough progress has been made in this regard. Eventually in the 11th Five year plan, eight states were identified for establishment of new IITs, and IT-BHU was recommended to be converted in to IIT.
The President of India is the most powerful person in the organisational structure of IITs, being the ex officio Visitor, 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.
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. 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. 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.
Admission to undergraduate programs in all IITs is tied to the Joint Entrance Examination, popularly known as IIT-JEE. Candidates opting for the B.Arch. (Bachelor of Architecture) program in IIT Kharagpur, and the B.Des. (Bachelor of Design) program in IIT Guwahati, have to clear an aptitude test as well. Candidates who qualify admission via IIT-JEE can apply for admission in B.Tech. (Bachelor of Technology), Dual Degree (Integrated Bachelor of Technology and Master of Technology) and Integrated M.Sc. (Master of Sciences) courses in IITs, IT-BHU and ISM Dhanbad. IIT-JEE is a science-oriented entrance exam, testing candidate's knowledge of mathematics, physics and chemistry. It is conducted by an IIT chosen by a policy of rotation. Admission is very competitive, given the huge population of India; the undergraduate acceptance rate through JEE has a low ratio (around 1 in 60) with about 300,000 annual test takers for about 5,500 seats. Only about 4,000 of these seats are offered by IITs, the rest belonging to other institutes that use IIT-JEE. Only students who have completed their 12th and secured at least 60% in their exam (higher secondary studies from a recognised educational board) are allowed to appear for IIT-JEE. The IIT-JEE is well known for frequently changing the types of questions asked in order to discourage study by rote. Since IIT-JEE 2006, the format of the question paper was changed to a single objective test-based paper, replacing the earlier system that employed two tests. The candidates belonging to the general category must secure a minimum aggregate of 60% marks in the qualifying examination of the XIIth standard organised by various educational boards of India. Candidates belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Physically Disabled (PD) categories must secure a minimum aggregate of 55% in the qualifying examination. The upper age limit for appearing for the IIT-JEE is 25 years. The age limit is relaxed to 30 years for candidates classified in the SC, ST and PD categories. Starting with IIT-JEE 2007, a candidate can take IIT-JEE a maximum of two times, and students who are selected for an IIT cannot attempt the examination again. Students select their institute and department of study based on what is available at the time of their counselling and interview that follows the IIT-JEE result. The interviews are usually spread over five days.
The admissions into the postgraduate programmes are made through various exams, primarily the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) for Ph.D., M.Tech., and some MS courses. This exam tests the conceptual clarity in technical subjects and is one of the most difficult in the country.Other prominent entrance exams include JAM (Joint Admission to M.Sc.) for M.Sc., and JMET (Joint Management Entrance Test) for Management Studies.
India is one of the countries that practices a form of affirmative action (known by critics as reverse discrimination) on caste-based reserved quotas. As per the provisions in the Indian constitution, the IITs have been reserving seats for Scheduled Castes of society since 1973. The IITs follow a reservation policy that is notably different from the quota policy elsewhere in India. As per the rules of admission to IITs, 15% of the admitted students must be of the Scheduled Castes, and 7.5% of seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The Other Backward classes have been provided with 27% reservation in effect from 2008 with the consent of the Supreme Court of India. As per the rules, all the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) candidates must take the IIT-JEE with the rest of the students. Based on the results of IIT-JEE. Another group of candidates who do not meet this relaxed admission criteria are offered a "Preparatory Course" comprising of English, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics at the IIT concerned. After one year of study, those candidates who are able to secure a grade higher than the prescribed cut-off mark during end-of-semester exams are allowed to continue regular studies. There is no relaxation on the criteria for passing the exams or graduating a course. The candidates admitted through the reservation policy are also subjected to the same criteria as the general candidates for graduation.
In 1989, Prime Minister V. P. Singh accepted and implemented the proposals of the Mandal Commission that recommended provisions of reservations for OBCs in private unaided institutions as well as high-end government jobs for minority communities. No changes took place in the IITs because of the legislation, but in 2005, based on the recommendations of a political panel, the UPA government proposed to implement the reserved-quota system for the OBCs in IITs and IIMs. It received critical objections by many scholars and critics, who described the proposal as "dangerous and divisive" and based solely on political (vote-bank) purposes. Many argued that the OBCs are not a backward community and enjoy good economic and social status and thus a reservation for OBCs becomes a mere strategy to gain votes. Though, the issue has simmered down as of now, it still remains a very hotly argued one. When the government planned to implement the quota system, anti-reservation protests were organised throughout India against the proposal. Student agitations also took place in the IITs and many students who opposed caste-based reservations resorted to hunger strikes. They labelled the quota system as a government tactic to earn cheap votes, and that the system would lead to increased casteism and a severe compromise on merit and talent.
The additional procedures for admission into the IITs (the preparatory course and the qualifying end-of-semester exams that follow) have also been criticised as unnecessary and counter-productive. One of the arguments opposing the modified policy of reservation and favouring direct admission is that a large number of seats remain vacant under the present scheme.
The IITs receive disproportionately high grants compared to other engineering colleges in India. While the total government funding to most other engineering colleges is around Rs. 100–200 million per year, the amount varies between Rs. 900–1,300 million per year for each IIT. Other sources of funds include student fees and research funding from industry. This has translated into superior infrastructure and better faculty in the IITs and consequently higher competition among students to gain admissions into the IITs. The faculty-to-student ratio in the IITs is between 1:6 and 1:8. 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). The cost borne by undergraduate students including boarding and mess expenses is around Rs. 50,000 per annum. It has increased significantly over past ten years. For instance, the cost was about Rs.12,000 per annum for the students graduating in 1998.
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. The classes are usually held between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., 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. The electronic libraries allow students to access on-line journals and periodicals.
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. The Director of an IIT is the ex-officio Chairman of the Senate.
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).
The B.Tech. degree is the most common undergraduate degree in the IITs in terms of student enrolment, although Dual Degrees, Integrated (five-year) Master of Science and Master of Arts degrees are also offered. The B.Tech course is based on a 4-year program with eight semesters, while the Dual Degree course is a 5-year program with ten semesters. In all IITs, the first year of B.Tech. 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. The common courses include the basics from most of the departments like Electronics, Mechanics, Chemistry, and Physics. At the end of first year (the end of first semester at IIT Madras), an option to change departments is given to meritorious students on the basis of their performance in the first two semesters. Few such changes ultimately take place as the criteria for them are usually strict, limited to the most meritorious students.
From the second year onwards, the students study subjects exclusively from their respective departments. 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. At the end of third year, the undergraduate students have to undertake a summer project at an industry or reputed academic institute as part of the curriculum. 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.
The IITs offer a number of postgraduate programs including Master of Technology (M.Tech.), Master of Business Administration (MBA) (only for engineers and post graduates in science), and Master of Science (M.Sc.). Some IITs offer specialised graduate programmes such as 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), Master of Design (M.Des), and the Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Operation & Management (PGDMOM). The IITs also offer the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) 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. Ph.D. 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. Some of the IITs offer an M.S. (by research) program; the M.Tech. and M.S. are similar to the US universities' non-thesis (course based) and thesis (research based) masters programs respectively. The IITs, along with NITs and IISc, account for nearly 80% of all PhDs in engineering.
The IITs also offer an unconventional B.Tech. and M.Tech. integrated educational program called "Dual Degree". It integrates undergraduate and postgraduate studies in selected areas of specialisation. It is completed in five years as against six years in conventional B.Tech. (four years) followed by an M.Tech. (two years). This programme was started to allow IITians to complete postgraduate studies from IIT rather than having to go to another institute. All IITs (except IIT Guwahati) have schools of management offering degrees in management or business administration.
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 between National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS) and National Sports Organisation (NSO) in their first years. All the IITs have sports grounds for 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.
Annual cultural festivals are also organised by the IITs and last three to four days. These include Thomso (IIT Roorkee), Mood Indigo (IIT Bombay) (also known as Mood-I), Spring Fest (IIT Kharagpur) (also known as SF), Saarang (IIT Madras) (previously Mardi Gras), Antaragni (IIT Kanpur), Alcheringa (IIT Guwahati), and Rendezvous (IIT Delhi).
In addition to these cultural festivals, IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bombay celebrate unique festivals. IIT Kharagpur celebrates the Illumination festival on the eve of Diwali. Large bamboo structures (called chatais) as high as 6 meters (20 ft) are made and earthen lamps (diyas) are placed on them to form outlines of people, monuments, or an event. Although the competition is held between hostels, it also receives entries by outside visitors. Coupled with the Illumination festival is the Rangoli festival. In Rangoli, large panels showing an event or a concept, are made on the ground by fine powder, and sometimes even by crushed bangles.
Unique to IIT Bombay is the Performing Arts Festival (popularly known as PAF). Technically a drama, each PAF includes drama, literature, music, fine arts, debating, and dance. All PAFs are held in the Open Air Theater (OAT), on the main campus of IIT Bombay. Typically two or three hostels (of 14) group together by random draw for each PAF. All of the dialogues are delivered as voice overs and not by the actors, mainly due to the structure and the huge size of the OAT.
The 12 events included in the Inter-IIT Sports are athletics, badminton, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, swimming, lawn and squash tennis, table tennis, volleyball, water polo and weightlifting. As swimming and water polo are played in water, which is usually cold in the month of December, the Inter-IIT Sports Meet for them is held in the first week of October, and is called Inter-IIT Aquatics Meet.
The view that IIT graduates are intelligent and hardworking people has been established by the success of IITians. Former IIT students get greater respect from their peers, academia and industry in general. The IIT brand was reaffirmed when the United States House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Indian Americans and especially graduates of IIT for their contributions to the American society. Similarly, China also recognised the value of IITs and planned to replicate the model.
The extent of intellectual loss has receded substantially over the past decade, with the percentage of students going abroad dropping from as high as 70% to around 30% today. This is largely attributed to the liberalisation 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 and PhD.
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. 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 large unseen problems, the current pattern does not stress much on the application part.
The IITians are known for their loyalty to their alma mater and many IIT Alumni Associations are active in India and abroad. The IIT alumni either help their alma mater in the form of donations, or by preferential job opportunities extended to students from the IITs. The Vinod Gupta School of Management at IIT Kharagpur and Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management at IIT Bombay are management schools within IITs that have been established largely by alumni donations; these schools were named after their benefactors.
Many IIT alumni have become entrepreneurs, including N.R. Narayana Murthy (co-founder and chairman of Infosys), Vinod Khosla (co-founder, Sun Microsystems), Anurag Dikshit (co-founder of PartyGaming) and Suhas S. Patil (founder and Chairman Emeritus Cirrus Logic Inc.) Other alumni have achieved leading positions in corporations, such as Rajat Gupta (former Managing Director, McKinsey), Arun Sarin (CEO, Vodafone), Victor Menezes (Senior Vice Chairman, Citigroup), and Kanwal Rekhi (CTO, Novell) . IIT alumni have also pursued careers in politics: for example, Manohar Parrikar became the Chief Minister of Goa. Many alumni have gained national and international recognition: Sushantha Kumar Bhattacharyya was awarded the CBE, a knighthood, and Padma Bhushan; and V. C. Kulandaiswamy was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. Narendra Karmarkar is also world-renowned for his work in applied mathematics.