What are the new initiatives at IIT Madras in 2024?

IIT Madras was established in 1959. Since then, it has regularly implemented changes to its academic system to remain an attractive destination for students. Here are some changes that will take effect in 2024 and some context around those changes.

New Program

We are now offering a B.Tech in Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA). This program is offered by our newest department, The Wadhwani School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (DSAI). With this addition, we now offer 15 programs as seen on the JoSAA portal.

Branch Change discontinued

Earlier, based on performance, a few select students could change their branch in their first year. This “branch change” system has now been discontinued. The current IIT Madras academic system offers students a very high degree of flexibility in their choice of courses via the elective system. Students can choose between 40-50% of their courses, including courses from any other department. Students can also opt for a “minor” or switch to an “IDDD” (Inter-Disciplinary Dual Degree). Because of this flexibility, the branch change system is no longer as useful as it used to be.

Reduced academic workload

The number of credits a student must complete to graduate has been reduced from 432 to 400. This eases the academic workload by almost 10%.

Improved first-year experience

Workshops for first-year students, previously held during the vacation period, have been re-integrated into the semester, adding two more weeks of vacation time. Furthermore, a compulsory recreation course (Pass/Fail, 2 credits) has been introduced for students in the first two semesters, promoting a healthy work-life balance.

Entrepreneurship Elective

IIT Madras has always had a thriving entrepreneurship environment. Recognising this, we have decided to offer an entrepreneurship elective course in the third/fourth semester for interested students.

Elective Semester

The sixth semester (for B.Tech) and eighth semester (for Dual Degree) will have no compulsory courses. Students may take electives, a semester-long internship, or a semester exchange. This flexibility will allow students to broaden their interests and skills.

Early Exit Options

IIT Madras has also introduced an early exit option for students who may wish to pursue alternative paths. Students can leave with a “B.Sc in General Engineering.”

Why are we offering this? Students join IITs after much effort and are very excited in the first year. In a few cases, these students may decide that engineering is not their calling and want to switch paths. For them, this option will mean that they can leave early.

When we look at how our students are shaping their careers—whether in industry or academia—it is clear that they will benefit from the increased flexibility. This academic flexibility is one of the reasons why IIT Madras is called the best place to build. Students can build their skills, careers, products, startups, or … friendships.