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Posted at: Aug 21, 2019, 10:04 AM; last updated: Aug 21, 2019, 10:27 AM (IST)

It’s not only about tech

If the vision of an IIT brings images of an engineering degree, then take a look at some social science and humanities courses being offered by these premier institutions
It’s not only about tech

Gauri Chhabra

Almost a decade ago, educationists the world over realised that studying technology and science in silos does not provide solutions to all problems. Many a time Humanities and Social sciences provide alternative modes of cognition. That’s when education became more comprehensive and multidisciplinary. Today, institutes like the IITs offer many multidisciplinary courses and also courses in Social Sciences and Humanities that a commerce or humanities student can take up.

Some of the courses offered by IITs are as under:

Bachelor of Science (BS) economics and MSc economics

n Bachelor of Science (BS) Programme in economics offered at IIT Bombay, aims to create a unique brand of students. The eligibility criterion for admission is IIT-JEE. You will also  become more efficient analysts/ decision-making professionals in the area of business and public policy and development administration.

Industrial houses, banks and government/semi-government agencies and organisations are increasingly demanding graduates with these kinds of skills and capabilities.

  • Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Kharagpur, offers a five -year integrated programme at undergraduate level.(i.e, five-year integrated MSc in economics). Students can get admission through JEE (Advanced). Over the years, this programme has become very popular and students are well placed.
  • Economics discipline at IIT Roorkee admits a limited set of students in the MSc in economics.
Graduate programmes in Social Sciences:

The School of Humanities and Social Sciences, a multi-disciplinary establishment of  IIT Indore, offers programmes in Economics, English Literature, Philosophy and Psychological Science. The primary focus of the school is research and all the disciplines have graduate programmes up and running. 

The areas of interest run a wide gamut ranging from issues pertaining to food security and climate change to error intrusion in human machine interface and from narratology and story design to the idea of resistance and change as epistemic event. 

Humanities and Social Sciences department at IIT Palakkad  focuses on research and teaching in  behavioural and social sciences and offers a range of undergraduate courses to the students of technology studies from the disciplines of philosophy, economics, history, international relations, sociology and foreign languages. 

Undergraduate courses offered by the department focus on informing the students of the social, ethical, economic, environmental, cultural and humanitarian concerns in their development as socially conscious global citizens. The courses offered by the department are designed to appreciate and engage with the social and economic context to the engineering problems, and to frame questions and formulate solutions.

PG programmes

MA Development Studies: IIT Madras offers a unique five-year integrated programme in two major streams — Development Studies and English Studies. The curriculum aims to produce professionals to cater to the growing demands of academia, government, public and private sector enterprises, NGOs, and other organisations. 

The inter-disciplinary area of Development Studies covers topics like economic development, the role of the state and markets, globalisation, inequality, poverty, gender relations, environment, conflict, new social movements, politics and institutions, urban studies, area studies and international relations etc. Courses include those in economics, urbanisation, gender studies and science and technology studies as well as advanced topics in political philosophy and social theory. 

Students are expected to acquire and develop quantitative skills in introductory calculus and statistics in the course of the programme. Graduates have career opportunities in government, academia, research organisations and industry.

MA English Studies: This course offered at IIT Madras, has been designed for students with sensitivity for literary and linguistic analyses. It provides an understanding of English literature with special emphasis on current debates in literary theory, lesser-known literatures and the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. 

It aims to introduce students to language, literary and cultural studies, with an emphasis on critical reading skills that would stand a student in good stead whatever he/she may eventually do in life. 

Starting with introductory courses in the basics of language and literature, the stream covers the master’s of English literary tradition, as well as major writers from other traditions — Asian, African, Latin American and Continental. 

Courses in linguistics and the structure and function of natural languages as a system of cognition and communication are a part of this stream. Students are also exposed to other streams such as economics, sociology, history, and philosophy so that they can have a range of career options from academics and editing to journalism and language training.

Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM): IIT Kharagpur offers this PG course. This programme offers the students specialised knowledge and skills required to meet challenges of the corporate world. 

The core strength of the programme lies in developing skills that are relevant to the current trend in the area of HR management. 

MPhil, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences: MPhil with a specialisation in Planning and Development, offered by IIT Bombay,  is a four-semester inter-disciplinary course. The programme, with its theoretical-practical thrust, provides the students with a holistic understanding of socio-economic realities and the impact of technology. It also acquaints them with the various stages and levels of expertise involved in the formulation and implementation of development policies that can bring about desirable, stable and sustainable development. The programme includes  coursework as well as field work and requires the completion of a thesis.  

PH.D Programmes

  • IIT Delhi, offers PhD in seven academic disciplines (economics, literature, linguistics, philosophy, policy, psychology, and sociology). The PhD consists of both full-time and part-time students. The HUSS department at IITD has, over the years, become a highly attractive place for pursuing doctoral studies as it provides outstanding academic training, both in teaching and research, to students.
  • School of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT, Indore, offers teaching and research in economics, English, history, psychology, sociology and philosophy, The doctoral programme integrates social understanding and technological advantage while responding to the needs of a global society. This provides the students a platform to develop expertise and appreciate diversity while gaining deeper insights into their areas of interest. Research scholars who are pursuing their doctoral degree enjoy working with people having diverse backgrounds and gain deeper insight into specific areas of their specialisation through uniquely designed innovation-focused training. 
  • IIT Madras and IIT Palakkad, have also started research programme leading to MS/PhD degrees in all engineering disciplines and physics, chemistry, mathematics and Humanities.
  • With the exception of Fine Arts, IIT Kanpur, provides Doctoral programmes  in all other disciplines.
  • Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Roorkee, offers teaching and research programmes in English,  economics, philosophy, psychology, sociology, fine arts and related inter & cross disciplinary subjects.

Short Term Courses

IIT Kanpur and IIT Indore offer a range of short-term courses in economics, English and linguistics, fine arts, philosophy, psychology and sociology. 

Research and consultancy projects are also taken up for government and non- governmental organisations. 

To sum up, IITs and social sciences are not an oxymoron. You may pick up any course of your choice and be an IITian without having studied science and technology.


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