Education @ IITK

Education at IIT Kanpur empowers the students with a critical thinking led approach, scientific temperament and knowledge in science, engineering, management and humanities fields to solve problems that challenge humanity. The globally acclaimed education prepares the students for rewarding and exciting careers. The excellent education has enabled the alumni to succeed in diverse fields.

Academic Flexibility

Starting from the 2011 batch, the branch change rules were liberalized with the removal of the CGPA restriction of 8.0 for branch change. Branch changes are now allowed if there is a vacancy in the department you wish to move to. Starting from my batch(2011 batch), students also have the flexibility to do a dual-major(which is equivalent to two B.Tech degrees, e.g.. B.Tech, EE with a major in CSE), a minor in another department as well as the traditional conversion to a dual-degree M.Tech/M.Sc course. You can customise course template to a large extent and have the luxury of as many as 6 open electives(in CSE, atleast), which could be courses from any department you like, including MBA courses. Thus, if say you want to go for an MBA, you can have an edge.

Student Centric Teaching

At IITK teachers engage with the class. It is not a one way communication. Each student in the class is important to the faculty. The faculty is very approachable. No fear or awe is expected from the students. The classroom atmosphere while being focused on learning is student friendly.

Critical Thinking Abilities

The education at IITK encourages critical thinking. That is why IITK encourages curiosity based learning. Often teachers will ask questions aimed at making the student think. Such introspection helps the student make connections and start to see the bigger picture.

Inspiring Learning Environment

The teaching at IITK inspires students to push their personal boundaries. Courses are taught in depth and with background to help students grasp concepts firmly. There is often optional content that challenges and motivates students. This takes them to the frontiers of research in the area.
The time spent at IITK makes a student go from being a good learner to being a good thinker and researcher in the student's field of choice. Even undergraduate research at IITK has won the institute many laurels.

Innovative Teaching

Innovation is an integral part of teaching at IITK. While the curriculum represents the institute's vision for the course, the teaching methods are the choice of the individual teachers and reflect their vision. There is freedom for the faculty to experiment in the teaching.
The faculty enjoy this freedom and use it to impart in-depth knowledge to the students. An example of innovative teaching is quasi open time exams where the emphasis is on how deep is your understanding of the subject and neither on how quickly you can recall it nor on how well you can reproduce the lecture notes in the exam.

Undergraduate Education

  • IITK offers a liberal undergraduate education, where knowledge of science and technology is part of a broader knowledge platform. A student has the choice of opting for more than 50% of courses outside of the student's chosen department. Of these a student can opt for more than 25% of courses that are in fields such as management and humanities.
  • The student is therefore free to develop a wide knowledge base encompassing many disciplines. IITK recognizes an undergraduate degree as the start of a student's higher education learning and encourages the student to explore so that the student can know what to do next.
  • In its undergraduate education IITK has removed the artificial split between the two science streams of Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics (PCM) and Physics, Chemistry & Biology (PCB). This has been done by introducing life sciences courses for engineering students. This better meets the needs of society since greater interaction between the two streams is required to deliver the next generation of inventions and discoveries.

Postgraduate Education

  • IITK has world class facilities and performs research at the highest levels so a student is able to work and learn with some of the best people in the world in their area.
  • IITK hosts conferences and seminars throughout the year. There are a lot of visitors making it a vibrant research environment.
  • There is great interdisciplinary interaction at IITK since disciplinary boundaries no longer confine knowledge creation. The halls of residence are interdisciplinary.
  • The opportunity to teach some of the best students in the world, as a Teaching Assistant (TA), helps a researcher to grow.
  • The postgraduate programme that cover science, engineering, humanities and management create a highly diverse atmosphere conducive to interdisciplinary interaction.
  • IITK offers travel support to PhD students for academic purposes, including, on merit, support for presenting research papers in international conferences held abroad.

Financial Aid

Student loans are easily available for education at IITK. In addition, IITK provides financial support to deserving students. The aim of the financial aid programmes is to ensure that financial circumstances do not prevent a meritorious student from studying at IIT Kanpur.

Beyond Formal Education

At IITK, education and learning does not end with the laboratories and the classroom. The culture of respect and desire for knowledge can be seen in all aspects of the campus life.
The Student Gymkhana and many clubs are supported by the institute to encourage student participation in a wide variety of activities. These promote sports, culture and science & technology related activities.
There is a high level of student participation in the institute's academic and non-academic administration as well. Students are part of key committees of the institute. There is an independent student senate for the students to manage their own affairs.

Proven Education System

Alumni of the institute have an edge due to the IITK education which builds their ability to grasp new concepts and acquire new knowledge. They have shown a strong sense of ethics and a courageous outlook born out of deep rooted self belief.
A measure of the high quality of the education received by the alumni is the fact that worldwide the academia, in the most discerning institutions, abounds with IITK alumni.
Their ability to understand, reason and analyze have led them to the forefront of diverse areas such as education, research, management and public service. IITK alumni have performed with great distinction in every field that they have chosen for themselves.

Research Overview

Researchers at IIT Kanpur do high level research often at the forefront in its area. The diversity of research projects undertaken by IITK is a measure of the strong track record of research at IITK. It is the result of the great synergy between the fundamental research and applied research done at IITK.

Research Environment

Research at IITK is done by small individual led research groups and there are also large interdisciplinary project teams. The research environment supports highly creative work done by a small group. At the same time the environment is suitable for managing the large mission critical assignments that are undertaken at IITK.

There is a large talent pool of high level researchers so there is great opportunity for need based collaboration. Due to the vibrant research environment at IITK there is regular exposure to new ideas. It helps young researchers to prepare their mind and see the big picture in their area of interest.

A researcher enjoys the independence to choose the research area. This independence is there at all faculty levels. The researcher is supported by a dynamic research administration that has a non-bureaucratic work culture.

Interdisciplinary Research

A significant proportion of the research done at IITK is interdisciplinary. There are interdisciplinary academic programme and interdisciplinary research centre & facilities at IITK.

These lead to great interdisciplinary interaction at IITK and facilitate collaboration for interdisciplinary research. The open research environment encourages interaction with others leading to extraordinary research work.

Benefits for Business & Industry

Leveraging the research capabilities of IITK can give businesses the decisive edge they seek. The in-depth approach leads to outcomes that deliver lasting value. The IITK client list includes leading companies worldwide.

Teaching & Research

The teaching done by faculty helps the faculty grow. The faculty is encouraged to develop new courses based on their research. The faculty also have the freedom to modify existing courses to include content related to their research.

The faculty benefit from the dedicated PhD students of IITK, who are key to the success of research at IITK.

At IITK, young faculty can start teaching early in their career and this enhances their ability to do challenging research.

Students & Research

The institute encourages active learning to help build critical thinking skills of its students and prepare them for research. Quality research needs committed students to move the research agenda forward. Therefore a student at IITK gets a world class education and gets to participate in great research work.

For the students it is an ideal place to learn how high quality research is done. Being a science intensive engineering education the students are more future ready and are able to adapt to new technologies. And thanks to the big emerging opportunities for new technologies, more and more students are today choosing a research oriented job over a job that does not involve formal research. IITK prepares its students well for such jobs.

Research Culture

Faculty and students at IITK respect the fact that to do path breaking research, in addition to knowledge in an area, one requires creativity, self belief, courage and persistence.

Great research requires risk taking ability. The IITK culture offers support and encouragement to take on challenging work. This enables researchers to work on the important problems in their field. The strong institutional support enables the researchers to ask tough questions knowing that finding the answers will take time and effort.

At IITK, there is great support for creativity driven exploration. For example tinkering. Tinkering has led to some of the greatest discoveries and inventions. The IITK environment supports and enables tinkering. This support backs creativity and helps researchers try out ideas easily. An inconsistency noticed while doing creativity driven exploration could be the small crack that ultimately opens big doors to new knowledge.

Quality research happens more often in a culture where free thinking is encouraged and that is very true for IITK. The drive and commitment for research is sustained because at IITK a researcher is able to enjoy the research work to the fullest.

For more info on research opportunities at iitk look here

A Strong Research Orientation

IIT Kanpur is a leading institute of India that is focused on education and research in science, technology, management and humanities. Its alumni and faculty have consistently won national and international awards for their accomplishments.

Worldwide the academia abounds with researchers who were students or faculty at IIT Kanpur.

In other fields the courageous, critical thinking led approach of its alumni and faculty has manifested itself as thought leadership in their chosen field.


IITK's academic curriculum was revised in 2011. The curriculum contains two parts: departmental core and compulsory. In the very first year, all courses are department neutral.

Aerospace Engineering

Department Website :

Aerodynamics, flight mechanics, propulsion and aerospace structures are the primary fields in this department. A flight laboratory with four powered aircrafts, four gliders, a 1000m runway and a National Wind Tunnel Facility are facilities of the department which is unique to IITK. The Department is also engaged in training professionals from the aerospace industry and defence professionals.

The gliding and soaring center attached to the department offers glider training pilot programmes which awards glider pilot certificates for improving aviation awareness among youth. Some thrust areas of research are unmanned and micro aerial vehicle, helicopter technology, high performance computing, smart materials and technology etc. It is just an ever-evolving discipline posing numerous challenges thereby keeping one excited and engaged forever.

Praveen Honhar, a fourth year UG student, has great things to say about the undergraduate program. You can find his views on -

Biological Sciences & Engineering

Department Website :

Department of BSBE was established with the aim of providing a multidisciplinary research and teaching program in contemporary biology and bioengineering. Research interests of the department include cell and molecular biology, genetics & developmental biology, structural and computational biology, bioinformatics, bioremediation, tissue engineering and biophysics engineering. BSBE at IITK has developed extensive research facilities and infrastructure for teaching and research like Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope, Beckman Coulter automated DNA sequencer etc.
B.Tech. The program provides a unique fusion of biology with other basic and engineering sciences.
Amrita Singh, a fourth year UG student, explains very well the future prospects for students interested in studying Biosciences and Biotechnology. To know more, follow - Prof Nitin Gupta also explains who should and shiuld not choose BSBE over other branches -

Chemical Engineering

Department Website :

Department of Chemical Engineering at IITK has the reputation of being classified among the nation's top schools in chemical engineering.Research in department ranges from transport phenomena, thermodynamics, separation to nanotechnology, energy, environment, polymeric material etc.Graduates in this department are doing exceedingly well in industry and academia. Several students are opting for higher studies abroad or going for placements in Core and financial sectors.

Find out what students think of Chemical Engineering. Anushka Jha, a fourth year UG student, pens down her thoughts -

Civil Engineering

Department Website :

Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Kanpur is producing high quality technical manpower required for industry, R & D organizations, and academic institutions. It has been ranked 38th in the world (as per QS World University Subject Rankings - 2011). The academic activities of the department emphasis deep understanding of fundamental principles, development of creative ability to handle the challenges of Civil Engineering, and the analytical ability to solve problems which are interdisciplinary in nature.

Some of the research areas where faculty members and students of Civil Engineering are involved are integrated Geoinformatics technology (IGT), 3-D digital scanning technologies and computer simulation, Archaeo-materials and dating applications, seismic analysis and pollution studies on ancient monuments and remedial measures. Past recruiters include Schlumberger, NTPC, L&T etc.

Computer Science & Engineering

Department Website :

IIT kanpur was the first institute to start computer science education in India. The faculty members of the department are currently involved in research areas like: Mobile/Wireless, Computer Networks, Natural Language Processing, Algorithms, Software Engineering, Learning and Cognition, Grid and High Performance Computing, Biometrics and Vision etc. Some of the biggest companies like Snapdeal, Infosys, Myntra etc. have been founded by IITK CSE graduates. The graduates from IITK are recruited by industry giants like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Adobe.

For research opportunities, look at this article written by our Professor :

Srijan R. Shetty who just graduated with a B.Tech degree in Computer Science, writes about his four years at IIT Kanpur - Shashwat Chandra, who is currently completing his M.Tech thesis shares his experiences at IITK as an undergraduate and a post-graduate -


Department Website :

Department of Chemistry, IITK is one of the premier departments in the country today. The strength of the department has been and continues being excellence in research and teaching. The faculty of the department is extremely well qualified, and motivated. The commitment to research is reflected in the large number of projects sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development in fields like synthesis of biologically relevant molecules, development of new reagents, green chemistry, nanoscale chemistry, modeling and simulation of molecules and materials. Ultrafast laser spectroscopy and imaging. Students getting trained in this program have a unique background of Computer Science, Technical Arts, Electronics, Physics and Mathematics in addition to Chemistry.

Sanjana Gopalakrishnan, a fourth year UG student, shares her experiences at the Chemistry department -


Department Website :

The world acknowledges that the myriad variety of problems faced by the society today require a combination of economic and technological approach for efficient solutions. This creates a need for professionals who have a scientific temperament and are well-trained in both economic and technology disciplines. The 4-year BS program in Economics at IIT Kanpur was conceptualized by the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences to train this new pedigree of professionals. The teaching and research interests are diverse: Microeconomics, Macro-Money, Industrial Organization, Regional Economics, Environmental Economics, Development Economics, Law and Economics, Transport Economics, Econometrics, Input-Output Analysis, and Project Economics.

Pushp tells you why you should take Economics -

Archish Mazumdar, a fourth year UG student, clarifies some of the misconceptions about Economics -

Earth Sciences

Department Website :

IIT Kanpur is starting a new undergraduate program in the Earth Sciences from July 2016. The students qualified in JEE will be admitted in this program which has been designed as a highly quantitative and diverse in nature with a strong focus on modern tools and methods being used across various industries. Some of the important sectors include oil and gas, mineral exploration, non-conventional energy, water management, natural resource management and disaster mitigation. The program is highly interdisciplinary in nature, utilizing the methods and principles of all basic sciences namely Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and with several overlaps with engineering disciplines such as Material Sciences and engineering, civil engineering and Mechanical Engineering. For example, Chemistry comes into picture while studying rocks and minerals, Physics is at play every time an earth Scientist tries to “peep inside” the earth by looking at the variation of Magnetic and Gravitational field of earth. Similarly, methods and tools developed in Mathematics and Computer Science are indispensable for an Earth Scientist trying to predict the Monsoon. Mechanical Engineering and Material Sciences come into play while studying the mechanical property like strength, ductility, hardness etc. Thus Earth Science is an all encompassing field trying to address a varied range of problems and employing tools and technique from a diverse set of fields. At the same time, this discipline offers an opportunity to solve multitude of problems which our society is facing including water scarcity, climate change and natural disasters such as floods, landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis.

The structure of the BS-MS program in Earth Science is similar to other BS and BT programs being offered at IIT Kanpur. The first two semesters are devoted to the core courses in basic sciences and engineering, which are common across all disciplines. The third and fourth semester involves some core courses common across all departments together with some departmental courses. Similar to other departments, fifth and sixth semester involves many departmental courses together with some departmental and open electives. Last two semesters mainly comprise of departmental and open electives, thus making the program academically flexible. Students are also required to take five courses in Humanities and Social Sciences in line with other programs. Keeping in view that Earth Science is primarily a field science, the department has taken special care to design several field-based courses which involves training outside the campus to observe, map and measure the natural processes in action. In addition, the MS part of the programme will involve thesis work on a well-chosen problem of earth science and the department expects high quality research output using the learnings from the BS program.

The Earth Science department has designed five modules within the BS-MS program:

  • Applied Geology - mainly deals with application of geology for various applications such as mineral and fuel exploration, movement and distribution of groundwater, soil erosion, and other environmental problems related to water and sediment pollution.
  • Water & Climate - involves the study of all water related issues including rivers, glaciers, groundwater and oceans as well as the climate change issues involving atmosphere-hydrosphere interactions; also includes impacts of climate change on water resources, agriculture and ecology.
  • Applied Geophysics – applies the principles of physics to study the internal processes of earth such as earthquakes, tsunamis and landslides as well as for exploration of natural resources; involves the use of various tools such as magnetic, electromagnetic, gravity and seismic many of which are indispensable for exploration industries related to oil and gas, groundwater and minerals.
  • Solid Earth – includes geological and geophysical aspects of the solid earth involving its planetary evolution, geodynamics, mantle dynamics and rock deformation.
  • Natural Hazards - aims to study natural hazards such as landslides, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis affecting the humanity to understand the controlling processes and mitigation strategies. This module has a strong societal relevance and offers huge opportunities to understand the vagaries of nature.

The faculty members of the department are highly qualified and experts in their own domain with significant international exposure and recognition. Moreover, the department has an excellent blend of young and experienced faculty members who are passionate in teaching. We also frequently invite the best scientists and teachers from India and abroad to teach specialized topics. One of our teaching goals is to provide hand-on training on the modern instruments apart from building theoretical framework in through lectures. Several newly built laboratories in the department host sophisticated instruments and facilities of international standards and a few of them are unique in India.

The department also supports a vibrant Earth Science Society run and managed by the students. Activities of the Society include social and cultural events, popular lectures, sports activities and other events which facilitate to build a better academic and social environment in the department.

The students graduating from the department of Earth Sciences will be invaluable to the industry due to interdisciplinary and quantitative nature of the program. The students are expected to be recruited by the energy industry, construction industry, industries involved in mineral exploration, environmental industries and space industries, including  satellite tracking and meteorology and hurricane tracking. Students will also have career opportunity in Public Sector Unit (PSU) like Geological Survey, Coal India, ONGC and Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd.

Students of the BS-MS program in Earth Science will also have excellent opportunities to opt for academic and research careers. The undergraduate program in Earth Science will also prepare students for higher studies in post graduate programs within and outside India. Most of the leading universities in the world have postgraduate as well as undergraduate program in Earth Sciences. The students graduating from the Department of Earth Sciences at IIT Kanpur will be the new breed of Earth Scientists of this country and the graduates will find excellent employment in a competitive global economy and will also contribute towards Earth Science research.

For more details, please visit the department website or contact or

Electrical Engineering

Department Website :

Electrical Engineering is one of the largest departments of IIT-K. The department has a rich tradition of teaching and research and is widely recognized to be a pioneer in Electrical Engineering education in India. The lab facilities and the infrastructure are regularly upgraded.The current active areas of academic programs include power and control, communications and networks,Microwaves and photonics, Microelectronics, VLSI and Display Technology.Students graduating are widely sought after by industry from diverse fields.

Rishika Agarwal, a third year UG student, writes Electrical Engineering, branch changes and life at IITK -

Industrial and Management Engineering

Department Website :

With the establishment of the Department of Industrial & Management Engineering (IME) in 1974, IIT Kanpur extended its technical supremacy to managerial disciplines. The IME department was established with the aim of combining the strength of technology and management. This synergy is the foundational bedrock of all IME programs- MBA, M.Tech and PhD. The department has recently introduced dual degree program combining B.S./B.Tech . with MBA and M.Tech.

Keeping up with the tradition of innovation the programmes at IME department aim at creating business leaders and entrepreneurs by leveraging on its strengths in technology, computing and social sciences. The department is currently engaged in a diverse set of activities including teaching, academic research, industry consulting, management development programmes and public sector projects.


Department Website :

Physics Department of IIT-Kanpur is engaged in research and teaching at the frontier areas of experimental and theoretical sciences. These include biological physics, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, cosmology, astro-physics, string theory, photonics, quantum optics, information theory, quantum computation. Excellence in research and teaching has been the hallmark of our Department ever since its inception. Apart from our own research at the frontiers, the Department has, over the years, produced some of the brightest minds in physics, active both in the country and all over the world, with several fundamental contributions in the field.

Praharsh Suryadevara, a fourth year UG student, writes about pursuing career in research in physics and how IITK has helped him -


Material Sciences & Engineering

Department Website :

The department has been involved in research areas like physical and mechanical metallurgy, functional and device material and biomaterials.The scientists here are consistently working hard to develop electronic devices(memories,displays,solar cells.LEDs), fuel cells, biomaterials and biomimicking devices, environmental friendly materials, railways, automotive and space technology.The department has unique facilities like FEI Technai 20 U Twin Transmission Electron Microscope..The faculty here are involved in several projects funded by ISRO,DRDO,MHRD,GE India Technology Center etc.The graduates from this department are recruited by companies like Transocean, Schlumberger, Tata Steel, Reliance, Jindal Steel and Power, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley etc

Pankaj tells you how to make an informed choice -

Akash Bajaj, a fourth year UG student, shares advice on how to choose the appropriate department based on your strengths and interests and why MSE was a good choice for him -

Mathematics & Scientific Computing

Department Website :

You all will have the option for BS which is a 4-year course. Other things included in the curriculum are Double Majors, a minor in other branch etc. The Department attracts young minds who display keen awareness for the quantitative information in the world around them and think logically about qualitative, spatial and abstract relationships. The curriculum helps students to perceive, visualize and analyze patterns, fosters mathematical creativity and skills for probing challenging questions. Research areas include Algebra, Optimization, Modelling, Mathematical Biology and many more. Students enjoy state-of- the-art computing laboratories during their course of study

Akshat Mudgal and Nihar Gargava, two third year UG students, talk about Mathematics at IITK and answer some frequent queries most aspirants have about Mathematics in IITs -

Mechanical Engineering

Department Website :

One of the founding departments of IIT Kanpur, the Mechanical Engineering Department has striven to stay abreast of the best pedagogical practices.Students are exposed to high end numerical and experimental techniques in solid and fluid mechanics and manufacturing sciences. Cutting edge research is done in the fields of Solid Mechanics and Design, Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Sciences, Manufacturing Science, Mechatronics and Nuclear Technology. A graduating student is not only theoretically sound but is also very well versed with latest computational and experimental skills. Thus students are readily absorbed in giant multinational firms like GE, GM and Indian firms like TATA Steel to name a few. A lot of students are absorbed in other premier research organizations like ISRO, DRDO etc. Every year a majority of students take up higher studies in prestigious foreign universities US, GERMANY, UK, CANADA.

For information about research opportunities :