Friday, July 25, 2014

Dual/Integrated degrees

As IISc, recognized as a deemed university under UGC, completes its admission to the four year UG B.S. program for the fourth time, I am frequently asked by everyone about the recent UGC notification.

As many readers are aware, UGC has recently notified against dual degree programs. Professor Sanghi has written a detailed explanation regarding this. The IAFYO* has lodged a protest against this post for allegedly insulting their intelligence.

The following is clear: UGC does not like dual degree programs. They do not like four year undergraduate programs either. They, however, have no problems with the integrated programs. Therefore, UGC is fine and dandy if institutions give a master's degree  instead of a bachelor's degree at the end of four years. If we rename the four year B.S. program in IISc to M.S., everything will be fine.

Can IITs ignore UGC? Well, they can but students can and do get affected. For example, if a student graduating from a M.Tech dual degree from IIT wants to join as a faculty in an university (whose specific requirement is an UGC recognized degree), the university may not shortlist this candidate for interview at all. When IITs (and IISc) introduced direct Ph.D admission (after B.Tech), everyone praised the program because it would save at least a year. However, it has its own problems. A person joining with a B.E./B.Tech and graduating with a Ph.D still has trouble finding jobs in NITs and other universities, where they explicitly need a master's degree. Some follow a point system: performance in bachelors, performance in masters, performance in doctorate, publications etc. Everything has some points. Therefore, if you do not have a master's degree, you get zero points. Any amount of discussion with these institutions that the student should be shortlisted for interview though he/she does not have a master's degree falls on deaf ears. I do not want to compare the personnel involved in shortlisting with some children because IAFYO may take offence to their intelligence. But that is the ground reality.



*IAFYO: Indian association of five year olds.

41 comments:

Rohan said...

Prof. Madras,

Thanks for the post, even though I am slightly terrified after reading this. I have a question and will be thankful if you (or anyone else intelligible about this topic) could kindly clarify:
I have a B.Tech degree from NITK Surathkal and a PhD. degree from Ohio State (no MS degree). Going by your post, I guess I probably don't stand a chance to get a prof. position at NITs. But does this also apply to other institutes like IISc, JNCASR and TIFR?

gautam barua said...

Not all NITs. Dont worry. "maaro goli" to silly norms. If all the institutes you mention refuse you a job because of this reason, we as a nation will have had it. We will not allow this to happen.

Anonymous said...

Not all NITs but some nits and univs follow such stupid point systems.

Iafyo is funny.

Ankur Kulkarni said...

I sense a growing irrationality and brazenness in the UGC's recent actions. Is this so and what might be the reason?

iitmsriram said...

Prof. Barua, this "masters degree needed" has been happening and it is not a silly points system, without the masters degree the candidates will become ineligible for appointment. IITM senate is discussing how to give our direct PhD candidates a masters somewhere along the way. For example the "current" ad from NITT (which one would consider as one of the better NITs) at the url given below is written is such a way that for all the engineering department posts, an ME / MTech is an essential qualification and candidates without this will become ineligible. The model recruitment rules for NITs does hot have this problem, but not all NITs have started recruiting using the model rules.

http://www.nitt.edu/home/other/jobs/faculty-advt-6000AGP.pdf

Anonymous said...

I think that there is an escape clause for IIT dual degrees (as there is no exit clause in IIT dual degrees) and IITs can ignore UGC.

iitmsriram said...

I was carefully reading the recent gazette notification and comparing to the one it superseded (the 2009 notification) - M Sc Tech is not in the list of recognised degrees any more. But then, M Sc (Engg) as offered by IISc is not in the 2009 list or the current list, so I don't know what that means, with IISc being a deemed university and all. Of course, the MS (or MS by research as it is called) has never been on the UGC list, so I don't know what it means to these programs of IITM, IITKGP, IITD, ...

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

UGC allows degrees with pretty much anything in the parenthesis. So Master of Science (Engineering) or Master of Science (by Research) would be acceptable degree names. However, UGC may consider them as science degrees which are done after a 3-year bachelors degree and hence there may be equivalence issues in some places. They may not consider them equivalent to MTech. But as long as degree names are legal and the minimum duration and minimum admission norms have been satisfied, no body can call the degree illegal.

iitmsriram said...

Looks like everyone is into UGC bashing, I think we should try to understand what motivates some of these regulations. I think it starts with the MBA which is traditionally a two year PG program (lets leave alone the 3+2 vs. 4+2 argument for now). Increasingly, we are having Institutions offering one year executive MBA programs, including equivalent offerings from IIMs. As an Engineering Institution, if B.Tech. + M.Tech. can be shrunk from 4+2 to 5 years, can we not have a 4 + 2 = 5 year BTech + MBA? Why not a 3 + 2 = 4 year B.Com. + MBA? Even for M.Tech., why should it be a full 2 year program? Can an Institution A tie up with Institution B and call it a dual degree program and give a BE from A and MTech from B in 4 + 1 years? Why should IITs alone have the privilege of this dual degree? A & B can have a tie up and make it 3.5 + 1.5 or whatever. If we keep pushing this way is MTech / MBA 2 year program or 1 year program? Exit option after BE from A or lateral entry option into MTech from B are deciding factors? Our (or UGCs) obsession with "no double counting" may be one of the causes of this problem. For the most part IIT MTech programs are designed for "others" and something like one third of the program is remedial or "bringing up to speed" or "bringing to a common level", about a third is original advanced course work and the final third is the project. It is easy to integrate this into "our" BTech by eliminating the remedial courses, absorbing the BTech project into the MTech project and adding just the one third portion advanced courses and come up with the 5 year BTech + MTech program. Prof. Dheeraj Sanghi has hinted something similar in describing the IIT dual degree programs. What all this means is that the IIT MTech is not really a 2 year program but only a 1.x year program which will stretch to 2 years if your UG background is not strong enough and hence, if your background is strong enough (IIT BTech), it can be shrunk to one year. Can it? One way to get out of this is to make a real 2 year MTech program and if your background is not strong enough, it will take you 2.x years. And so on.

Anonymous said...

IIT MTechs are of poor quality compared to BTechs. The IIT Ph.Ds are worse than MTech. This is a given from the above comment.

Based on this, how can one expect that the third rate Ph.Ds students produce research that is comparable with the top 100 universities in the world? Stupid MHRD asking IIT directors to pull up the ranking.

gautam barua said...

I am not in favour of these "integrated" / "dual" degrees and I agree with Sriram that many of the consequences of taking this forward can be bizarre. Instead, I am all for pushing for not insisting on a Masters' degree if one has a PhD. A Masters' degree should be looked upon as a degree for a "non research " stream. If we can convert the BSc to a four year programme (or at least allow it as an option or call it something else (BS?)) then we may be able to get the Science big wigs to agree to what I am suggesting and then UGC and others will have to follow suit (:-) ).

Ankur Kulkarni said...

I think dual degree programs are great - time optimal, depth optimal and output optimal. It is UGC that needs to get its brains tested. Those can afford to do so, should show UGC the finger and carry on.

And as far as the MTech requirement for faculty positions is concerned, why should any of us encourage our students to join institutions run by UGC and their insane rules? It is not our job to clean the UGC's mess; it is Smriti Irani's. I am very clear that if students can't find positions in IITs/IIMs and other autonomous institutions, they shouldn't go to other government institutions. They would be of more service to themselves and to society if they join private universities or companies. Or they should do a postdoc and simply settle abroad.

Anonymous said...

Phd from iit should not join nits? They are well funded, get jee students and you say iit ph.d should not join them. They have this rule of masters degree. Giri has pointed this out. Nothing to do with ugc.

Anonymous said...

funny discussion. Nice country, where almost everyone break rules if he can ! A director saying "Dont worry. "maaro goli" to silly norms." UGC choose to ignore rule for one year and all of a sudden remember its rule. May be UGC sud also remember how many deemed govt universities are following rules for deemed university.

Anonymous said...

Sir BITS Pilani also offers a dual degree program. (Msc. + a BE degree ) . will it be affected by this ? I have joined such program this year only and iam very worried. Please reply fast.

Ankur Kulkarni said...

How cool.

http://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/iisc-also-asked-by-ugc-to-scrap-fyup-114080601260_1.html

Anonymous said...

Excellent. The program was started despite lot of opposition from faculty in iisc. Good that the program will be stopped from next year.

Anonymous said...

Yes, IISc has indeed announced that this is the last batch of B.S. students. From next year, there will not be any admission to B.S program.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

The issue is not whether dual-degree is double counting or whether the advanced degree is deliberately being kept at a lower level, etc., but why is there an artificial difference being created between a dual degree and an integrated degree. Why is it that an Integrated MTech degree can be given in 5 years, but a BTech-MTech dual degree can not be given in 5 years. Second problem with UGC is that it keeps contradicting itself. Just a few years ago, it had written letters to all universities asking them to move to credit based system where a student could potentially speed up his/her degree. It talked about credit based system in such lofty terms and almost insisted that all universities adopt it. Now, it is talking about minimum durations of each program. Forget dual-degree, if I want just an MTech degree, and I tell a university that I don't want any TA/RAship, and in that time I would credit an extra course, thereby completing all the MTech requirements in 3 semesters, what is wrong. There is no dilution of standards. I am doing the same number of credits as everyone else. I am putting in as much time per course as everyone else.

The problem with UGC is that it is giving no logic to its directives. And it is not giving any reasons because it does not have any. If UGC were to provide rationale for its decisions, we can possibly argue those reasons and try to convince them of our view point, or get convinced. But in the absence of any reasons, and a whole lot of apparent contradictions, one can only assume that they don't know what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

UGC has cancelled the ug progeam in iisc. IITS too have four year bs programs. What happens to them

iitmsriram said...

Dheeraj, why don't you read my post above. As I see it now, UGC is attempting some "quality assurance" in about the only way they can. In the case of deemed and private universities which do not receive UGC grants, what quality control can be exercised over them and by whom? We have effectively killed off the National Accreditation system. Is there an alternative (yet)? You have some internal idea of what a credit is and perhaps you are unwilling to settle for less. Following your logic, what stops my private deemed university from offering a one semester MTech? I mean, ALL my students are brilliant, I carefully select them through tests and interviews. They work hard, attend classes 40 hrs every week and spend another 20 hours every week working on their MTech project. Add those hours up over six months (one semester plus a vacation, say) and looks like it satisfies the MTech credit requirement for me. There are institutions ready to offer such degrees and there are hundreds of students ready to take these degrees. What about PhD, for example, where it gets much more difficult to assess quality? If you think I am hypothesising, I would offer what I think is a related development. Tamil Nadu has about 500 (mostly private) engineering colleges and teachers at these can join up for part time PhD at Anna University, typically by finding a local PhD supervisor. There are about 2500 such recognised guides all over the state. Anna University awarded 690 PhDs at its last convocation, which may be around the same as all the old IITs put together and this number is going to go much higher. In fact, last year the number was so high that they had two such convocations and gave another 600+ PhDs in the earlier convocation. Of course, I have digressed far away from dual and integrated degrees, but the issue seems to be quality assurance.

Ankur Kulkarni said...

@iitmsriram: Here's a place where UGC can start looking if it wants quality assurance
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laissez-faire

Besides, why is the UGC penalizing the good for the deeds of the bad? Why is it fair that IISc should not have this programme just because some private college can exploit it? Clearly, UGC needs to be imaginative with its ideas of regulation.

iitmsriram said...

@Ankur, I don't think it is sensible for us (academics) to adopt an us and them stance with respect to UGC. Just a couple of weeks ago, MHRD has notified a UGC review committee. I believe that part of the reason why the regulatory mechanisms (NAC or AICTE or whatever) have not worked well is because we in the IITs have let them down by not contributing. If we continue to be indifferent, I am not sure where things will end up.

Ankur Kulkarni said...

I would be happy to contribute if UGC reads some basic economics and shows willingness to some time pondering what it is that academics want. It is UGC's idea that academics must follow the payscales of babus, even though the two are incomparable. It UGC's idea that there should a uniform policy for all institutions regardless of quality. It their idea to bound fees. They have come up with hilarious programmes like the QIP. I can go on. You look their history and you are left aghast at what first-class ignoramuses have walked through the UGC.

Imagine a 10-year old boy who has been fed steriods to grow biceps like a man. He is a little boy, but because he has these biceps, everyone, young and old, fear him. UGC is like that boy. Intellect of a child, strutting around with inflated ego and no grounds to command even an iota of respect.

Take UGC off these drugs, send them back to school where they will do their homework and then I will cooperate with them.

Anonymous said...

Professor Sriram,

Agreed that UGC has to ensure quality and it has to make sure 1 year M.Tech courses are not offered etc.

But why cancel the 4 year BS program of IISc. It is 1 year more than the normal BSc course and many people say it is a model science program.

As Prof. Giridhar has written, if it was called 4 year MS program integrated, UGC would not have a problem with it.

Therefore, it appears UGC can cancel IISc program without even requesting details on its course, quality and content.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely strange and weird. Hope the authorities who approved this course had given any thought. UGC is supposed to have balanced minds to guide these Universities. Unfortunately clubbing Delhi College with IISc is an insult to IISc and it's reputation which was built over a century!!


IISc is the only institution is India that ,at least, presently serves as the purpose of quality control, standard, innovation, future of research in country. Others (almost all central universities) are just scrap. Those who dare to compare/criticize IISc's FYUP with DU may be 'academic lumpens or incompetent bureaucrats' who doesn't understand how to compare two different contexts

Ankur Kulkarni said...

Worth a read:

http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/needed-pest-control/

Anonymous said...

Ankur: Thanks. The comment regarding UGC review committee which IITM Sriram speaks so highly of is given below.

"The government has set up a committee to review the functioning of the UGC. But I would urge you to read the order setting up the committee. The order makes the same old mistake: it presumes that the only way to ensure accountability is an even greater command and control structure. The idea that a single body can, through regulatory inspections, ensure standards in thousands of colleges, is patent nonsense. It is a recipe for rent seeking."

iitmsriram said...

Thanks, anon. I seem to have forgotten to type up the part of my post "speaking highly" of the UGC review committee, thanks for noticing and reminding me of it.

My point about regulatory mechanisms failing because we academics have let them down seems to have been missed. Since the Pratap Bhanu Mehta's opinion article speaks gospel, here is another comment from it.

"The fault does not lie exclusively with government. The academic community has also let short-term interest and ideological fervour trump regulatory good sense."

Unless good academics choose to participate in regulatory mechanisms, such mechanisms are bound to fail. As long as we feel WE need not participate actively in THEIR work, I can't see how things can improve.

Ankur Kulkarni said...

@iitmsriram, I am not the UGC chairmain. Nor am I the HRD minister. Why should I do their job if they are not doing it? If I slack off at my job, will they take it as their moral responsibility to write my papers and guide my students?

Anonymous said...

@Ankur: What about being a good citizen and caring about the future of engineering/science in this country?
No one can blame you for only focusing on doing good research/guiding your students. However calling everyone a imbecile shows great immaturity on your part. Either be a part of the solution or keep shut.

Ankur Kulkarni said...

My responsibility as an academic is to say things as I see them. Societies function when each person excels at his/her job. Not when they try to do another person's job.

Anonymous said...

"Unless good academics choose to participate in regulatory mechanisms, such mechanisms are bound to fail."

MHRD and UGC had formed a scrutiny and advisory committee few years back. To ensure quality, the committee had several Bhatnagar awardees (that can taken a standard of some accomplishment).

However, when they invited them for meetings in Delhi, MHRD said that they should take care of the expenses, accommodation by themselves. Do you think these people who are normally busy in science (and who are willing to do some social service) will pay money from their project to attend advisory committee meetings in Delhi? When MHRD was asked why they do not want to provide accommodation (or pay for it), they said "All these people are fellows of INSA, they can stay in INSA guest house"

After 3 meetings, in which most of the reputed scientists did not attend, they canceled the whole idea by saying academicians do not want to participate in these meetings.

Let MHRD/UGC call reputed scientists, treat them well (put them up in five star hotels, when our ministers stay there, why can not our best scientists), pay their travel and ask for their advise. You will see many of them will attend and contribute.

old iit prof.

sai krishna said...

Hi giri sir,

I am sai krishna applied for m.tech in iisc and got offer letter.but
Last week i got selected as special officer in iocl, so i have withdrawn my offer in iisc bangalore.
I had withdrawn my offer on july 29th and paid fees of 20000rs.

How can i get my fee back?
Please let me know the details.

Thanks
Krishna.

Anonymous said...

Will the IISc really scrap the four-year UG program??

Ankur Kulkarni said...

iitmsriram, do you still think one should cooperate with UGC? One does not cooperate with crocodiles.

apschauhan amit said...

i am fourth year student of b.tech. i want to withdrawal b.tech+m.tech (integrated) programme if there is any rule withdrawal this course please informe me.
apschauhan.amit@gmail.com

thankyou

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Shantanu said...

Prof Giri,
I saw some comments by anonymous users that the BS program in IISc is going to be stopped from next year. Is that true?
As far as I know deliberations are still going on between IIT/IIsc and UGC.
I am a parent of a second year IISc BS student and am really worried about this. I will hugely appreciate you throwing some light on the situation.
regards

Anonymous said...

I think UGC should immediately reconsider allowing IISc granting BS degrees for its 4 year BSC (Research) course.
It is a unique science course ,which is gaining in popularity all over the country.
IIT and IISE are still awarding BS degrees .
UGC needs to notify that BS is a recognized degree ,otherwise the BS degrees that IIT and IISER are granting will deemed to be unrecognized degrees.
I also understand that after BS the IISC undergraduates can opt for continuing for another 1 year of studies to receive a MS degree from IISc .
This is another reason why the degree should be named BS instead of BSc (research).
Almost all students,parents and academicians want the degree to be named BS and not BSC (research).
Why is UGC imposing and interfering ?

Anonymous said...

I think UGC should immediately reconsider allowing IISc granting BS degrees for its 4 year BSC (Research) course.
It is a unique science course ,which is gaining in popularity all over the country.
IIT and IISE are still awarding BS degrees .
UGC needs to notify that BS is a recognized degree ,otherwise the BS degrees that IIT and IISER are granting will deemed to be unrecognized degrees.
I also understand that after BS the IISC undergraduates can opt for continuing for another 1 year of studies to receive a MS degree from IISc .
This is another reason why the degree should be named BS instead of BSc (research).
Almost all students,parents and academicians want the degree to be named BS and not BSC (research).
Why is UGC imposing and interfering ?