IITs and Social Sciences- an oxymoron?

Gauri Chhabra
Almost a decade ago, educationists the world over realized 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 programs offered by IIT’s are as under:
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Economics and M.Sc Economics
Bachelor of Science [BS] Programme in Economics programme, offered at IIT Bombay, aims to create a unique brand of students who will be equipped with the temper of ethically strong society while achieving technological applications and breakthroughs. 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 organizations are increasingly demanding graduates with these kinds of skills and capabilities.T
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Kharagpur offers five year integrated program at the undergraduate level.(i.e., five yr. integrated M Sc in Economics). Students get admission through JEE (Advance). Over the years, this programme has become very popular and students are well placed.
The Economics discipline at IIT Roorkee admits a limited set of students in the M.Sc. program in Economics.
Graduate Programs in Social Sciences:
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, a multidisciplinary establishment of IIT Indore, offers programs in Economics, English Literature, Philosophy and Psychological Science. The primary focus of the school is research and all the disciplines have Graduate programs 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.
The Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Palakkad focuses on interdisciplinary dialogues in humanities and social sciences.The Department carries out research and teaching in emerging fields of enquiries 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. The 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 wide range of 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.
Post Graduate Programs in Social Sciences and Humanities
M.A Development Studies
IIT Madras offers a unique five year integrated programme leads to Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in two major streams – Development Studies and English Studies. With this programme, IIT Madras,reflects the multi-disciplinary nature of the fundamental concepts in humanities and social sciences. Such a curriculum aims to produce masters in Humanities and Social Sciences to cater to the growing demands of academia, government, public and private sector enterprises, NGOs, and other organisations. Analyzing and addressing these issues therefore requires knowledge and skills from across the social sciences, which is what the inter-disciplinary area of Development Studies seeks to do. It covers such topics as economic development, the role of the state and markets, globalization, inequality, poverty, gender relations, environment, conflict, new social movements, politics and institutions, urban studies, area studies and international relations, to name a few. Courses include those in economics, urbanization, gender studies and science and technology studies as well as advanced topics in political philosophy and social theory. Students in this stream will be 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 organizations and industry.
M.A English Studies
The M.A English at IIT Madras has been designed for students with sensitivity for literary and linguistic analyses. It provides an understanding of literatures in English from around the world 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 masters 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 parts of this stream. Students are 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 a program at postgraduate level (i.e., Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM). It is designed to cater the need of modern industrial society. This programme offers the students specialized knowledge and skills required to meet the challenges of the corporate world. The core strength of the programme lies in developing skills which are relevant to the current trend in the area of Human Resource Management. It is indeed a testimony that our alumni are placed at top management positions in leading organizations across all the sectors
M.Phil, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
M.Phil with a specialization in Planning and Development, offered by IIT Bombay, is a 4 semester interdisciplinary 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 both coursework and field work and requires the completion of a thesis. It is expected that students emerging from this programme will be capable of steering the national, state and regional planning and developmental processes.
PH.D Programs:
IIT Delhi offers a PhD program in seven academic disciplines (Economics, Literature, Linguistics, Philosophy, Policy, Psychology, and Sociology). The PhD program 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, IIT, Indore offers teaching and research in Economics, English, History, Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy, The doctoral program integrates social understanding and technological advantage while responding to the needs of global society. This provides them 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 specialization through uniquely designed innovation- focused training.
IIT Madras
IIT Palakkad has also started research programme leading to MS/PhD degrees in all engineering disciplines and Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Humanities Sciences.
With the exception of Fine Arts, IIT Kanpur provides Doctoral programmes are available in all other discipline of the department like Economics, English and Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology.
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences,IIT Roorkee, offers teaching and research programs in the areas of 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 organization.
To sum up, IIT’s 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.