Changing branches within Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) has always been a topic of interest for students. Often students who join a particular branch in an IIT are unsatisfied with their choice and wish to switch to another branch that aligns with their interests. Until recently, it was challenging to change branches in IITs, but now it is possible after the first year.
Many engineering aspirants often choose their engineering branch based solely on their marks or due to peer pressure, without considering the nuances of the different engineering branches. For instance, Computer Science (CS) is the most preferred branch among engineering students at IITs, primarily because of its placement opportunities and the pressure to choose an "in-demand" branch.
However, experts and alumni suggest that towards the end of the second semester, many students feel the pressure and realise that their true passion lies in a different stream. This is where the "Branch Change-ing" (BC-ing) option comes into play. This option allows students to redefine their stay at the institute by switching to the branch of their choice and passion. It is their last chance to study the branch that truly aligns with their interests and aspirations.
Branch change in IITs is a possibility after the first year. Students wishing to switch branches must meet the eligibility criteria and follow the guidelines their respective IITs provide. It is a challenging process, but it can have several advantages for students. By maintaining a good CGPA, fulfilling prerequisites, and seeking guidance, students can successfully change their branches and align their interests with their chosen fields of study.
This article will explore the various aspects of branch change in IITs and what you need to do to make the switch.
The first step towards changing branches is to understand the eligibility criteria. The rules and regulations for branch change vary from IIT to IIT, but most IITs follow similar guidelines. The eligibility criteria for branch change usually involve the following factors:
- CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average): Most IITs have a minimum CGPA requirement that students need to meet to be eligible for branch change. The minimum CGPA requirement is usually around 8.0 but may vary from IIT to IIT.
- Vacancies in the Desired Branch: The availability of seats in the desired branch is also essential. If no seats are available in the desired branch, then the student cannot switch.
- Prerequisites: Some branches have prerequisites that students must fulfil before switching to that branch. For example, a student who wishes to switch to Computer Science from Electrical Engineering may need to have completed specific programming courses.
Process of Branch Change
The process of branch change in IITs is a well-defined procedure. Students wishing to switch branches must follow the guidelines their respective IIT provides. The general process for branch change in IITs is as follows:
- Meeting Eligibility Criteria: The first step is to ensure that the student meets the eligibility criteria for branch change. Students must have a minimum CGPA, and the desired branch must have vacancies.
- Filling out the Application Form: The next step is to fill out the application form for branch change. The application form is usually available online on the IIT's official website. Students must provide their personal details and academic information in the application form.
- Submitting the Application Form: Once the application form is filled out, it must be submitted to the respective department of the IIT. The deadline for submitting the application form varies from IIT to IIT, so students must be aware of the deadline.
- Merit List: After the submission deadline, the IIT releases a merit list of students eligible for branch change. The merit list is usually based on the CGPA of the students.
- Counselling: Students shortlisted on the merit list must attend counselling sessions. During counselling, the student can choose the branch they wish to switch to based on the availability of seats.
- Final Approval: After the counselling sessions, the final approval for branch change is given by the respective department of the IIT.
Tips for Successful Branch Change
Changing branches is a challenging task. It requires hard work and determination. Here are a few tips that can help students successfully change their branches in IITs:
- Maintain a Good CGPA: The most crucial factor for branch change is a good CGPA. Students must focus on their studies and maintain a good CGPA throughout their first year.
- Identify the Desired Branch: Students must know the branch they wish to switch to. It is important to research the desired branch's prerequisites and course structure.
- Fulfil the Prerequisites: Some branches have prerequisites that students must fulfil before switching. Students must ensure they fulfil all the prerequisites before applying for branch change.
- Stay Informed: Students must stay informed about the branch change process and deadlines. They should regularly check the IIT's official website for updates and announcements.
- Seek Guidance: Students should seek guidance from their academic advisors or faculty members regarding branch change. They can provide valuable insights and advice.
Advantages of Branch Change
Branch change in IITs can have several advantages for students. Some of the advantages are:
- Aligning Interests: Changing branches can help students align their interests with their chosen fields. It can lead to a better understanding of the subject and enhance career opportunities.
- Exploring Options: Branch change can allow students to explore different options and find their true calling. It can help them find a field that they are passionate about.
- Improved Performance: Changing branches can also lead to improved academic performance. Students interested in something other than the current branch may need to perform better. However, switching to a branch of their interest can improve academic performance.
Challenges of Branch Change
While branch change in IITs can have several advantages, it also comes with challenges. Some of the challenges are:
- Rigorous Curriculum: The curriculum in IITs is known to be rigorous, and changing branches can mean starting afresh with a new set of courses. Students may need help to catch up with the new curriculum.
- Limited Seats: The availability of seats in the desired branch can be challenging. If no seats are available in the desired branch, then the student cannot switch.
- Time Constraints: The process of branch change can take time, and students may have to wait for several months before they can switch branches. This can cause delays in their academic journey.
Rules for Branch Change
- To be eligible for a change of branch/programme after the second semester, students must have passed all the required common credits on their first attempt and have yet to have any course requirements pending from the summer term examination.
- Students must submit their preferred choices of branch/program in order of priority, and once submitted. They cannot make any changes to their choices.
- Change of branch/program will be based on the merit of the applicants, as determined by their CPI at the end of the second semester. In case of a tie, JEE rank will be considered.
- Applicants may be allowed to change their branch/program based on their inter se merit, subject to the condition that the strength of a branch should not fall below the existing strength by more than ten per cent and should not exceed the sanctioned strength by more than ten per cent.
- All changes to the branch/program will be effective from the third semester, and no further changes will be allowed after this.
- General and OBC category students must have a CGPA greater than 8.00 to be eligible.
- SC/ST and Person with Disability category students must have a CGPA greater than 7.00 to be eligible.
- The student must have completed all credits of core and non-graded units of the first year by the end of the second semester.
- The applicant must have received a grade equal to or above B in a specific first-year course chosen by the program.
- The student should not have any disciplinary actions taken against them.
- Students who want to change their branch must apply by the end of their second semester. They must also indicate which branches they are interested in and rank them in order of preference.
- Branch change requests will be evaluated based on the student's merit, as determined by their CGPA in first-year courses (excluding HSS electives). Requests will only be considered for the branches indicated in the application in the order of preference. If any seats become available later, they will be offered to the applicant with the highest CGPA based on the ranked list.
- When approving a branch change, the total number of students in the class must be, at most, the permitted limit by more than 25% or fall below the existing number by more than 20%. Any fractional value will be rounded to the nearest whole number.
- Students applying for a branch change must have no academic backlogs and must not have been involved in any significant academic or disciplinary misconduct.