Choosing between Dual degree (BTMT) and B. Tech. (BT) at IIT Kanpur

Firstly, I would like to state some information that one should know. During IIT admission, IITK only have intakes of btech/bsc disciplines. It doesn’t offer direct admit to integrated (bachelor + masters) dual degree program. All the students get admitted in the undergraduate program only. After completion of roughly 2.5 years, information is floated by each department about conversion from btech program to dual degree program . Each department has its own criteria for allowing btech students to convert to dual degree program. For example, EE department sets the criteria which is based on CPI and it varies from 6.5 to 8 generally.

This is probably better system as compared to the other IITs where they offer dual degree program at the time of JEE counselling itself. I support it because, in this case the student spends considerable time in college’s academic system then decides upon his/her interest that whether he/she should go for integrated mtech program or he/she is satisfied with the btech degree only.

Towards the end of third year, students get option for academic program conversion at IITK. There is quite a lot of questions among students whether to opt for dual degree or continue with their undergraduate degree. So I would like to highlight the positives of both side. I would be writing my personal experience and the ones that I observed from my fellow mates.

I personally favour dual degree because of following points:

  1. Placement: Irrespective of your department, everyone prepares for the placement. So one needs to give a fair amount of time for its preparation as well. If you are in btech degree, so you’ll need to prepare for the placement in the 7th semester along with your course load (probably 5 courses) which will be very hectic and time management will be a major issue.  There would be midsems, endsems, quizzes, etc which might build unnecessary tension and especially towards the end of semester, it might become worse due to placement tests showing up everyday. During mtech period, you will have ample amount of time in 9th semester to prepare for placement as there would be maximum of one/two courses and you could easily manage time between research work and placement preparations.
  2. See the whole process: This will be probably the first time you would face stress based interview on which your initial career depends. So if one converts to a dual degree program, then it would be worth if you could experience the whole placement process while sitting back and see your fellow students preparing for the same. It is also very helpful for your friends who will prepare for their placement with your help and that would be a good exercise for you too. You’ll get to know the total inside & out of process and glitches that would come along right from preparation days to end of placement process. This will help you to prepare you better for the next (your own) placement season.
  3. Knowledge: After you complete your courses by 9th semester, you would have done few of the PG courses of your department as well and it will certainly pour more knowledge in you. Most of the PG courses involve projects as well, so one will have more good/quality project and more in-depth knowledge by the end of 9th semester. Also you would have your thesis project which will weigh a lot if it is relevant to the job profile.
  4. Maturity: After a student completes one more year in campus, you will observe placement season where you’ll see ups and downs, you’ll different phases of difficulties which your friend faced, etc. Also you will be doing your course work seriously. In the thesis work, you will see days when your result are not coming and you will find instances where you will have a few tough days and finally you will cope up with the problem. I mean to say that in short span on this one year, you will come across few certain things which will make you strong and mature. So confidence level will be high and you will tend to take more informed decision.
  5. M. Tech. degree: At the time of placement, the companies screen/shortlist students. Each year I have observed that dual degree student get shortlisted in more companies than btech students (probably due to blend of above factors). And the end of academic program (BTMT) it does feel good to have a higher degree, it might not have immediate monetary effect though. Just for information, dual degree student gets stipend of 12400 INR for the 11 months and academic fees for 8th, 9th and 10th semester is reduced to about 16000 INR only. So your extra one year would be fully funded.
  6. Research: If the student has inclination towards research but he/she is unsure whether to go for PhD or not, then dual program is best way to get glimpse of research life and how does it work. So next year the student will take informed decision. It will also add a thesis work in your resume which will help in getting good admit.
  7. Easy life for one year: You’ll be a bit relaxed all the time and one could also go for internship in winters and summers of 4th year. So time space will increase.

These are points which highlight why one should continue with the btech program.

  1. Save one year: If ageing is your concern or you want to go for some business schools/plans. There is no much point of spending one more year in campus. It’s better to move early and start working on your future.
  2. Current practice: Although I said mtech part would provide ample time to prepare for the placements. But few times it happens that when a person is under pressure then his/her performance is best. So if you are in 7th semester and you have placements in December, then you would also be doing 4-5 courses along with it. So you’ll be in running practice of the courses and there will be no need of revision as quizzes and test would anyway force you to do that. So doing courses properly and preparing for placement could have a lot of overlap which would help.
  3. Financial constraint: It might be the case that one has dire need of money which may arise due to many factors, so one can’t afford to loose out one year salary. Hence if there is urgent need of money, one could get away with btech.
  4. DON’T WANT TO STUDY: This is the worse reason one would consider for continuing with btech. The mtech at IITK only demands sincerity from your side for one more year. It will not tiring as your course work and research work totally depends on your time management. So if you have a few bits of zeal to study and aptitude left in your heart/mind, then I guarantee that you’ll be able to complete dual degree program successfully. So this naive reason shouldn’t be determining your decision.

Altogether I would say that the conversion to dual degree will certainly improve (>=) your placement, earn good experience and also get you a degree. Graduating at the age of 22 (dual) instead of 21 (btech) doesn’t harm much. There is a lot of years still left to do/prepare for any job.

One could opt for btech only when he/she is sure that his/her interest certainly lies in other future aspects or the factors mentioned above.

Shorthand used:
btech – B. Tech.

mtech – M. Tech.

bsc – B. Sc.

(dual degree ~ integrated program) – both program are almost same and they are 5 year program which gives B. Tech. and M. Tech. certification.

Contact me if anyone needs help.

APPEND 1: Dual and integrated are different in some sense. In integrated, you will get a combined CGPA and in dual degree you will get two different gradesheets for Btech and Mtech. (information suggested by Ishan Prashant)