Integrated Courses: A Movement with Double Benefits

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The target of making higher education more industry centric, several universities across the state and country have begun offering flexible dual degree and integrated courses in management and human resources along with the engineering programmes. Some of the premier institutions in India have taken the lead in introducing integrated programmes, thus building a staircase for others to climb. An integrated study programme has a curriculum that comprises of content jointly designed by two or more higher education disciplines and regulated by a specific set of guidelines. Management education integrated with engineering, architecture and pharmacy offers immense opportunities for students. Interestingly, integrated dual degree programs are not new to Indian education system, with some of these programmes being in light for the last decade.

As per, ¬†Sidhartha Rastogi, Professor of Economics at IIT Indore, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) offer a five-year MTech dual degree course in its several engineering branches. The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research also offers a dual BS-MS programme where students study mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and humanities initially and then specialise in a combination of subjects.One thing, the students need to consider and realise is that integrating their degree adds two whole years to their experience. Generally, a double degree is a five-year programme. However, there are exceptions where they last for just four years while other programmes have an even longer duration. Students who complete an integrated course have the advantage of opting to pursue a PhD. The other advantage is that you don’t have to take an entrance exam twice. If a student is sure of the course he is aquainted with then it will work well for him.

According to Dr P Mannar Jawahar, Vice Chancellor, Anna University said that it is only recently that universities have begun scaling-up programmes on offer, adding a modern edge to them. A student can enroll in an integrated BE-MBA course after class XII. On completion of three years the university confers a Bachelor’s degree in Management. After four years, students get applied management degrees and are ready to face industry challenges.

Dr Ponnavaiko, Vice Chancellor of SRM University is of the opinion that integrated courses and dual degrees come in various disciplines i.e. from engineering to humanities. It is important to draw the line between dual degrees and integrated programmes, although these terms are often used interchangeably.A joint degree program is an outcome to an integrated course of study. An integrated study programme comprises of a curriculum that is jointly designed by two or more higher education institutions and sometimes from different countries or disciplines which is regulated by a specific set of guidelines. Students who choose the programme undertake defined periods of study in each institution or discipline in terms of duration and content. At the end of the courses and after relevant examinations, students are awarded a single qualification jointly signed by the academic authorities of both institutions and disciplines.