Department Change (DepC) fundae

– Arneish Prateek

– Co-authored by Soham Roy


So we reach the most common questions fachche ask: is it easy to get your department changed at IITD? Is change from DD to BTech allowed? How many students are allowed from each department? How does this work? What’s the CG criterion? Can it be relied upon? This must be bothering some of you if you didn’t meet the cutoffs for branches of your choice at your rank. IITD gives you one more chance to prove your merit and earn your desired stream.

At the end of freshman year, students with a Cumulative Grade Point above 8.0 (7.0 for those from reserved categories) are given the chance for a change of programme, allowing upto 15 percent category-wise (that is general, OBC etc) increase (or decrease) in the strength of each department. For example, if you are in Department X which has 40 students of your category, say general, then the strength of general students in X cannot fall below 34 and cannot exceed 46 after the conclusion of the DepC process. If you consider BTech in Chemical Engineering(ChemE) for a case-study, it has a sanctioned strength of 75 (37 general plus 38 reserved). 15% comes out to be 11 seats, that is 6 for general and 5 category-wise reserved. Also, say 3 general-cat students are changing from ChemE, so in effect, there are 9 seats up for grabs for general students from other departments allotted, quoting the Dean, “strictly in the order of merit”. Additionally, many departments also require students to score a minimum B grade in a basic science/engineering course related to that department. So for instance, to be able to change to ChemE, a student must meet this requirement in the MTL course ‘Linear Algebra and Differential Equations’ (We told you ChemE was not chemistry).

Also, in case of two applicants having the same CG (not that common), preference is decided on the basis of your JEE rank. Many students have a misconception that securing top rank in their department would automatically entitle them to DepC – understand that your department at the time of application has little relevance to deciding the order of merit, it’s only the CG that counts; only relevance is that your initial department’s strength should not fall below 85% post DepC. So, in Biotechnology(Dual Degree) (BB5) for example, only 1 student will be allowed the chance to change department because if they allow 2 exits, the strength falls below 85%. However, they will allow 2 exits, if say, a textile student wishes to change to BB5 so that strength constraint is maintained.

Also, if you wish to change to a department that was available to you at your JEE rank, they won’t insist on the B-grade and the minimum 8.0-CG criteria. However, allotment to the desired department will still be done in the order of merit, decided by your CG. So if you want to change to Electrical from CS, you must meet the “good-enough CG” requirement. An EP guy with a higher CG would be preferred over you, a CS guy, for this same seat.
So, well – we tried to explain all the IITD-DepC rules. Now the next question is: can you rely upon it? A disclaimer: the following is very subjective. We both concur on this – you cannot rely on DepC to land you your dream branch – not at IITD, at least. Many of you might feel too motivated to fight for it now, but it’s possible you’ll lose this motivation a few weeks into college. Also understand that people you would be competing against are as formidable as you. This is not your school; at IITD, even scoring average requires effort. And then the hustle-bustle and fun of college-life catches up with you, you explore so many new avenues in ECA and there are just so many good things to do that studies often get sidetracked. Of course, everything is possible with good time management – you can excel in so many activities, manage projects, have fun with friends – at the same time perform spectacularly in exams – we personally know of many such people here. It requires will to open up books after classes of your own accord, trust us. So, it is up to you. Moreover, grading in some courses is so unexpected, you can never know. Like a couple of courses last year made us wonder if they assigned a random number generator to grade us. In some other courses, you will miss out on a higher grade by half a mark, and sometimes you will end up being the last student to secure a dassi or a nehli (Soham here has again begun grinning shamelessly).
The logical and safe choice is always to go ahead with a department which offers courses you can like, rather than take this risk. We won’t tell you if you should go ahead with it or not – only thing is that we feel it’s not reliable.
PS: Just so you know, IITD Academic Policy provides for a Minor degree and a specialisation. So an EP student interested in CS can always go ahead and opt for a Minor degree in CS and/or specialise in a particular subject in their own department, by opting for extra courses pertaining to that field.
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