How to decide between Dual and Integrated degrees

Let‘s settle it once and for all. TOI finds out the difference between dual and integrated degree several colleges in India are offering dual degrees and integrated degrees with an interdisciplinary approach. This concept that‘s prevalent in foreign education system was introduced in India by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), and today many are following suit.
However, while making a decision, students get confused between a dual degree programme and an integrated degree programme. One of the core differences between the two degree courses is that after the completion of a dual degree programme, students receive two degrees – a bachelor‘s (in the core area) and a master‘s (in area of specialisation). “Integrated programmes award only one degree which is a master‘s (in area of specialisation),” says Jagdeesh Kumar, dean, academic affairs, IIT-Madras.

For example, if a student enrols for a BTech in Electrical Engineering and MTech in Information and Communication Technology as part of the dualdegree s/he will receive both a graduate degree in Electrical Engineering and a post graduate degree in Information and Communication Technology, but if it is an integrated degree in Information and Communication Technology, the student will only receive a master‘s in the same.

Advantages

The biggest advantage of a dual degree is that it helps students to complete two degrees in a shorter span of time. Another advantage is that students can pursue interdisciplinary courses – core subjects and a specialised area. For example if a student is pursuing a BTech in Aerospace Engineering, under the dual degree programme s/he can do a master‘s in Data Science, Robotics, Energy Systems, Computational Engineering, Advanced Biotechnology or any other option offered at the institute, says Kumar.

Dual degrees not only enable students to earn an added qualification, but are also useful to those who may have have been able to secure an admission in their preferred discipline.

Also, dual degrees are more feasible as one completes two degrees in a span of five years instead of six, which automatically saves a year‘s fee. However, for integrated programmes fee is almost the same.

Another advantage of an integrated or dual degree according to Kumar is that, such graduates get better placement deals as they specialise in a subject and have in-depth knowledge.

Curriculum design

Kumar disagrees with the perception that dual degrees or integrated degrees bring in more study pressure. For these programmes the curriculum is designed in line with what specialisation the student has opted for. “If a student who is doing a regular BTech programme in may become a specialist in machines or go to power systems or mobile applications, his choice is open-ended, and so the curriculum includes all the basic subjects,” he adds. But for a dual/integrated degree student who is going for BTech in Electrical Engineering and MTech in Communication Systems, we know that the student is going to become a communications engineer so curriculum will be more communications engineering Electrical Engineering. “Students can choose their subjects through choice based credits,” says Kumar.

Entry

Students can opt for the dual degree programmes while entering college. However, some institutes like the IITs also allow lateral entries for dual degree programmes. In case of integrated programmes no lateral entries are allowed and students have to take a firm decision while entering college.

Exit options

Since dual degrees are a combination of graduation and post-graduation, the college reserves the right to allow a student to opt out of the course after finishing the graduation or completing the dual degree. IIT-Madras allows it only as a last resort, if the student has a genuine reason for the inability to complete both the degrees even after extension at the end of five years.

In integrated, there is no such choice of exiting with only a bachelor‘s degree. The students will have to complete the course and obtain a master‘s degree.

Colleges/Universities offering Dual degree courses in India

1) Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)

2) BITS Pilani

3)

4) University of Rajasthan

5)

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7)

8) , Hyderabad

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