How Things Work: Branch Change

After coming out of the JEE rank driven universe, all of us have hoped to get a good JEE rank on the result day and thus pursue a degree in our favourite branch or field in our preferred IITs. However, many face extreme difficulties in choosing the sweet spot between the field of study and the IIT at which they can pursue it.

Most of us choose our branches based on the opinion given by relatives or just see the JEE trends and take whatever we get. The picture gets clearer after coming to the campus, where interactions with seniors and professors will help one make an informed decision. The opportunity to change your branch is one such thing that will land you with the powers to meet the sweet spot that was out of your reach due to rank or misinformation.

This article will provide an introduction to the intricacies and details of the Branch Change procedure, and some tips from those who have used this facility.

 

Official Rules for Changing your Branch

  1. Branch change will be considered only at the end of first semester [July-Nov]. The performance of the first semester (Grade Point Average) will be the basis for consideration for changes of branches.
  2. All students (except Dual Degree programme in Engineering Design Branch) who have successfully completed the first semester of all the courses will be eligible for consideration for the change of branch subject to the availability of vacancies. Dual Degree students are not eligible to seek change to a branch in the 4-year B.Tech. programme and vice versa.
  3. In making a change of branch, the strength of a class should not fall below the existing strength by more than 10% and should not go above the sanctioned strength by more than 10% percent. For this purpose, the strength in both cases refers to the total strength of the students in the class.
  4. If a student with a higher GPA is not offered a particular branch because of other constraints, this will not be offered to any other student with a lower GPA even if he/she is eligible on the basis of the above norms.
  5. Change of Branch rules is subject to revision from time to time and the decision of the Senate will be final and binding.

The guidelines for the current year will be informed by the academic section soon.

 

GPA and CGPA Calculation

The Grade Point Average (GPA) can be calculated using the formula: 

GPA = (∑Ci * GP)/∑Ci

Where:

Ci = number of credits for the course,

GP = the corresponding number grade point for the letter grade obtained in that course (S = 10, A = 9, B = 8, C = 7, D = 6, E = 4, U or W = 0)

∑Ci = the sum of credits of all courses taken in that semester, including those in which the student has secured U or W grades.

For the cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA), a similar formula is used except that the ∑Ci is the sum of credits of all courses taken in all the semesters completed up to the point in time, including those in which the student has secured U or W grades.

NOTE: The above data has been directly taken from the ordinances and regulations document available in https://www.iitm.ac.in/ordinances.

 

How To Work Towards A Branch Change

As expected, one needs to put a lot of effort for getting a branch change to the department of your interest, especially when the branch you’re aiming for was open for better ranks. Based on your performance so far, you can roughly gauge the things you need to do to secure a change of branch. To help you with this, there are some websites with study material, problem sheets, and previous papers that can be used for practice, such as:

  1. Civil IITM: https://sites.google.com/a/mitr.iitm.ac.in/iitmcivil/
  2. Mechanical IITM: https://sites.google.com/site/iitmmech/google-group-mechiitm/home

Additionally, the institute local network on DC++ has more resources.

Saathi, a student body of IITM working towards proactively engaging the students, also conducts the Acad Buddy programme where freshmen are assigned senior mentors to help them work on their academics.

To help you out further, the following are some opinions from students who have secured a Branch Change over the years:

 

Shubhangi Ghosh (MM to EE B.Tech, Batch of 2015): “I was looking to move to a branch which suits my interests better and helps me pursue a wider area of research, if and when I’d opt for higher studies. My branch change from metallurgical and materials sciences to electrical engineering enabled exactly the same. I find my current branch pretty challenging, but since I’ve always enjoyed pushing myself towards higher goals and taking up challenges, I’m enjoying the challenges and learnings that my branch has to offer. My current branch has a wide variety of sub-fields, with some of them being areas my interests have always been inclined towards, so I’m quite happy with my branch change. My advice to freshies would be to not stress themselves over the prospect of having to get a Branch Change, but just put in a regular effort and make sure they understand the concepts well, which also  exploiting the exciting, new college experience.”

 

Achraj Sarma (AE to ME B.Tech, Batch of 2015): “My perspective on opting for a Branch Change was considering pros and cons in doing so. The cons are virtually none, each branch does offer a variety and uniqueness no other branch can, but realistically observing, my opportunities once after branch changing were seemingly more than it previously was. My choices were definitely influenced by clichés and other factors apart from my own interests but were nonetheless governed in the end by an analysis of my future, interests and curiosity to learn something new. While I can’t say how things would have panned out in my earlier branch, I am happy with my decision to change my branch. The field is more diverse in my opinion, I have made more connections and friends too, and it also puts interdisciplinary fields into a perspective. It is not necessary to maintain the level of effort required for a branch change (although it certainly does reflect in marks), one just needs to find the right balance, as with anything else.”

 

Ramya Vijayram (AE to BE DD, Batch of 2015): “I decided I wanted to branch slide at the end of my first semester. With my rank, aerospace engineering was one of the better options I had, and hence I took it (quite the familiar story, I’m sure). Off the bat, I didn’t really have any branch I really wanted; and I thought my love for physics would carry me through aero.

However, after coming to insti and talking to several people, two things happened – I realised aerospace was more difficult than I had bargained for, and that I genuinely missed biotechnology; which I had studied in 11th and 12th. After doing a project with the Biotech Club, my mind was made up that I would go back to studying something I loved, which would sustain my interest.

Although my decision was a rather unconventional one, I think it turned out well. I like most of what I study, and I think I like what I am working towards.”

 

Briti Ghosh (CH to EE B.Tech, Batch of 2015) :- “When I newly joined IITM, a Branch Change was totally not on my cards, firstly, since it anyways seemed to be an option way beyond my reach, and secondly, because I was unsure of what branch I’d be happy in, in the first place. However, one semester into chemical engineering made me realise that thermodynamics and its sister subjects were not my forte. I still wasn’t sure about what branch I would actually fit well into, so the filling of the Branch Change form was pretty much due to the herd mentality of the fact that a so-called ‘higher’ branch would get me to better places. The branch change results were extremely surprising, to say the least. However, now I can say with a smile that electrical does perhaps suit me better than chemical would have, as I enjoy the courses and have found a substream that I find interesting. But then again, maybe I would have found another substream of my interest if I’d have stuck with CH as well! But I am happy with my decision.”

 

Abhijit Gupta (AE to EE DD – Batch of 2014):  “As someone generally interested in current technological trends (among others), I was more inclined towards EE and CS. EE seemed like the optimal choice as it has the perfect balance of hardware and software (along with cutting-edge research and commercial progress in the current era). Additionally, it equips you a highly diverse set of mathematical and engineering tools which can be used right from wireless networks and artificial intelligence to logistics, manufacturing and finance. This made sense for a generalist like me, and also opened up a ton of career opportunities down the line. I’m glad that I was presented with the opportunity to switch to EE, and I’m happy about the decision I made.

A word of advice: regular efforts should help you secure a Branch Change, but don’t think too much about securing one, and don’t base your reasons for wanting a Branch Change purely on career opportunities and monetary reasons; every branch has its own charm, and following your interests will help you the most. However, do some research on what you like more, and what opportunities it holds for you in the future.”

 

Harsh Parekh (BE DD to ME DD, Batch of 2016): I wanted to change my branch to Mechanical Engineering only (and not CS or EE), as I had a genuine interest in automobiles and I also liked mechanics.

After securing a Branch Change, I am still interested in Mechanical Engineering but my interest has shifted towards robotics and intelligent product manufacturing, which involve the core aspects of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and machine learning. However, I have no regrets at all!”

 

Harshitha S (EP to EE B.Tech, Batch of 2016): “I wanted a branch change from the very first day because my aim was to get into CS or EE, as I liked them more. However, even before I got a seat in IIT Madras I was told by seniors to not come in with the mentality for a branch change and should be happy with the branch that I get into. I think they were totally right about that.

It was tough competition to get a branch change as I had to place in the top 10%. I was motivated, I worked hard and achieved it. I am happy to have gotten as I feel that the EE curriculum is my cup of tea because there’s a lot of physics in EP that I’m not quite interested in.

Even though you would hear from many students that EE is tough which is kind of right, I feel good it as I enjoy the courses.”

 

Aakila Rajan (NA to ME B.Tech, Batch of 2016): “I had a different perspective of choosing branches from the beginning; my dream job is to work in the world’s leading aerospace companies. If you have a look at the job description of these companies, they employ students primarily from Mechanical Engg., Aerospace Engg., and Metallurgical Engg. However, they take in a lot of naval architects too cause they are involved in ocean recovery. Due to my rank, I couldn’t get ME or AE, and I wasn’t interested in MM. Hence, I chose NA. I decided for a Branch Change in ME over AE as it would give me more chance of getting my dream job (I can apply as a Materials Engineer, Propulsion Engineer, FEA engineer and lot more.)”

 

S Sai Varun (ME to EE DD, Batch of 2016): “When I applied for a branch change, I didn’t even expect that I would get it. I actually thought of not applying at some point in time, because there were already 4 people in my branch who had a higher GPA than me, but they wished to stay in ME and I got the chance. Now, I feel that it’s a very good decision. I have found my interest in the electrical courses that I have come across and I am loving it!”

 

J Krishna Kishore (EE to CS DD, Batch of 2016): “I wanted to go to a branch which has more opportunities than my current branch. Not that I didn’t like EE, but the world is getting computerized and I feel there is a lot to explore in it. I feel happy that I opted for a Branch Change as I am finding the stuff that is being taught quite interesting.”

B Thwisha Charvi ( EE to CS B.Tech, Batch of 2016): “My perspective in opting for a branch change was that I felt coding interesting during the CS1100 course in the first semester. Even after the JEE results were declared, I tried for CS but I couldn’t get it at the old IITs with my rank. Thus, I opted for EE, which also seemed to have a lot of opportunities in the future, but one of my seniors told me that there would be hectic subjects in EE in the years to come and I felt that I might not like the subject. Hence, I thought of choosing the one that kept me interested, which was CS, and I went ahead with applying for a Branch Change, and now, I’m finding the CS courses and curriculum new and interesting every day, with new challenges. I’m happy with my decision!”

Disclaimer: The views are not to be construed in any manner as the official views of IIT Madras.
Content copyright: The Fifth Estate, IIT-M's Student Media Body. For permissions to reuse part or whole of the content, email us at t5e.iitm@gmail.com