Dual Degree Projects: A Rule Too Rigid?


The resolution on the matter of Dual Degree and M.Tech projects from the Senate’s 255th meeting now mandates that all students begin work on their respective projects no later than 1st June. The new ruling has created quite a stir amongst the substantial Dual Degree and M.Tech Student community. As the Academic Affairs Secretary told The Fifth Estate, the move is aimed at easing students who would earlier panic as the deadlines for their submission of their projects drew near. As the project submission is directly linked to attaining one’s degree in time, the stress levels endured were substantial. In light of the suicides that happened two years ago, the Senate came to the conclusion that action must be taken.

As it stood before the ruling, it is the belief of the administration that projects were treated too lightly by the students. The odd-semester saw students neglect their project due to the placements looming in the coming December, while the even-semester ticked away due to procrastination as students basked in the results of the happenings of December.

As per the new ruling, students must mandatorily work on their projects right after they enrol on 1st June. The rule decrees a compulsory 12 month period of work – a move aimed at distributing the load of the project. As a natural consequence of this system, majority of the students will be unable to pursue summer internships in the summer following their fourth year. As per the new rule, a student shall only be granted to permission to leave for a summer internship if their internship is strictly a part of their project.

While students of all years will have something to say about the new system, the hardest hit are the current Dual batch of 2014, who have been caught in the middle of nowhere by the late drive to implement the new rules. Most students had already taken up internships, with the due procedures and permission from their project guides and departments, and have now been left in the lurch as they’ve been asked to breach their internship contracts. Many face the threat of extensions and the possibility of missing their own convocations, a thought that none would like to entertain. While completion of the project in-time might get students a provisional degree by 28th, a lot of those going abroad would absolutely need their degrees by that time.

Various responses have emerged as a result of the announcement. Those who had begun work on their projects in the preceding even semester, so as to satisfy the mandatory 12-month period of work on the project, and obtained permission from their respective guides to intern during the summer, now deem the uncertainty regarding their fate unfair.

A look at the Ordinances and Regulations for the batch of Dual Degree students who joined in 2009 reveals that the dual degree project is to be carried out in the “IX and X semesters as approved by the department”. Further, the Ordinances state about leave that “students are eligible for 30 days of leave in the fifth year”. The administration, apparently, counts the 9th semester for Dual Degree students from 1st June onwards – but this rule has only been enforced strictly this year, thereby inconveniencing many students who were not aware of it beforehand.

A few questions, however, are being posed at a more fundamental level. As the touted reason for unsatisfactory DDPs is lack of commitment and dedication, rather than lack of time, many students believe that such a ruling would not help in those cases anyway. They believe that a stricter implementation of the mid-term review with the resulting consequences being made stricter would help the cause much more.

It is clear that a resolution which clears everyone’s concerns must be sought on the matter, as it is of great significance for DD students. Seeing how many core/non-core companies consider only pre-final years for internship selections, such a rigid ruling would drastically affect DD students’ career opportunities.

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