Frequently Asked Questions




Misc

How can I meet any of the faculty members?
How can I meet any of the students?
How do I reach the CSE department?
What are the computing facilities in the department?
How do I contact the Department?
What are the employment opportunities in the Department?
What are the benefits of joining as a project staff?
Where can I obtain current openings for Project Staff?


Admissions

General

How does one obtain admission to courses at IIT Madras?

Undergraduate

What is the pattern for JEE and when is it held?
What is the intake for the B.Tech. program?
Is there an option for a B.Tech student to get converted to a dual degree student?

Postgraduate

What is the intake for M.Tech. program?
What were the previous years GATE cutoff scores for the M.Tech program?
--> Is there an interview/written test for M.Tech. program?

Research programs

What are the categories of admission for M.S./Ph.D.?
What is the difference between HTRA/HTTA and Project admission?
Is there a provision to upgrade M.S. admission to Ph.D. admission?
How does one obtain admission to the M.S/Ph.D. program?
What is the syllabus for the written test/interview?
What is the intake for MS/PhD?
When does the Department call for admissions to research programs?


Acedemics

General

What are the academic programs offered by the Department?
What facilities are available for financial assistance?
Can I get TA duty of my choice?
What are the extra-curricular activities in the department?
What the the ordinances for academic programs?
Can I do courses offered by other departments?
What are the placement statistics?
What are options for graduates of the Department after obtaining their degree?

Undergraduate

What are the courses offered?
What are the options for a B.Tech student after completing his/her degree and what is the current trend among students ?
What is the B.Tech curriculum ?

Postgraduate program

What are the highlights of the M.Tech. program?
Can I take undergraduate courses?
Can I pursue the M.Tech project work in an area of my choice?

Research programs (M.S./Ph.D.)

What are the highlights of the M.S. program?
How is an advisor alloted to a student? (MS/PhD)
What is the procedure for research programs?
What is the comphrehensive exam?
Can a research scholar go for internship?
How long does it take to get a research degree?


Research

General

What are the research areas in the Department?
What research is done in undergraduate programs?
How can I work on sponsored research projects?

M.S. program

What are the minimum requirements for M.S. program?

Ph.D. program

What are the minimum requirements for Ph.D. program?


Misc

How can I meet any of the faculty members?
You can meet any of the faculty by fixing an appointment; the best way to do this to email them. If you come without appointment, you may have to wait in vain...the faculty generally have tight schedules.

How can I meet any of the students?
Again, the best way is to email them. Most of the students have a webpage. Else, contact the CS office
here.

How do I reach the CSE department?
The CSE department is located within two interconnected buildings: the Computer Sciences Block or CSB (which includes the main CSE dept and the Computer Centre), and the second floor of the Building Sciences Block or BSB. The Department offices are located in the CSB building, whereas most of the faculty offices are in BSB.
How to reach either building depends on from which side you are coming; the best way is to ask someone in the campus for directions. Note that the entrance through the CSB block is closed after 5 PM on weekdays and throughout weekends. The BSB entrance is open 24 hours.
A map showing the location of the Department can be found
here.

What are the computing facilities in the department?
The Department is connected to the IIT network; fast ethernet and wireless connectivity are available. Almost all machines in the labs run some version of Linux. Both centralized and de-centralized computing facilities are available. Many of the labs have high end nodes for number crunching, in addition to user workstations. Many of the labs have their own mail/web servers and these are maintained by students in the lab. Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and Solaris platforms are also available.
In addition, the IIT Computer Centre has high end computing facilities accesible from within the Department.

How do I contact the Department?
Please see the
Contact page.

What are the employment opportunities in the Department?
For faculty openings, please see the
IIT Madras faculty openings page. The Institute has a standing notification for openings for the post of Assistant Professor.
The Department has several sponsored projects from a vareity of agencies, both Government and private. A qualified person can join as a Project Staff in one of the sponsored projects, and employment is provided by the Centre for Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research, IIT Madras. Please visit the Employment Opportunities page for current project openings in the Department.

What are the benefits of joining as a project staff?
Joining the Institute as a project staff gives an opportunity to work on cutting edge research projects under a faulty member. Project staff can even attend courses at the Institute. However, they are not on the rolls of the Institute and must meet the admission criteria to join as full-time students. However, project staff can join the M.S. or Ph.D. program part-time.

Where can I obtain current openings for Project Staff?
Please visit the
Employment Opportunities page.

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Admissions

General

How does one obtain admission to courses at IIT Madras?
Admission process for all the IITs is through national level entrance exams: more information can be found here:
Admission tests, Acedemic Programs

Undergraduate (B.Tech., Dual degree (1st to 4th year))

What is the pattern for JEE and when is it held?
The pattern for JEE might change every year. There is no fixed pattern. JEE is in general held in the month of April. The date for JEE will be announced in leading newspapers and the application forms are distributed around the month of December the year before.

What is the intake for the B.Tech. program?
The current intake for the B.Tech. program is 40 per year.

Is there an option for a B.Tech student to get converted to a dual degree student?
Yes, at the end of third year, a student can switch to dual degree if he or she wishes to do so. The student should have satisfied some minimum requirements for doing this.

Postgraduate (Dual degree 5th year/M.Tech.)

What is the intake for M.Tech. program?
Open category: 40, defence:5, QIP:2, sponsored: 3

Is there an interview/written test for M.Tech. program?
No. The admission to the M.Tech. program is based entirely on the GATE score.

Postgraduate Research Programs (M.S./Ph.D.)

What are the categories of admission for M.S./Ph.D.?
Broadly, there are four categories: (1) regular (HTTA/HTRA), (2) project (3) external and (4) part-time.
   A regular candidate obtains financial assistantship from the Institute. The scholar is expected to work for eight hours a week as a teaching assistant/research assistant for the Department. Note. HTTA stands for Half Time Teaching Assistantship (for M.S. scholars) and HTRA stands for Half Time Research Assistantship (for Ph.D. scholars.).
   In the project category, a scholar is paid a salary from a sponsored project through the centre for Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research, IIT Madras. The scholar is expected to work on the project and report to a faculty member (usually the scholar's advisor.)
   The external category is for employed candidates. The candidate is jointly supervised by an advisor from the faculty, and another advisor at the place of employment. The student has a minimum on-campus residential requirement period (typically for completing course work and comphrehensive examination) after which periodic visits to the Department are required. External registration is provided only to employees of organizations where suitable facilities for research are available.
   Part time scholars work under a faculty member. This type of admission is restricted to people within the vicinity of Chennai. Most of these students carry out their research work in the weekends in the Department.
Please see the
research page for more information.

What is the difference between HTRA/HTTA and Project admission?
Please see the question on categories of admission.

Is there a provision to upgrade M.S. admission to Ph.D. admission?
Yes, at the end of the fourth semester, with prior approval of the GTC, M.S. scholars can upgrade their admissions to Ph.D. Such students, on successful completion, will graduate with a Ph.D. degree from the Institute.

How does one obtain admission to the M.S/Ph.D. program?
Admission is through an entrance exam/interview conducted by the Department. IIT Madras will call for admissions for the MS/PhD programs in leading newpapers. This is also available on the IIT website. After you apply, if you are shortlisted, you will be asked to appear for a written test/interview at the Department at a specified date and time. If selected, the applicant will be asked to join the Institute on a given date.
Please see the selection criteria at the
IIT Madras admissions page.
Note. M.S. admission requires a valid GATE score. The test/interview is in addition to the GATE score. The GATE score is only to shortlist candidates who are eligible to appear in the test/interview. After that, admission depends solely on the performance in the test/interview.

What is the syllabus for the written test/interview?
The test will cover core areas of Computer Science; including data structures, algorithms, computer acrhitecture, mathematical foundations for computer science. There is no fixed pattern. Short answers, multiple choice answers, long answers, pseudocode etc. should be expected as probable questions. For more information, please visit the current
admissions page.

What is the intake for MS/PhD?
Intake varies from year to year. It is approximately 10 for M.S. and 6-8 for Ph.D.

When does the Department call for admissions to research programs?
M.S. admissions are called for twice a year: in June and in January. The information is put on the Institute website and also in leading newspapers.
Ph.D. applications are accepted throughout the year.

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Academics

General

What are the academic programs offered by the Department?
The Department offers the 4-year B.Tech. program, the 5-year Dual Degree program, 2-year M.Tech. program, and M.S. and Ph.D. programs. The Dual Degree program awards both B.Tech. and M.Tech. degrees at the end of five years. B.Tech., Dual Degree and M.Tech. are course oriented programs, whereas M.S. and Ph.D. are research programs. The programs are in Computer Science and Engineering, and has no specialization as such. Please see the
IIT Madras Academics page for more details.

What facilities are available for financial assistance?
Post graduate programs M.Tech., M.S. and Ph.D. have financial assistance from a variety of sources. These include scholarships offered by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and research grants from Department projects. Recipents of scholarships/financial aid are expected to work as teaching assistants in the Department or research associates in sponsored projects. Dual degree students are also eligible for these scholarships in their fifth year.
Facilities are available for travel grant for attending national and international conferences. See the
research page for more details.
There are other scholarships available, check the IIT Madras website here.

Can I get TA duty of my choice?
Yes. You can give your preferences to the faculty member in charge of alloting teaching assistants.

What are the extra-curricular activities in the department?
The CS club regularly organizes different sports tournaments, trips etc. Apart from that, several computer science oriented events are organized as part of Shaastra, the IIT Madras Technical festival. Also Saarang, the IIT Madras cultural festival sees active participation from the department.

What the the ordinances for academic programs?
See the IIT Madras Acedemic Ordinances website
here.

Can I do courses offered by other departments?
The student can take courses in other departments, subject to approval of the Faculty Advisor.

What are the placement statistics?
Approximately, they are as follows (in percentage):
Core companies (but more or less software development): B.Tech.:73; Dual:73; M.Tech.:74
Analytics/finance: B.Tech.:15; Dual:18; M.Tech.:3
Operations research: B.Tech.:8; Dual:98
VLSI: M.Tech.:17
Consultancy: B.Tech.:3
Networks: M.Tech.:17


What are the options for graduates of the Department after getting their degrees?
Many graduates (B.Tech.,M.Tech.,M.S.,Ph.D.) join companies like Google, Microsoft etc., where they may work as programmers, analysts, designers or researchers. Many go on for higher studies. Many students get absorbed into finance and banking companies. Another recent option is entrepreneurship and joining technology start-ups - a number of companies have been started by CSE alumni, including Midas Communications, Banyan Networks, NMSWorks Software, Solnet Technologies, Terafast and Wellspring. Other start-ups from IIT-Madras include Benchmark Electronics, Novatium Solutions, Vortex Engineering and ISoftTech.
Also see a B.Tech. specific question below.

Undergraduate (B.Tech., Dual degree(1st to 4th years))

What are the courses offered?
Please see the Department
Courses page. Students can also take courses offered in other departments.

What are the options for a B.Tech student after completing his degree and what is the current trend among students ?
A student can opt to work for a core company after his undergraduate program. These typically include but not limited to Micorsoft, Yahoo, Google, Amazon, Oracle etc. Selection procedure for any company is through campus interview. In the last two years about ?? % of our students have taken up job assignments in core companies.
Recently investment banking companies have been actively seeking students of computer science. These typically include Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, Tower Research Capital etc. In the last two years about 10% of our students have taken up assignments in investment banks.
To go abroad for an M.S. or a Ph.D is another major option. In general students of IIT stand a better chance for an admission into a good Ph.D program when compared to the rest of the crowd. In the last two years, roughly 33 % of our students have gone abroad for higher studies.
Also, several students have joined for the MBA program at IIMs or elsewhere.

What is the B.Tech curriculum ?
It evolves over the years. Every student must take a list of core courses which typically include fundamentals of computer science, digital logic, data structures and algorithms, communication systems, computer organization, automata theory, operating systems, compilers, database systems, software engineering and computer networks. Additionally a student has to take a set of departmental electives and some free electives. Besides, a student must also complete a project in his eighth semester towards the fulfillment of his degree requirements. Apart from this, a student must complete three courses in his minor area. The minor area must be different from computer science.

Postgraduate (Dual degree(5th year)/M.Tech.)

What are the highlights of the M.Tech. program?
The M.Tech. program is a two-year course oriented program (as opposed to the M.S. program, which is a research oriented program.) The student has to obtain XYZ credits by taking approximately 10 courses (4 core and 6 elective courses). The course work is spread accross the first two semesters with an option of taking one elective in the third semester. This is followed by a project in the third and fourth semester in which the student can take up a project of his or her interest, supervised by a faculty member. Many good M.Tech thesis have made their ways as papers in leading international conferences and journals. There is also a provision to upgrade the M.Tech. program to a Ph.D. program.

Can I take undergraduate courses?
No. Only post graduate courses (with course id greater than 500 or above) can be credited. But undergraduate courses can be audited (you can sit in the class and listen to the lectures.)

Can I pursue the M.Tech project work in an area of my choice?
The student can choose an area of his or her choice, subject to the consent of the Faculty Advisor. Students can collborate with other departments; again, this is subject to the consent of the Faculty Advisor.

Postgraduate Research Programs (M.S./Ph.D.)

What are the highlights of the M.S. program?
The M.S. program is a postgraduate research oriented program. The M.S. scholar works under the supervision of a faculty member. The scholar has to obtain a minimum number of credits by taking courses. The highlight of the program is the independent research work taken by scholar, leading to a dissertation at the end of the program.
Moreover, in the fourth semester, an M.S. scholar has an option to upgrade to the Ph.D. program without having to go through the admission procedure.

How is an advisor alloted to a student? (Ms/PhD)
The student can specify a preference of advisors from among the faculty. Before this, it is expected that the student has some idea of what area he or she wishes to work on, and which faculty member he or she wishes to collaborate with. Prospective students can visit faculty homepages and their respective lab webpages to learn more about their work. Once admission to the Department is confirmed, it is reccomended that the student visit the Department or at least contact prospective research advisors.
The final allotment of the advisor is decided by the Head of the Department.

What is the procedure for research programs?
An M.S. scholar will have a Genetal Test Committe (GTC) consisting of faculty members from the Institute. The GTC will meet every year for the first two years and every six months afterwards to analyse the progress made by the scholar. Typically, the scholar takes a number of courses as suggested by his or her GTC members. After the successful completion of the course work, the scholar does independent research, culminating in a dissertation which is sent to external experts for review. Based on the reviewers comments, the GTC decides if the work done is satisfactory for awarding the M.S. degree. The scholar may optionally be asked to appear for a viva-voce.
A Ph.D. scholar will have a Doctoral Committe (DC) consisting of faculty members from the Institute. The DC will meet every year for the first three years and every six months afterwards to analyse the progress made by the scholar. Typically, the scholar takes a number of courses as suggested by his or her DC members. After or during the coursework, the scholar has to take a seperate comprehensive exam conducted by the Department. The scholar has to clear the comprehensive exam in two attempts, else the registration will be cancelled. The scholar then does independent research, resulting in a dissertation which is sent to external experts for review. After incorporation the reviewers' comments, the scholar appears in a viva voce before an expert panel, to defend his or her thesis. After this thesis defence, the DC decides if the work is satisfactory for awarding the Ph.D. degree.

What is the comprehensive exam?
The comprehensive exam or qualifying exam is an examination which forms part of the Ph.D. program. The scholar has to appear and clear the exam in two attempts and within three semesters of registering for the Ph.D. program, else the registration will be cancelled. The scholar will be examined on basic computer science including algorithms and data structures, computer architecture, discrete mathematics and one elective subject of the students choice.

Can a research scholar go for internship?
Yes. M.S. and Ph.D. scholars can go for internship.

How long does it take to get a research degree?
Unlike course orineted programs, there is no fixed time for research programs. Typically, an M.S. scholar takes about three years and a Ph.D. scholar takes about four years to get their degrees.

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Research

General

What are the research areas in the Department?
The research areas in the department are broadly:
  1. Intelligent systems: artificial intelligence, statistical machine learning, natural language processing
  2. Human computer interaction: speech processing, image processing, computer vision, multimodal interfaces
  3. Data and knowledge engineering: database management systems, data mining, ontologies, symantec web
  4. Theoretical computer science: unconventional models of computation, cryptography, graph theory, automata
  5. Networks and distributed systems: wireless systems, network management systems, optical networks, sensor networks
  6. Software systems: software engineering, distributed objects, object oriented programming, compilers and programming languages design
  7. Hardware system design: software aspects of VLSI design, reconfigurable hardware design, VLSI implementations of speech and image processing algorithms
Also see the
research areas page and the research page.

What research is done in undergraduate programs?
Undergraduate students can work on research assignments as part of their mini-projects or final year projects. They can collaborate with M.S. or Ph.D. scholars for the same.

How can I work on sponsored research projects?
The Department has several sponsered research projects from agencies like Dept. of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, DRDO etc. and from private organizations. A research scholar (M.S./Ph.D.) has an option of obtaining admission under the project category, after which the scholar's financial assistantship comes from the project grant. In such cases, the advisor of the scholar is (usually) the faculty member in charge of the project.

M.S. program

What are the minimum requirements for M.S. program?
Please see the IIT Madras admissions page
here.

Ph.D. program

What are the minimum requirements for Ph.D. program?
Please see the IIT Madras admissions page
here.

Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600036
Phone: +91-44-22574350 Fax: +91-44- 22574352 email: csoffice@iitm.ac.in