The Grey Chronicles


Engineering Education in India, Part III

Attempting to understand the intricacies of becoming an engineer in India, this is the third part of the preceding posts on the Engineering Education in India in reply to a comment regarding The Mis-education of Filipino Engineers. This post, using the vast Internet resources, particularly discusses engineering education in India, specifically the engineering curriculum.

Engineering Curriculum in India

The All India Council for Technical Education [AICTE] (2001) issued Model Curricula for various disciplines leading to Bachelor of Engineering [B.E.] or Technology [B.Tech]. Prof. N.C. Nigam, Chairman of AICTE writing its Preface states:

The dynamic and flexible curriculum is a balance of “core, specialized and elective subjects and suitable integration of meaningful practical and field exercises and challenging project activity . . to provide students with relevant professional knowledge, develop the capacity to tackle unknown engineering problems and help them acquire sound professional ethics and an awareness of their obligations to society.”

The AICTE (2005) also specified the subject materials to be included in a four-year degree program in engineering need to be sub-divided as below: General 5-10% consisting of Language/Communication skills; Humanities and Social Sciences; Economics and Principles of Management; and NSS, NCC, NSO, Rural Development. Basic Science 15-25% emphasis on Computer Literacy with Numerical Analysis, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry although institutions may strengthen their curricula with common additional courses required by them as per their need to make up a maximum to 25% of the contact time available. Engineering Sciences and Technical Arts 15-25% with a minimum of one course in each of the areas as Engineering graphics, Workshop Practice, Engineering Mechanics, Electrical Science I (Basic Electrical Engineering), Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer, Material Science and Engineering and Electrical Science II (Electronics and Instrumentation). It is also suggested that courses like (1) Engineering Systems Design (2) Building Materials (3) Surveying (4) Transport Phenomena may also form a part of this core curriculum. Professional subjects 55-65% consisting of a minimum number of core courses for each engineering discipline, while the rest of the courses will cover professional subjects as per list suggested by experts, in line with the academic regulations of the institution. About 10% Electives should be made available to the students. In Electrical Engineering for example, electives are: Hih-Voltage Engineering, HVDC transmission, Electrical Traction, Project Management, Flexible AC Transmission Systems, Illumination Engineering, Robotics, or Reliability Engineering.

The duration of a degree level course is limited to four years (8 semesters) of about 90 working days each. A common first year syllabus adopted for all branches of engineering emphasized on 15-20% non-professional (Humanities and Basic Sciences), and 10% Management subjects. The curricula also suggested a continuous evaluation system such as Teachers Assessment [TA], Class Tests [CT] and End Semester Examination [ESE]. The TA includes assignments, quizzes, attendance, group discussions, tutorial, etc. The CT consists of at least two or three tests. While the ESE is conducted Institute-wide (AICTE 2001).

A letter grade is awarded, such as A = 10, B = 8, C = 6, D = 4, F= 0. Courses are broken down into Lectures, Tutorials and Practicals [Practicum]. Lectures and Tutorials use references mostly by Indian authors, although for new engineering developments, some references are from British and American authors. The Practicals are the equivalent of Laboratory work.

Becoming an Engineer in India

To become an engineer in India, after completing the four-year engineering education, one has to take a series of Engineering civil service examinations: the General Ability Tests and the Engineering Papers. The General Ability Tests consists of two pars: one in General English and the other in General Studies. The latter include testing the “knowledge of current events and of such matters as of everyday observation and experience in their scientific aspects as may be expected of an educated person. The paper will also include questions on History of India and Geography of a nature which candidates should be able to answer without special study.”

The Engineering Papers include the Preliminary and the Main examinations. The Preliminary, a sample is published for 2005 by Civil Service, show that it is taken for two hours, 120 questions with four multiple answers. The Main Examinations, a sample is also published for 2005 by Civil Service, is a three-hour long examination of two papers consisting of two sections each. Examinees are required to answer two (2) compulsory questions and any three of the remaining questions from each Section. Most Civil Service examinations can be taken a maximum of 4 attempts permitted to every candidate.

After completing a certified degree program the engineer must satisfy a range of requirements (including work experience requirements) before being certified. Once certified the engineer is designated the title of Chartered Engineer.


The engineering curriculum in India is almost similar to that of the Philippines. The only difference, aside from a shorter duration, is that while Indian universities rely much more on Indian authors are textbook or references, in the Philippines most of these are usually American or foreign-authored books. To become an Engineer in India, after completing the four-year required education, the candidate takes a Civil Service examinations. Nowhere among the referenced sites illustrate what becomes of the unsuccessful examinee after his fourth try.


All India Council for Technical Education [AICTE] (2005). Engineering & Technology (Degree Programme). New Delhi: All India Council for Technical Education, 2005. back to text

All India Council for Technical Education [AICTE] (2001). Model Curriculum for Undergraduate Program B.E./B.Tech in Electrical Engineering New Delhi: All India Council for Technical Education, July 2001. back to text

Disclaimer: The posts on this site does not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; and unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.



  1. Great post dude. Please post more of this kind of posts.. //IndiaRock

    Comment by IndianIdiots — 2010.February.3 @ 17:36 | Reply

  2. I have hardly ever known a mathematician who was capable of reasoning.
    Quotation of Plato

    Comment by vigrx — 2009.December.8 @ 18:14 | Reply

  3. Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday. This is a great story. Thanks!

    Comment by Extenze — 2009.August.3 @ 16:47 | Reply

  4. The best information i have found exactly here. Keep going Thank you

    Comment by LnddMiles — 2009.July.21 @ 17:18 | Reply

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