About the University
Located in the Vidya Vihar campus adjacent to the town of Pilani in Rajasthan, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) is one of the most prestigious private universities in the country. They get nearly 2 lakhs applications from the students every year for their undergraduate programs from all over the country. It stands as a testament to the quality of the education that the University has been providing over the years. The University symbolizes the maturing of Indian competency in technical education and "can-do" entrepreneurial spirit. To ensure complete transparency in student intake in the undergraduate courses they have instituted BITSAT, a fully online exam. BITSAT tests students on their aptitude for Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry along with a section on English and Logical reasoning, thus becoming a complete analysis of a candidate's intelligence and capability.
Colleges to University
The Institute is a dream come true of its founder late G.D.Birla - an eminent industrialist, a participant in Indian freedom struggle and a close associate of the Mahatma Gandhi. It started in early 1900s as a small school, blossomed into a set of colleges for higher education, ranging from the Humanities to Engineering until 1964 when all these colleges amalgamated to culminate into a unique Indian University of International standing. Benefiting from the Ford Foundation Grant, the University was developed in association with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA. This led to the adoption of many practices common amongst western colleges and they are one of the few institutes in India that achieved deemed University status. In 2000, BITS opened a branch in Dubai making it the first Indian University with an overseas campus and further started campuses in Goa and Hyderabad in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
Focusing on Research Activities
The University has embarked on an ambitious growth and infrastructure elevation plan under the stewardship of it Chancellor, Dr. Kumar Mangalam Birla to become a research focused university. It actively promotes research among its staff and students, as it is one of their major focuses. In addition to basic research, which is the backbone of any applied research, the Institute also gives adequate importance and support to applied research. Research at BITS relies on the motivated intellectual manpower pool available among its staff and students. Students undertake research projects as a component of their education program itself and teachers conduct research as an integral part of their responsibilities. This enables them to assimilate and disseminate the knowledge as well as generate new knowledge. In addition to this, they have devised innovative schemes to enable professionals-at-large to conduct research at their place of work and simultaneously work for their PhD degrees. The management has given good support for the faculty to participate in national and international conferences and thereby network with experts from India and abroad.
Recently, the University has taken steps to provide support to faculty to file for patents if the research is likely to fructify in a commercially viable products or processes. During the last 5 years, BITS has seen a healthy growth in the amount of funding received from different agencies. While most of these are from the government sector, the Institute through its existing collaboration with industries is trying to involve the corporate sector in funding of research projects.
To facilitate entrepreneurship, BITS reviewed its curriculum so that it be updated in order the students will become better engineers and entrepreneurs. In 2010-11, a massive exercise across all the campuses was conducted where each department was asked to view the top three-degree program's curriculum in their field. After thorough examination and planning, BITS decided to bring on the best of the curriculum but still keep some of the features of their existing curriculum that have been time tested. A lot of hands-on learning components like assignments, group work and lab exercises are provided apart from the classroom teaching which may vary from 20 to 50 percent depending on the course. The students in the 3rd or 4th year have to take up projects under the supervision of a faculty, which allows them to apply the knowledge they have acquired and make something that actually works. This makes them more practical in their approach. The Practice School Program is a unique program where all the students are required to work in the industry for 7 to 8 months. More than 1000 students under the supervision of the different faculty members and experts from the companies are a part of this program. They get an opportunity to learn "what it is to work on the products" or "services that their respective companies offer." The University prides itself on the program as it has been hugely successful and over 250 companies are involved in it at any point of time.
Prof. R. K. Mittal - Director, Special Projects
He has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses for last 39 years, has guided several M.E. dissertations and is currently guiding four PhD students in Robotics and Software Engineering. Until recently, Prof. Mittal was Director of BITS Pilani, Dubai Campus.