The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras is a prominent academic department that offers a wide range of programs in humanities and social sciences— delving into fields that include but are not limited to economics, politics, history, literature, foreign languages, linguistics, and psychology. The Department used to offer a five-year Integrated MA programme in Development Studies and English Studies, which has now been replaced by a 2-year MA programme. The Department offers 2-year M.A. programs in Development Studies, Economics and English Studies besides having a robust PhD program and myriads of elective courses drawn from the various domains of humanities and social sciences. Students from engineering branches and the department’s masters’ students also have the option of obtaining credits in minor streams that empower them with economic and socio-cultural perspectives—capacities that enrich their lives and careers in immeasurable ways.
Each stream of the MA programme aims to give students a strong theoretical foundation as well as the marketability they need to succeed in jobs in academia, publishing, policy, governance, and corporate consulting. The faculty, having wide-ranging and versatile subject expertise, has created a programme that upholds the standards IIT Madras has set over the years by utilising their extensive experience and research. Only GATE qualified candidates will be eligible for admission to this 2-year program. The students are required to complete a minimum of 200 credits to be eligible for the M.A. degree. Each stream will have 25 seats for Indian students; seats for foreign students will be supernumerary. The students of each stream will have the option of upgrading to the PhD program as per the Institute guidelines.
The department of Humanities and Social Sciences has scholars who pursue research activities in multiple fields including Language testing, Gandhian philosophy, Migration, Public Finance, Development Studies, Alternative education, Film Studies, Environmental evaluation, Sociopragmatics, Dalit and Minority education, European and Chinese studies, Speech and Communication, Ecocriticism, Deep Ecology, Health Economics, Diaspora and Cultural studies, African/American/English/Indian Literature, Discourse Analysis, ELT, Economics & Econometrics, German Studies, Health Care, Modern Indian History, History of Science, Technology and Medicine, International Relations, Linguistics, Philosophy, Policy Studies, Science, Sociology, Theatre, Film and Media Studies, Technology and Development, and Science and Technology Education. The scholars may pursue research outside their specific disciplines and being in the interstices of a technological institute, engage in scientific dialogue as well. Scholars from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences have achieved fellowships such as Erasmus Mundus and Fulbright Fellowship to pursue their research interests in international universities. The faculty and the scholars engage in lecture series, conferences and weekly discussion forums which help expand the scope of study beyond their specific domains. The research community has a lot of publications to its name - and organizes regular seminars, department conferences and academic summits.
The Department is a strong representation of the interdisciplinary nature of social and scientific studies. Students from engineering backgrounds have a set of credits to be acquired through HS electives. The list of B.Tech electives being offered by the department is very diverse and only gets longer as years progress.
The Department has a dedicated placement team as well which helps students procure internships and placement opportunities in various sectors such as corporate consultancy, publishing, public policy, governance, academia and more.
Besides the academic brilliance, the department has many cultural and sports activities of their own—tournaments in football, chess, frisbee, cricket etc.—, the department Ethnic Day, Dead Poets’ Society and many other cultural gatherings. Being a small department compared to the others, there is an air of warm bonding and exchange among batches and an inherent solidarity.
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