Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani

Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) is a private not-for-profit institute of higher education and research in India. It is a deemed university under Section 3 of the UGC Act 1956.[11] The institute is one of the first six institutes to be awarded the Institute of Eminence status in 2018.[12][13] After expansion to a campus in Dubai, it has become the first international deemed university, spearheading in science, engineering and research with 4 established campuses and 15 academic departments. It focuses primarily on higher education in engineering and sciences and on its management programme.[14] Its history, influence, wealth and endowments have made it one of India's most prestigious universities.[15][16][17]

Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani
Mottojñānaṁ paramaṁ balam (Sanskrit)
Motto in English
Knowledge is Supreme Power
TypePrivate (Deemed university)
Established1964 [1]
ChancellorKumar Mangalam Birla
Vice-ChancellorProf. Souvik Bhattacharyya[2]
DirectorProf. Ashoke Kumar Sarkar[3]
Students13,535 (2019) (all campus)[4]
333031 [5]
Campus1,320 acres (5.3 km2)
AffiliationsACU,[6] UGC[7] NAAC,[8] PCI,[9] AIU[10]

The institute was established in its present form in 1964. During this period, the institute's transformation from a regional engineering college to a national university was backed by G.D. Birla. Since then, it is considered to be in the league of old IITs for science and engineering and has expanded its campuses from Pilani to Goa, Hyderabad and Dubai. BITS alumni have continued to strongly shape the Indian economy and culture. Through its highly successful and widespread alumni network spanning globally across varied fields, BITS Pilani has made a significant impact on corporates, academia, research, entrepreneurship, arts and social activism.[18][19]

BITS conducts the All-India computerized entrance examination, BITSAT (BITS Admission Test).[20][21] Admission is purely merit-based, as assessed by the BITSAT examination.[22][23] The fully residential institute is privately supported.[24]



The Birla Education Trust was founded in 1929; the intermediate college became a degree college and later offered postgraduate courses. The masters programme in electronics began in 1955.[25]

Reacting to early criticism about the project, contemporary advisor Thomas Drew said:

In my judgment to attempt to develop an American institution in India would be like trying to graft apples on a pine tree. We have not been asked to make such an attempt. We were asked to help devise in India an Indian technological school to produce graduates with the know-how to produce knowledge pertinent for India…. In many respects they consider us immature, rude, hypocritical barbarians who in certain respects happened to hit it lucky. To be viable in India an institution must be framed with Indian values in mind.[26]

BITS Pilani became a deemed university established under Section 3 of the UGC Act, 1956 by notification No. F.12-23/63.U-2 of 18 June 1964.[27]

In 1964, the Birla Colleges of Humanities, Commerce, Engineering, Pharmacy and Science were merged to form the Birla Institute of Technology & Science. The board provided direction in developing a curriculum, selecting equipment, upgrading the library and recruiting (and training) an Indian faculty. To quicken the pace of reform he convinced C. R. Mitra to be the new director of the institute. Mitra advocated a "practice school" internship program as a requirement for faculty and students. The Practice School Program is still a requirement for students in BITS.

According to Robert Kargon and Stuart Leslie:

BITS offered an opportunity to build a leading technological university in India responsive to India's goals, to produce practising engineers who will be in a position to graduate and to build industries in India, under Indian conditions. With its emphasis on the Practice School and ties to Indian industry, it helped educate Indian industrialists along with Indian engineers who would remain in India, in contrast to many other engineering colleges in India, most of whose graduates would leave the country after obtaining their basic engineering education. The Ford Foundation Evaluators...proudly noted that the Indian government, despite having given no direct financial support, was looking to BITS to provide a model for future development in education in engineering and science in India.[26]

The acceptance rate of BITS Pilani is 1.47% based on the data of BITSAT 2012.[28]

Like Berkeley, BITS Pilani has also experienced student activism. BITS Pilani had to be shut down multiple times because of student strikes during 1973, 1980, and 1985.[29][30].

Multi-campus expansion

Campuses Within India: Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad

In 1999, enrollment expanded from 2,500 to 4,000[31] and campuses were founded in Dubai (2000) and Goa (2004). In 2006, BITS Pilani acquired 200 acres (81 ha) of land from the Andhra Pradesh government through the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority for a new campus. The land is located in Jawaharnagar, Shameerpet Mandal in the Rangareddy district.[32] The BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus opened in 2008; the school also has a virtual university[33] and an extension center in Bangalore.[34]

Chancellor and academic head

BITS Pilani has a tradition of long-serving chancellors and vice-chancellors. Its founder, G.D. Birla, was chancellor from the college's inception until his death in 1983.[31] He was followed by his son, Krishna Kumar Birla, who was chancellor until his death in 2008.[35] Currently, Kumar Mangalam Birla is chancellor and Shobhana Bhartia is pro-chancellor.[36]

The first academic head of the institution was J. C. Stracliff (Principal) and V. Lakshminarayanan (Vice-Principal) for a period of 3 years during 1946–1949.[37] V. Lakshminarayan became Principal of Birla Engineering College in 1949 (served from 1946 to 1963 in Birla Engineering College), then becoming the first Director of BITS-Pilani in 1964 when it was formed and served till 1969.[38] He was succeeded by BITS directors C.R. Mitra (1969–1989)[39] and S. Venkateswaran (1989–2006). "director" denoted the head of a campus.

Under Prof S. Venkateswaran's leadership, the University grew significantly. He was instrumental in expanding BITS, Pilani to establish the other 3 campuses in Goa, Dubai and Hyderabad. With the advent of multiple campuses, the overall head was known as "vice-chancellor"; As a result, Dr. Venkateswaran became the first Vice Chancellor leading all campuses in 2001.

After his retirement, Prof. L.K. Maheshwari became the second Vice Chancellor in 2006 and kept office till 2010 when he was succeeded by Prof. Bijendra Nath Jain who held office till 2015. The director of BITS Pilani, Hyderabad campus, Prof. VS Rao took over in August 2015 as the 'Acting Vice chancellor' while the search was on for a suitable candidate to hold the top post in BITS Pilani. In April 2016, Chancellor Kumar Mangalam Birla announced that Prof. Souvik Bhattacharya of IIT Kharagpur / Jadavpur University was selected to take over as the new Vice chancellor of BITS Pilani. He is stated to take over in June 2016 to become the 6th academic head of the institute.[40]


Pilani, Goa and Hyderabad campuses

Before 2005, admissions were based on the candidates' score in the qualifying examination.[41] BITS had been moderating marks from various school boards since 1982.

Since 2005, admission to BITS has been offered on the basis of the student's performance in the all-India entrance examination, the BITS Admission Test (BITSAT). For foreign students, BITS has a separate admission scheme called International Student Admissions (ISA) category. To gauge the merit of these ISA students, BITS accepts the SAT and SAT Subject Tests in chemistry, physics, and Math 2C.[42] BITSAT, for which applications are submitted in December, is conducted online in May and June in cities all over India. The exam tests the candidate's knowledge, reasoning and analytical abilities in physics, chemistry, mathematics, English and logical reasoning, and is based on higher secondary curricula in India and abroad. A 2012 news report showed that BITSAT had become more competitive than the IIT-JEE, in terms of the ratio of the number of aspirants to the number of seats available.[41]

Dubai campus

Admission to Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani – Dubai Campus is solely based on scores in the 12th standard qualifying exam. Although the BITS Pilani-Dubai campus was established for the educational requirements of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, admission is open to students of all nationalities.[43]


Pilani campus

Pilani is located 220 kilometres (140 mi) west of Delhi and 217 kilometres (135 mi) north of Jaipur; the BITS campus is south of the bus stand. The area of the campus (which includes the Birla Education Trust) is over 990 acres (400 ha); its developed area is 49 acres (20 ha), of which 60,769 square metres (15.016 acres) is used for the BITS building.[44] The campus has 11,245 square metres (121,040 sq ft) of classrooms and 7,069 square metres (76,090 sq ft) of laboratories.

BITS has a Birla Mandir dedicated to the goddess Saraswati, Sharda Peeth, built by G. D. Birla. The white marble temple is built on a 7-foot (2.1 m)-high foundation, with 70 pillars for support. It covers an area of 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2).[45] The Pilani campus has India's first technological museum, the Birla Museum. Built in 1954, it showcases technological achievements.[46][47] BITS has a 2,535-square-metre (27,290 sq ft) auditorium decorated with paintings by students from the department of art and decoration.[44]

Residential and dining facilities

The institute has fourteen hostels in total. Each hostel is referred as a "Bhawan", the Hindi word for hostel. Thirteen of them – Krishna Bhawan, Vishwakarma Bhawan, Rana Pratap Bhawan, Bhagirath Bhawan, Ashok Bhawan, Gandhi Bhawan, Shankar Bhawan, Vyas Bhawan, Budh Bhawan, Ram Bhawan, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Bhawan, CV Raman Bhavan and Srinivasa Ramanujan Bhawan are for male students. There is a single hostel for female students called Meera Bhawan. The institute also has one more hostel for parents and guests[48] The hostels are named after saints, scientists, and historical and religious figures.

Every two hostels share a mess hall except Meera Bhawan and Sir C V RAMAN Bhawan which have their own mess halls. All dining areas are student-managed.[49] Students may also eat at a "Redi" (a small canteen near every hostel), Institute Canteen (IC), the All-Night Canteen (ANC) and the Student Activity Centre (SAC) cafeteria (Food King), LOOTERS . The ANC is also student-managed.[50] more over there is a small area inside campus called "Connaught" which has many restaurants, cafes, etc.[51] and has shops for general daily needs as well.

Vision 2020, Mission 2012

In 2010 the institute launched a renewal project, "Vision 2020, Mission 2012,"[52] to identify and implement measures establishing BITS Pilani as one of India's top three research-led universities by 2015 and among the leading 25 technical universities in Asia by 2020. As a part of this initiative, Kumar Mangalam Birla visited the Pilani campus on 13 November 2011 with pro-chancellor Shobhana Bhartia and other members of the board of governors. At this meeting, Birla announced a Rs. 600 crore fund for renovation and construction of new academic buildings and student hostels on the Pilani campus. The project was planned for completion in 2014.[53]

Goa campus

Hyderabad campus

Dubai campus

Student life

The Students' Union is the elected administrative body for the students. Elections are supervised by a student commission. The student-run Corroboration and Review Committee handles financial transactions for the Students' Union. The Governing Council of the Society for Student Mess Services manages dining matters.


BITS Model United Nations Conference (BITSMUN) is one of the largest MUN conferences in the country. Organized annually in Pilani, BITSMUN attracts experienced and first time MUN participants from colleges and schools all over the globe. The conference was founded in 2007 as a grassroots project aimed at introducing Model UN to students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to participate in this experience. It has in the current past been expanding to an increasing number of colleges and schools from all parts of the world to encourage greater participation in an activity that brings together knowledge in international relations and interpersonal skills.[54]


BOSM (BITS-Pilani Open Sports Meet) is the annual sports competition at the Pilani campus. BITS-Pilani invites colleges throughout India to participate in events including carrom board, hockey, cricket, basketball, football, volleyball, track and field, badminton, tennis, table tennis, squash and weightlifting. Since its 2010 Silver Jubilee (25th) anniversary, BOSM has invited a team from Moratuwa University in Sri Lanka.[55]


APOGEE (A Professions Oriented Gathering over Educational Experiences) is an international annual technical festival at the Pilani campus.[56] Since its inception in 1983, APOGEE has hosted students and researchers from across the country. The guest lecture series of the fest, Think Again Conclave has received eminent speakers in the past which include A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Richard Stallman, Jimmy Wales, Kailash Satyarthi, Walter Lewin and A. S. Kiran Kumar.[57] Other events include the Paper Presentation Event, which is one of the oldest research paper presentation platforms in the country, and Project Presentation, which exhibits over 550 projects in various fields of science and engineering.


BITS Spark programme was launched in 2012. The programme promotes entrepreneurship courses and workshops, offers mentorship, and provides angel funds.[58]


The institute has a three-tier academic structure.

First degrees

BITS Pilani offers four-year integrated first-degree programs (so called because several courses, involving mathematics and science, are common to each degree) in engineering, technology and pharmacy, and integrated Master of Science programs in science and technology.[59]

Advanced degrees

BITS Pilani offers master's degrees in engineering, pharmacy, public health and business administration.[60]

Off-campus programs

BITS Pilani offers off-campus programs in which students receive work experience in industry. Enrollment has increased from 30 in 1979 to over 10,000 in 2005. More than 19,500 students were registered in off-campus work-integrated learning programs in 2008–09.[61]

International projects

BITS Pilani is a partner in developing the JournalServer[62] open-access digital library, Project IPV6[63] and the MIT iCampus[64] initiative.


University and college rankings
General – international
QS (World) (2020)[65]801–1000
QS (BRICS) (2019)[66]96
QS (Asia) (2019)[67]180
Times (World) (2020)[68]1001+
Times (Emerging) (2019)[69]301–350
Times (Asia) (2019)[70]251–300
General – India
NIRF (Overall) (2019)[71]39
NIRF (Universities) (2019)[72]23
Engineering – India
NIRF (2019)[73]25
Outlook India (2019)[74]6
The Week (2019)[75]7
Private colleges:
India Today (2019)[76]1
Business/Management – India
Outlook India (2018)[77]19
Pharmacy – India
NIRF (2019)[78]5

Internationally, BITS Pilani was ranked 801–1000 in the QS World University Rankings for 2020.[65] The same rankings ranked it 180 in Asia[67] and 96 among BRICS nations in 2019.[66] It was ranked in 401-500 for Life Sciences and 1001+ overall in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2020,[68] 251–300 in Asia[70] and 301–350 among Emerging Economies in 2019.[69]

In India, BITS Pilani was ranked 39 overall in 2019 by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF),[71] 23 among universities,[72] 25 in the engineering ranking[73] and 5 in India in the pharmacy ranking.[78] It was ranked first among private engineering colleges by India Today ,[76] sixth among engineering colleges by Outlook India[74] and seventh among engineering colleges by The Week in 2019.[75]

The Department of Management was ranked 19 among management schools in India by Outlook India's "Top 100 B-Schools in India" of 2018.[77]


The BITS Alumni Association is an international organisation with chapters throughout the world, connecting alumni in networking, social events and fundraising.[79]

See also


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