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How Long to a Degree

Some universities in India are being told to change their undergraduate science programs, to shorten them from four years to three, as part of an effort to follow national guidelines, Nature News reports.

Many Indian universities have three-year programs based on the undergraduate system in the UK, though some, notably the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, have switched to four-year programs. IISc, along with the Indian National Science Academy in Delhi and the National Academy of Sciences in Allahabad wrote a position paper in 2008 recommending four-year programs, citing some deficits in undergraduate science education in India.

The new minister for Human Resource Development, Smriti Irani, has told IISc that it has to shorten its four-year courses, Nature News says. Delhi University has also been told to get rid of its four-year programs.

"Such moves could turn the brightest students of India away from a science career; and threaten innovation in higher education, which is in bad need of an overhaul," says Vishwesa Guttal, assistant professor at IISc, tells Nature News.

IISc, Nature News adds, is working on a compromise to allow it to offer both a three-year Bachelor of Science degree and a four-year Bachelor of Science (research) degree.