IIT Delhi to admit international PhD students from May 2019

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From this May, IIT Delhi will start admitting international students, including students of Indian origin, for PhD programme in 28 academic departments/units. Five hundred PhD fellowships will be provided over the next five years. Selected students will be charged the same fees as Indian PhD students and will be provided the same monthly fellowship as Indian fellows.

IIT Delhi has launched an International PhD fellowship programme (IPFP) for foreign students. Under this programme, 500 PhD fellowships will be provided to international students over the next five years. Students of Indian origin are also eligible to apply under this scheme. Students can apply for PhD programme in 28 academic departments/units at the institute. IIT Delhi’s decision to start admitting international PhD students comes following recognition as an Institute of Eminence.

Selected students will be charged the same fees as Indian PhD students and will be provided the same monthly fellowship as Indian research fellows (Rs.31,000 per month for junior research fellows and Rs.35,000 per month for senior research fellows).

Admission will be based on GRE and TOEFL scores, GATE score, reference letters and interview. International students can start applying for the IPFP programme right away. Admissions to the PhD programme are held twice a year, in May and December. To start with, IIT Delhi is hoping to attract top talent at least from neighbouring countries.

“Scholarships [to international students] will be paid by IIT Delhi from its own funds. We have money coming from multiple sources. We have sponsored research worth Rs.500 crores. We will earmark some money from Rs.200 crores that we will get each year as an Institute of Eminence,” said Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao, director of IIT Delhi. “PhD students at all top U.S. universities are always funded. We are following the same practice.”

He is confident of admitting 500 international students in three-four years. “Currently just 1% of 10,000 students at IIT Delhi are international students. We want to take it up to 10%,” he says. The number of international PhD students admitted will not be at the expense of Indian students. “Last year, about 10,000 students applied for the PhD programme but we admitted only 400 students, though we could have admitted 800. It is not due to lack of positions but due to lack of quality students,” Prof. Rao says. “Rigorous selection procedure will be in place for international students, as well.”

One of the reasons for coming up with this programme is to improve its position in the world university ranking. “International ranking takes into account the number of foreign students, foreign faculty and faculty student ratio. On all these three counts IIT Delhi has been scoring a zero,” says Prof. Rao.

As an Institute of Eminence, IIT Delhi can now recruit foreign nationals for faculty positions. Already five foreign nationals have been recruited as faculty on contract for five years, extendable based on performance. Nearly 30% faculty positions are vacant at IIT Delhi. “Our bar for faculty recruitment is high. So we are not able to find suitable candidates. We would rather leave the positions vacant than fill them with sub-standard faculty,” he stresses.

About charging the same fees from international students, Prof. Rao sees the situation to a start-up offering deep discounts despite making a loss in order to build and expand its customer base. “Once IIT Delhi becomes a favourable destination our hope is more international students will apply and then we can increase the fees,” he says.