A14,North Campus, IIT Mandi    +91-01905-267719    shssoffice@iitmandi.ac.in   

About US

Rationale of SHSS

... Ever since the IITs were set up in the 1950s, Liberal Arts (known in the IITs as Humanities and Social Sciences or HSS) was regarded as being integral and fundamental to the training of Indian engineers. This is why IIT Kharagpur, the first IIT, had an HSS department from 1951 onwards. The assumption then, as articulated by Prime Minister Nehru, and very valid today, was that engineers perform their tasks embedded in human society. Exposure to Philosophy, Literature, Psychology and other HSS disciplines inculcates a broad and in-depth understanding of the human condition that goes beyond any instrumental use of knowledge.
Driven by this spirit the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) at Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (IIT Mandi) has carved a niche for itself through its academic and research activities in disciplines ranging from Economics to English Literature, World Literature, German, Sociology, History, Himalayan Studies, Development Studies and allied areas. We believe that understanding past development processes and ensuring future development require an in-depth knowledge of how society works – its economic, social, political, environmental, technological and cultural aspects. The academic endeavour of the School thus focuses on critical thinking and rational enquiry into complex disciplinary and interdisciplinary problems of the human society around these areas. We have a thriving academic atmosphere, with thirteen faculty members, over forty Ph.D. scholars and batches of postgraduate students working here. We offer a wide range of courses of practical relevance and humanistic value at postgraduate and undergraduate levels. Currently, we host an MA programme in Development Studies (since 2018) and a Ph.D. program. HSS programs benefit from the symbiotic interaction with other engineering streams and the basic sciences to explore the interdisciplinary nature of a problem. The undergraduate and postgraduate courses run by the School are moreover designed to intrigue the humanitarian and societal concerns associated with development pathways. We also have plans to expand further through incorporating new degree programmes at the bachelor’s and postgraduate levels.
The School also spearheads the Interactive Socio-Technical Practicum (ISTP) for the undergraduate students that aims to explore the various issues/problems of society, propose technology-based solutions for these, and evaluate the proposed solutions from social, technical, economic, environmental and other aspects. The unique location of the institute has also inspired a number of courses and research at the School that are particularly focused on the Himalayan region. We have various research and other academic collaborations within and outside India to encourage quality research and academic output at a national and global scale. We have a thriving academic atmosphere, flourishing every year with new additions to our expertise.

History of SHSS at IIT Mandi

... At IIT Mandi, SHSS was created in 2009, when the Institute was established. In this and other IITs the HSS departments are much more than mere 'service' Schools. They have an identity of their own, with their own Masters and Doctoral programmes, in addition to providing exposure to and training BTech students in HSS disciplines. BTech students at IIT Mandi need to credit about 10% of their overall programme credits in the form of HSS courses. They can fulfill their own HSS course requirement as per their interests based on a wide spectrum of offerings. For instance, several BTech students opt for a Management or German minor by completing the requisite number of courses. HSS faculty at IIT Mandi have found that student interest in HSS courses is generally very high as they are able to link these courses with their lived reality, and pursue subjects or themes they may not have been encouraged to study during their school years.
At IIT Mandi we have been offering a Masters in Development Studies (MA-DS) since 2018-19, and over the years we have received a large number of applications. We have further leveraged our location within the IIT setup by offering our MA students courses in collaboration with Science and Engineering faculty members. There is no disciplinary entry barrier to our M.A. Development Studies programme, and we have had several BTech degree holders from other institutes as part of our MA cohort over the years. Graduates of this programme have gone on to join NGOs and think-tanks, and some have opted for doctoral studies as well. Class-room interaction and peer learning are thus enriched by the diversity of our intake in the MA Development Studies programme.
For non-BTech students who wish to pursue humanities and social sciences, the IITs are a great choice for several reasons: availability of financial support, cutting-edge infrastructural facilities, and prominent faculty members in their areas of expertise. Most importantly they get exposure to a variety of HSS disciplines within one School rather than being confined to a narrow department. Presenting one's work to a mixed audience, taking into account multiple perspectives, and having the opportunity to research and collaborate across disciplines – these are some of the many additional advantages.