Empty MTech: Engineering colleges offer scholarships, reduce fees, change syllabus to draw students

Record low MTech enrolments is a ‘serious concern’ for the AICTE. Some engineering colleges have taken steps to fill seats.

Engineering colleges offer MTech scholarships, reduce fees,  change syllabus to draw students to MTech courses. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)Engineering colleges offer MTech scholarships, reduce fees, change syllabus to draw students to MTech courses. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Shradha Chettri | April 17, 2024 | 11:07 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Reducing fees, providing scholarships, enhancing the curriculum to align with industry needs and standards, strengthening engagement with alumni and teaching innovations are among the measures engineering colleges across the country are taking to enhance enrolment in Masters of Technology (MTech) courses.

The MTech courses saw an enrolment rate of 33% in the 2022-23 academic year, lowest in several years. That dismal figure is in stark contrast to the 81% enrolment at the undergraduate level (BTech) level. This is a “serious concern” for the technical education regulatory body All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) as well.

Rajive Kumar, member secretary, AICTE, told Careers360: “This is an area which we are also concerned about. MTech enrolment is decreasing even at Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and National Institutes of Technology (NIT). We provide scholarships of Rs 12,700 per month and till January 31, only about 4,500 students or so had registered. Earlier, the number used to be around 9,000 to 10,000.”

Interestingly, alongside this national trend, there are states like Bihar and West Bengal where enrolment in the courses seem to be rising.

Falling number of MTech students

There had been a slight increase in MTech enrolment in 2020-21, where the filled seats percentage was 42%. The numbers have been dropping ever since and along with them, the seats intake.

Interestingly, women constitute 37.06% of MTech students as against 30.06% at the BTech level. In Kerala, women pursuing masters courses accounted for 63.87% of the total strength, close to double the number of men. At 15.97%, Bihar had the lowest number of women enrolled.

Low MTech enrolment


Seats filled (In %)*




Andhra Pradesh








Madhya Pradesh








Tamil Nadu








*States with seat intake over 10,000.

In Andhra Pradesh, institutes have not been getting enough students and the intake has been falling continuously. While in 2017-18 the intake was 27,028, the number fell to 17,427 in 2022-23. It was after 2018-19 that enrolment began to drop.

Interestingly in Madhya Pradesh, even though enrolment showed no substantial increase, the intake increased marginally from 9,361 in 2021-22 to 9,649 in 2022-23. Though not in large numbers like in the southern states, MTech intake in Himachal Pradesh witnessed a massive drop, from 540 in 2017-18 to just 150 in 2022-23. The enrollment remained very low, with just 17% seats filled.

A professor at NIT Uttarakhand, on conditions of anonymity, explained: “This decreasing trend is everywhere, clearly visible in the falling applications in centralised counselling for masters courses (CCMT).

It is simply demand and supply. Supply is more as the number of institutions is more, but we have not been able to build on the infrastructure in terms of providing research labs and faculty strength and students' level has degraded. Employability chances are getting reduced. Why will companies hire masters' students when they can hire BTech students in a much lesser salary bracket? They will be put on training for six months and get the same output as masters’ students.”

The decreasing quality of master students is also attributed to the flexibility provided by private institutions in terms of attendance and also MTech admission of sponsored students, many of whom have not qualified the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE).

“When there is a division among students, there is a challenge in the academic environment as well. About 50% of students who have qualified GATE are brilliant as compared to others and can match the level of a master’s degree. With the rest, there is a mismatch. Research aptitude is also missing,” added the professor.

Amita Dev, vice chancellor of Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women (IGDTUW), added: “There is a trend which is declining, we get a whole lot of students with PhD. As the programme becomes four years and students can get direct entry into PhD programmes if they earn the necessary credits, many do not join master’s courses.”

However, she added that in MTech admissions, courses like VLSI, artificial intelligence and machine learning are witnessing an increase in demand.

Kumar thought the decrease in enrolment for masters courses could be due to better prospects and job opportunities after completing BTech.

Also read 3-year BTech for working professional is back, but yet to find its audience

States with different trends

Analysing the data, however, shows a variety of trends, especially in northern and central India where the numbers – enrolment and seats – are not as high as in the south, but significant nevertheless.

Bihar saw its intake grow from 180 in 2019-20 to 252 in 2022-23 – the last year for which data is available; 71% of the seats were filled.

West Bengal is another state whose intake and enrolment increased. In 2021-22 when the approved seat intake was 3,065, 1,476 students were enrolled. By 2022-23, the intake rose to 3,359 and enrolment stood at 1,484.

Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a sudden increase in the intake to 459 in 2022-23 from 138 in 2017-18. This is despite enrolment not increasing and for 2022-23 just 11% seats were filled.

In a different case, Jharkhand’s intake has not changed even though enrolment has dropped. In 2022-23, the seats filled were 37% of the total.

Also read Core Strength: Top engineering colleges are reforming the civil, mechanical and electrical branches

Action on MTech admissions

Engineering colleges are adopting a variety of measures to stem this decline. Delhi Technological University (DTU) is hopeful that from this year the numbers will increase as they have taken some steps.

“The MTech fees was high, around Rs 1.6 lakh per year. The scholarship amount they receive is also less. So, we have now reduced the fees to Rs 1.25 lakh per year,” said S Indu, professor in the department of electronics and communication engineering, DTU.

For courses like electronics, DTU is also conducting separate entrance tests. “The admission in the course is through GATE. But for seats we are not able to fill, we conduct our own entrance tests and seats are allotted based on their percentile score. We are hopeful from this year we will be able to see some change,” said Indu.

This year Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru received over 8.26 lakh applications for GATE; ultimately 6,53,292 candidates appeared for the exam. Last year, around 5.17 lakh students had appeared for the exam.

Recently, IIT Roorkee unveiled a revised postgraduate (PG) curriculum which emphasises project-based learning, industry interaction, and research, aiming to equip graduates with the skills and knowledge to thrive in the modern world.

Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT) MAHE, Manipal, saw enrolment rise in 2023-24. As per data shared by them, for masters in engineering courses like AI, big data analytics, and cloud computing the numbers have risen.

From 102 students enrolled in different courses in 2022-23, in 2023-24, the number rose to 177. Master’s in engineering in cyber security was introduced in 2023 with 27 students enrolled in it.

Darryl Jeethesh D'souza, associate professor at Manipal School of Information Science (MSIS), said: “We have taken various steps at MSIS. It includes enhancing the curriculum to align with industry demands and emerging technologies, increasing marketing efforts through social media, targeted advertising, and partnerships with industry influencers.” MIT also provides MTech scholarships, financial aid and other discounts to attract students.

“We have also improved campus facilities and infrastructure to enhance the overall learning experience. We are collaborating with industry partners for internships, placements, and real-world projects to enhance career prospects,” added D’souza.

Note: This story will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Careers360 magazine.

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