BITS Pilani

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Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani
File:BITS Pilani-Logo.svg
Mottogyānaṁ paramaṁ balam (Sanskrit)
Motto in English
Knowledge is the ultimate power
TypeDeemed University (An Institute of Eminence)
Established1964 (60 years ago) (1964)[1]
FounderG.D. Birla
ChancellorKumar Mangalam Birla
Vice-ChancellorProf. V. Ramgopal Rao
DirectorProf. Sudhirkumar Barai (Pilani Campus)[2]
Academic staff
Students13,049 (2021-22)[3]
Undergraduates10,977 (2021-22)[3]
Postgraduates1,363 (2021-22)[3]
709 (2021-22)[3]
Pilani, Jhunjhunu

28°21′49.96″N 75°35′13.26″E / 28.3638778°N 75.5870167°E / 28.3638778; 75.5870167Coordinates: 28°21′49.96″N 75°35′13.26″E / 28.3638778°N 75.5870167°E / 28.3638778; 75.5870167
Campus328 acres (1.33 km2)[4]
Colors      Blue, gold and red
AffiliationsUGC,[5] NAAC,[6] PCI,[7] AIU,[8] ACU[9]

Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) is a deemed university in Pilani, Rajasthan, India.[10] It focuses primarily on higher education and research in engineering and sciences.[11] BITS Pilani is one of the first six institutes in India to be awarded the Institute of Eminence status.[12][13] According to 2012 data, BITS Pilani has an acceptance rate of 1.47%, making it one of the most exclusive and prestigious technical universities in the world.[14]

The institute was established in its present form in 1964.[15] During this period, the institute's transformation from a regional engineering college to a national university was backed by G.D. Birla. The university has expanded its campuses from Pilani to Goa, Hyderabad and Dubai. After expansion to a campus in Dubai, it has become the first international deemed university, spearheading in science, engineering, management and research with five established campuses and 15 academic departments. Backed by the Aditya Birla Group, the fully residential institute is privately supported.[16]

Admissions are solely merit-based assessed by the examinations conducted by BITS.[17][18] 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.[19][20]



Large buildings surrounding green quadrangle
Aerial view, BITS Pilani (1978)
Aerial Image of the Pilani campus with the newly inaugurated Rotunda

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.[21]

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.[22]

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.[23][24] In its formative years, the Institute tied up with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, USA.[23] It adopted semester system, modular structure of courses, continuous and internal evaluation, letter grading and the likes. It also created linkages with the industries which yielded structured “Practice School” as an integral component of education.[23]

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.

Low, gold-colored building seen from green space
Clock tower, BITS Pilani

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.[22]

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.[25][26]

Multi-campus expansion[edit]

BITS Pilani is located in India
Campuses Within India: Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad, Mumbai

In 1999, enrollment expanded from 2,500 to 4,000[27] and campuses were founded in Dubai (2000) and Goa (2004). Upon invitation by the Government of Andhra Pradesh, BITS Pilani acquired 200 acres (81 ha) of land from the Andhra Pradesh government through the Hyderabad Urban Development Authority for a new constituent campus in 2006. The land is located in Jawaharnagar, Shameerpet Mandal in the Rangareddy district.[28] The BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus opened in 2008; the school also has a virtual university[29] and an extension center in Bangalore.[30] BITS School of Management (BITSoM) was established in January 2021 and offers a 2-year full time residential MBA. BITSoM  has its interim campus in Hiranandani Knowledge Park, Powai, Mumbai while the 60-acre permanent campus is being set up in  the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.[31]

Chancellor and academic head[edit]

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.[27] He was followed by his son, Krishna Kumar Birla, who was chancellor until his death in 2008.[32] Currently, Kumar Mangalam Birla is chancellor and Shobhana Bhartia is pro-chancellor.[33]

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.[34] 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 until 1969.[35] He was succeeded by BITS directors C.R. Mitra (1969–1989)[36] and S. Venkateswaran (1989–2006). "director" denoted the head of a campus.

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 took over in June 2016 to become the 6th academic head of the institute.[37] Prof. Ranendra N. Saha became Acting Vice Chancellor since June 13, 2021 after the expiration of Prof. Bhattacharya's term.


Pilani campus[edit]

Pilani is the main campus located 200 kilometres (120 mi) west of Delhi and 220 kilometres (140 mi) north of Jaipur;[4] the BITS campus is to the west of Pilani bus stand. The area of the campus is 328 acres (1,330,000 m2);[4] its developed area is 49 acres (200,000 m2), of which 15 acres (61,000 m2) is used for the BITS building.[38] The campus has 11,245 square metres (121,040 sq ft) of classrooms and 7,069 square metres (76,090 sq ft) of laboratories.

Birla Science Museum, BITS Pilani

The Pilani campus has India's first technological museum, the Birla Museum. Built in 1954, it showcases technological achievements.[39][40] BITS has a 2,535-square-metre (27,290 sq ft) auditorium decorated with paintings by students from the department of art and decoration.[38]

Temple with four rounded step levels, illuminated at night
Saraswati temple, BITS Pilani

BITS has a Sharda Peeth 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).[41]

Residential and dining facilities[edit]

The institute has fourteen hostels in total. Each hostel is referred as a "Bhawan", the Sanskrit 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[42] The hostels are named after saints, scientists, and historical and religious figures.

Every two hostels share a mess hall except Meera Bhawan, Srinivasa Ramanujan Bhawan and Sir C V RAMAN Bhawan which have their own mess halls. All dining areas are student-managed.[43] 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 (Talk of the town and Mr. Idli), LOOTERS . The ANC is also student-managed.[44] Moreover, there is a small area inside campus called "Connaught" which has many restaurants, cafes, etc.[45] and has shops for general daily needs as well.

Vision 2020, Mission 2012[edit]

In 2010 the institute launched a renewal project, "Vision 2020, Mission 2012,"[46] 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[citation needed] with pro-chancellor Shobhana Bhartia[citation needed] and other members of the board of governors. At this meeting, Birla announced a Rs. 600 crore fund[citation needed] for renovation and construction of new academic buildings and student hostels on the Pilani campus.[citation needed] The project was planned for completion in 2014.[47]

Goa campus[edit]

Hyderabad campus[edit]

Dubai campus[edit]


Academic programmes[edit]


The institute has a two-tier academic structure.

First degrees[edit]

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.[48]

BITS Pilani is noted for its unique Dual-Degree program, wherein students are allowed to pursue two degrees, namely a Masters in Science (as determined by their BITSAT score or their first-year performance) and a Bachelors in Engineering (as determined by their performance in their first-year) simultaneously for a time duration of five-years. The dual-degree program is part of the first-degree programs and is offered to students taking the BITSAT examination.[49]

Higher degrees[edit]

BITS Pilani offers higher-degree programs including Master's and Ph.D. in engineering, natural sciences, pharmacy, public health and business administration.[50]

Master's in Engineering (M.E.) degrees on campus are offered to students on the basis of BITS HD examination scores and GATE scores.[51]


Distance learning programs [WILP][edit]

BITS Pilani also offers online distance learning programs like Work Integrated Learning Program (WILP) in which students can get an M.Tech., Diploma, as well as Certificate programs while working in the industry.[52] More than 19,500 students were registered in off-campus WILP in 2008–09.[53]


Pilani, Goa and Hyderabad campuses[edit]

Before 2005, admissions were based on the candidates' score in the 12th board examination. BITS had been moderating marks from various school boards since 1982.

Since 2005, admission to first-degree in BITS has been offered on the basis of the student's performance in the all-India entrance examination, the Birla Institute of Technology and Science Admission Test (BITSAT).[54] 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.[54] 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.[55]

Admission to on-campus higher degrees such as Master's in Engineering (M.E.) is done on the basis of GATE scores and BITS HD (Higher Degree) examination scores.[51]

Dubai campus[edit]

Admission to Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani – Dubai Campus is based on scores in the 12th standard qualifying exam along with BITSAT. 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.[56]

International projects[edit]

BITS Pilani is a partner in developing the JournalServer[57] open-access digital library, Project IPV6[58] and the MIT iCampus[59] initiative.


University and college rankings
Engineering – India
India Today (2020)[60]7
Business/Management – India
Private colleges:
Outlook India (2020)[61]10

Internationally, BITS Pilani was ranked 1001–1200 in the QS World University Rankings for 2023[62] and 188 in Asia.[63] It was ranked 801–1000 in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2023,[64] 251–300 in Asia in 2022[65] and 301–350 among emerging economies.[66]

In India, BITS Pilani was ranked 32 overall in 2022 by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF),[67] 18 among universities,[68] 29 in the engineering ranking[69] and 5 in India in the pharmacy ranking.[70] It was ranked 7th among engineering colleges by India Today in 2020[60] and second among private engineering colleges by Outlook India in 2022.[71]

The Department of Management was ranked 10 among private management schools in India by Outlook India in 2020.[61]

Student life[edit]



Oasis is the annual cultural festival of the BITS, Pilani. It hosts a variety of events in various categories like dance, drama, literature, comedy, fashion and music.[72]


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.[73]


APOGEE (A Professions Oriented Gathering over Educational Experiences) is an international annual technical festival at the Pilani campus.[74] 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.[75] 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.[76]

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

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