Autonomous/Non-Autonomous Institutes & Deemed/Private Universities

Difference between Autonomous Institutes, Non-Autonomous Institutes & Institutes under Deemed University.

Association with University
Autonomous Institute Affiliated to a Govt. University but does not follow its syllabus or curriculum.
Examples : VJTI, Mumbai; COEP, Pune; BMSCE, Bangalore; PESIT, Bangalore; CBIT, Hyderabad; Sreenidhi Inst, Hyderabad
Non-Autonomous Institute Affiliated to a Govt. University and follows its prescribed syllabus & curriculum.
Examples: SPIT, Mumbai; DJ Sanghvi, Mumbai; PICT, Pune; MIT, Pune; MAIT, New Delhi; BIT, Bangalore; MVIT, Bangalore; UCE (Osmania Univ.), Hyderabad; COE (JNTU), HyderabadLDCE, Ahmedabad; CEG (Anna University), Chennai
Institute under Deemed University Affiliated to a Private University which has its own course structure.
MPSTME (NMIMS University), Mumbai; COE (Bharti Vidyapeeth Univ), Pune; Amity University, New Delhi; School of Engg (Amrita Univ), Bangalore; BITS Hyderabad; Nirma Univ, Ahmedabad; SRM Univesrsity, Chennai
Salient Features
Autonomous Institute

1. Academic independence which gives it the freedom to revise the syllabus with time and follow a schedule which is more suitable for the set curriculum.
2. Exams are conducted by the institute itself and are in accordance with what is being taught during the session.
3. Relative grading system where the highest marks obtained by a student decides the marks the others get. So in case of a difficult paper, a low percentage score would not necessarily mean a low GPA.
4. Degrees finally awarded by the affiliated University which generally carries a lot of reputation.

Non-Autonomous Institute 1. Curriculum is common with many other affiliated institutes and is regulated by a University throughout a certain region (sometimes even an entire state).
2. Easy availability and ample options for books (especially local authors)
3. Exams are conducted by the affiliated University.
Institute under Deemed University 1. Admissions are independently conducted (with a separate entrance at times).
2. Absolute academic independence which gives it the freedom to revise the syllabus with time and follow a schedule which is more suitable for the set curriculum.
2. Exams are conducted by the Deemed University (which in most cases doesn't have any other institutes offering the same course and in effect means that question papers are prepared by the professors of that institute itself)
Potential Downsides
Autonomous Institute 1. A new kind of syllabus and curriculum can be successfully implemented only after the faculty members are comfortable with it. And this may not be as easy as it may sound.
2. No system/body to monitor the promises of the institute in their demand of autonomy, and how far over time have they justified the autonomy they enjoy.
Non-Autonomous Institute

1. Syllabus, schedules, curriculum etc. set by the affiliated University has to be blindly followed.
2. No relative grading system, so a difficult paper means low marks for everyone.
3. Schedules are known to go haywire with results of previous semesters sometimes being announced only a few days before the next exams.

Institute under Deemed University 1. Generally charges very high fees.
2. Takes a while before it can a build some reputation which few have been able to achieve.

NOTE: Apart from the above types of institutes, some other institutions are granted the permission to autonomously award degrees. These institutes neither affiliate to any university and are nor officially called “universities”. They fall under the administrative control of the Department of Higher Education. These organizations include the Indian Institutes of Technology, the National Institutes of Technology, the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, the Indian Institutes of Management (though these award diplomas, not degrees) and other similar institutes

Private Universities carry almost the same advantages and disadvantages as Deemed Universities. The only difference is that while Deemed Universities can have affiliated colleges in other campuses, Private Universities have all their colleges in the same campus.


Why do colleges seek autonomy?

Autonomy for a college indicates a couple of positive things about the college:

  1. The desire of the college to set free from the traditional and at times a standard approach of educating a student in a particular field, in fact, the UGC appeals more and more institutions to in the country to becomes autonomous so as to improve the standard of education.
  2. The college is equipped with the right kind of infrastructure and the faculties to support them with the new and improved syllabus.
  3. The working and the administration (which if politicized, is even worse) at times hinders the college’s desire to excel beyond a limit, so they demand for an autonomy.
  4. Introduce better practices in the system which they can now frame for themselves, so better and fairer evaluation, things follow schedule, and operations get smoother.
  5. And obviously in the popular culture autonomous have a higher status compared to their counter-parts, as it indicates a superiority and prestige.
  6. In case of financial autonomy for a college, it would mean that the college can decide the fees a student would have to pay, but most colleges do not misuse this power.
  7. And a few lesser significant reasons also but none worth from a student’s perspective.


So what should YOU choose?

Looking up about the history of both kinds of institute, it’s really hard to tell what is better.

  • If the college really justifies its autonomy to the maximum extent, then for imparting education, there cannot be a better place in the world. But again if they fail to do that it gets back to square one. A student, before getting into a college, contemplates and prepares considering what the college has to offer, and would certainly not like to be disappointed.
  • Many autonomous colleges have relative grading, and credit system, so students get to pick subjects of their choice rather than being forced to rote learn what they do not wish to.
  • There has been exceptional academic performance by some non-autonomous colleges as well, so at one point it boils down to how much you can extract out of a system. For ex: Mechanical Engineering department of KJ Somaiya College of Engineering, Vidyavihar, Mumbai, who have churned out some brilliant and innovative projects in the past, with their F1 car being at the top, and some amazing robotic arms projects too.
    So autonomous colleges, if push their students to research and new creations, which they are in a better position to, they are bound to scale new heights.
  • And when it comes to the IITs’/IIScs’/NITs’ and IIMs’ (to name only the popular ones) you would realize what it takes to be and maintain being a world –class autonomous institute.

You could be completely wrong if you judge an autonomous college or a deemed university by the fact that it awards B.Tech degrees which is more valued over B.E, here’s a short guide of B.E. and B.Tech.

B.Tech – In an ideal sense, the curriculum designed (mostly by auto) is meant to be more practical oriented over the BE counterpart. But when it comes to being more/less valued, none is preferred over other. It’s only your performance, and to some extent the college also does matter. 
But now there is hardly any difference left, in the degrees offered. But certainly B.Tech from IIT/NIT’s are invariably more valued than B.E./B.Tech from any other private or regional universities.



But it is really important for you to analyze how the college has performed after it is grant autonomy, has it justified the grant, and if yes, to what extent? In terms of placements, in terms of academic grading, in terms of opportunities/avenues open to students.
Do a detailed statistical study, count the number of autonomous institutes, consider the time since which they enjoy autonomy. A before-after comparison of the numbers will enable you to judge the college for yourself. After all you’ll be the best person to do it as your career and future is at stake. Good Luck..!

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