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HindustanTimes Wed,30 Jul 2014
It’s admission time at JNU
Gauri Kohli, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 12, 2014
First Published: 10:45 IST(12/3/2014)
Last Updated: 15:47 IST(12/3/2014)

Offering mainly postgraduate programmes with a strong focus on research, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has always been a place for serious academic pursuits. Known for its illustrious alumni, high-brow professors, student activism, debate sessions, political graffiti and hostel life, the university boasts of a campus that is always buzzing with activity. At this moment, the  hottest topic is the Lok Sabha election with the students  engaged in intense debates over the leadership qualities of the BJP’s Narendra Modi, Congress’ Rahul Gandhi or Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal.

“The campus is very politically active with a lot of focus on activism and extra-curricular activities such as protest demonstrations and public meetings. These activities shape our thoughts and help us work for a cause. In short, such activities reflect the essence of the university,” says Amba Shankar Bajpai, a doctoral scholar at the Centre for East Asian Studies.

Applications invited
With 10 schools and four centres of studies, the university offers a range of courses, including international politics; genetic engineering; environmental sciences; computer science; physical sciences; performance studies; cinema studies; law; political science and public administration.

The admissions process has begun. Applications can be filed for all its schools and centres of study, most of which offer postgraduate courses. The School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies also offers undergraduate programmes in select foreign languages.

Entrance tests will be held from May 16-19, 2014, for admission to various full-time programmes of study in 51 cities. The online application process will close on March 26, 2014. Students can submit offline applications by March 28, 2014.

The university is also offering some part-time programmes for candidates from Delhi-NCR. These include certificate and diploma courses in mass media in Urdu and advanced diploma of proficiency in Pushto.

Now that’s JNU
All the programmes offered by this varsity are interdisciplinary. “The best thing about the university is that it encourages interdisciplinarity in terms of course selection. For instance, a student doing his master’s in a foreign language can opt for a basic course in the science stream as an optional subject. Or a history student can take up an optional course in ethics and moral philosophy. Another great thing about the university is that there are at least two visiting professors from abroad and many experts from within the country and outside who visit the campus to interact with students through lectures, debates and conferences. From Nobel laureates to heads of different states and countries, the list is long and illustrious,” says Professor RP Singh, dean, Centre for Philosophy.

The academic structure is unique, too. “The revision of curricula and process of evaluation are continuous. Unless a student gets grades and credits in optional courses, he/she will not qualify for a degree. The courses are very liberating and there is a culture of an extended classroom where studying is not limited to an individual... it is based on team work where all students are constantly interacting with each other. They encourage each other to question, criticise and discuss. Beyond a point, the role of the teacher is limited as the students turn teachers for each other,” says Ram Bux Jat, professor, Centre of Indian Languages, School of Languages, Literature and Culture Studies. 

The university follows a semester system. Each course is assigned a specific number of credits. Evaluation is done by the concerned course teacher with the exception of MPhil dissertation and PhD thesis. “With regular tests, seminars, term papers and end-semester exams, students are evaluated round the year. There is no pressure of exams and learning is an ongoing process,” says Bagisha Suman, PhD research scholar at the Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament.

Know your facts

Established 1969
No of schools 10 and four special centres}
Entrance tests May 16 to 19 for its various full-time programmes of study
Online application process will close on March 26, 2014
For more details www.jnu.ac.in

Online admissions process smoother

SK Sopory, VC, JNU, talks about new courses, placement cells and about the university doing well in global rankings

New initiatives 
We have improved the online admission process this year.  We are getting a good response from across the country. We have also strengthened our  grievance/troubleshooting system. The university has started a placement cell.  Our schools for Computer and Systems Sciences help students find placement individually too.

New courses and centres
At JNU, we are starting the following new courses from 2014-15: Direct admission to the PhD programme in human rights studies; direct admission to PhD programme in energy studies; MPhil/PhD in women’s studies and pre-PhD in nanosciences (NET/JFR).

Expansion of infrastructure
Due to fund limitations in the 12th plan, the university has earmarked grants for one new hostel and an academic building.

World rankings
JNU was ranked by NAAC as the top university in the country.  The university now finds mention in the top 60 in Times Higher Education BRICS and Emerging Economies Ranking 2014. A few of our centres are now listed within top 150
universities in the QS world ranking.

As told to Gauri Kohli


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