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Delhi University is not the first one to offer a four-year degree. AUD introduced it in 2010 and no one is protesting there. Admissions are on here and on offer, at the School of Undergraduate Studies, are seven honours programmes, writes Gauri Kohli.

education Updated: Jun 19, 2013 13:04 IST
Gauri Kohli
Gauri Kohli
Hindustan Times

They have the four-year degree course and no one is protesting at Delhi’s Ambedkar University. Admissions are on here and on offer, at the School of Undergraduate Studies, are seven honours programmes.

The university has three types of honours degrees: three-year BA honours with a major in a single discipline; three-year BA honours with a major in the social sciences and humanities in three disciplines; and a four-year BA honours degree with a dual major in two disciplines. There is no separate admission for a dual major programme. Students admitted to a single major are allowed to apply for a dual major in the final year of the single major programme. Lateral admissions are allowed from other institutions in the second year.

What’s on offer
In the initial semesters, students take courses that draw on the humanities, social sciences and mathematical sciences. They also go for courses that enhance foundational skills in logical, analytical and quantitative reasoning, language proficiency and communication. Students then select intensive courses related to their major discipline/s. To focus on interdisciplinarity, they are also required to choose courses from disciplines other than their major. The BA honours programme includes foundation, discipline and special interest courses.

Those coming in for information on admissions should look out for students like Kaizad Gandhi, who has just finished three years of his psychology honours programme. He is counselling admission-seekers and sees this as a good opportunity to put his learnings into practice.

“This place taught me how to think. The course content was very engaging and application-based. It’s a combination of theory and practice which is necessary for those studying subjects such as psychology. I feel nostalgic and proud when students come to us for information on admissions. We guide them on everything - from the course structures to life on campus and the excellent faculty. They have apprehensions and expectations where college life is concerned and as a psychology student, this has been all the more fruitful for me,” says Gandhi, who is one of the 70 student volunteers leading this student-driven admission process at the campus.

These days, you will find Gandhi and his fellow students manning the university helplines and guiding curious parents and students flocking the campus all day long. “We get such opportunities to hone our communication, managerial and people skills. The atmosphere at AUD is so different… there is no pressure of exams or marks and you get time to participate in extra-curricular activities,” says Madhvi Singh, an economics student who is a volunteer at the admissions helpdesk.

Focusing largely on research and higher education broadly under the domains of social sciences, humanities and the liberal arts, AUD functions through its various schools and centres.

Programmes and seats
The three-year BA honours with a major in single discipline include majors in the following subjects: economics; English; history; mathematics; psychology, sociology and social sciences and humanities. Thirty-five seats are being offered in each bachelor’s degree programme in the current session. There will be a total of 245 seats for all the bachelor’s degree programmes for 2013-14.

A student-oriented approach
“Our effort has always been to make the university as student oriented as possible. Things like senior students helping and counselling juniors and earn while you learn scheme are examples of student engagement on campus becoming more intense. A minimum of 25% learning is field-based and all programmes emphasise on practicality. Community-centered activities make a mark here. The Student Cell that functions directly under the vice chancellor’s guidance is a peer support group that helps fellow students, especially those who are facing economic, academic, social or emotional difficulties. It also identifies and engages with such experiences of students and primarily acts as a catalyst between students and administration,” says Kuriakose Mamkoottam, dean, student services.

“Being a mathematics student, I got a chance to study reasoning, introduction to social sciences, youth society and literature and environmental issues and challenges. The learning at AUD is very similar to the US education system - it’s interdisciplinary and also gives you a chance to opt out and choose another major. The faculty is very experienced… you have the dean who studied at the University of Oxford and other faculty members with several years of teaching experience,” says Sameer Malik, a third-year student.

Fee waivers
The university also offers full and partial fee waivers to students who are in need of support, given their economic backgrounds. Twenty-five per cent of the fees collected from students are returned to the economically disadvantaged students by way of fee waivers and scholarships. Over the last three years, 229 students have been awarded fee waivers. “If provisionally admitted, a student with limited financial support is permitted to take admission without having to pay the fee. Students are also required to pay Rs. 500 per semester towards the Student Welfare Fund that was set up to help the needy students,” says Mamkoottam.

Assessment process
The varsity follows continuous semester-based assessment. The BA honours programme comprises 96 credits for a three-year degree and 128 credits for a four-year degree. Every semester would have a course load of 16 credits. Each credit in a taught course is equal to one hour of teaching or two hours of seminars/group work/laboratory work/field work per week for 16 weeks.

Schools at AUD
School of Undergraduate Studies
School of Development Studies
School of Human Ecology
School of Human Studies
School of Business, Public Policy and Social Entrepreneurship
School of Education Studies
School of Liberal Studies
School of Culture and Creative Expressions
School of Social Design
School of Law, Governance and Citizenship (expected to start soon)

PG programmes
MA economics; MA English; MA sociology; MA history; MA psychology; MA gender studies; MA environment and development; MA development studies; MA education; MBA; PG diploma in publishing; MA film studies; MA visual studies; MA performance studies; MA literary arts; MA social design. The School of Human Studies and the School of Development Studies have jointly launched an MPhil programme in development practice in collaboration with Pradan. An MA programme in global studies is on the anvil. AUD also offers PhDs

Last date for submitting applications : June 22, 2013
Announcement of first list : July 1, 2013
Announcement of second list : July 5, 2013
Announcement of first list : July 11, 2013

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First Published: Jun 18, 2013 15:40 IST