Mumbai Students across the country can now pursue diploma, degree and masters courses in design, as All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has recognised it as one of the technical disciplines. The courses related to design, an emerging inter-disciplinary field involving engineering, visual arts and management, have been included to the list of academic programmes in AICTE’s approval process handbook for 2019-20. The move has paved way for stand-alone design institutes while enabling engineering colleges to offer these courses. While institutes across the country have been offering design courses, most of them lack AICTE’s recognition, which hampers students’ ability to pursue a career and higher education in the discipline. Currently, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (AKTU) in Uttar Pradesh is the only varsity to have the regulator’s approval for its bachelor of design (BDes) and master of design (MDes) courses. “Many students are studying design and even drawing handsome salaries from companies after completion of their courses. But they are unable to pursue higher education, as the institutes offering these courses merely issue certificates. Hence, we decided to regularise it,” said Anil Sahasrabudhe, chairman, AICTE. According to the handbook, the duration of a diploma in design programme can be three or four years while undergraduate and post-graduation courses will be four- and two year-long respectively. The intake for a single division of diploma and degree course has been set at 30, whereas a masters class will consist of a maximum of 15 students. Academicians have welcomed the move as they believe that it will draw more students to the discipline. BK Chakravarthy, former head, Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of technology Bombay (IIT-B), said, “There’s much interest towards design among engineering students. Around 18,000 students apply for Undergraduate Common Entrance Exam for Design (UCEED), which serves as the gateway for 19 institutes offering design courses, despite the limited intake.” However, Chakravarthy added that classifying various design programmes will be a challenge. “Often, design institutes are taken over by engineering design, due to the limited legacy of the discipline,” he said.