HSS courses

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Humanities and Social Sciences department of IIT-Kanpur offers various courses for overall intellectual and social development of students. It is indispensable part of the curriculum since July 1963. All undergraduate students are supposed to do 5 HSS-Courses in their overall stay of 4 years. Out of these five courses, two are first level courses while others are second level HSS courses.



The HSS department was established in 1960 as a separate branch by Prof. P Kelkar with the objective of developing students perspective,creativity,character and other personality traits and provide an opportunity to students to learn something other than just science and engineering.The earliest branches were English (Literature and Linguistics), Economics, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology with Fine Arts branch established further down the road.Nowadays, the HSS department has become an integral part of IIT curriculum with even degrees being offered for the branches.


HSS Department has six branches-Economics,English,Fine Arts,Philosophy,Psychology and Sociology with all the branches having their own Ph.D programme.


Economics[1] is the only HSS branch having a B.Tech programme as well as a Ph.D programme.The various interests of the Economics branch are:Microeconomics, Macro-Money, Industrial Organization, Regional Economics, Environmental Economics, Development Economics, Law and Economics, Transport Economics, Econometrics, Input-Output Analysis, and Project Economics with its faculty continuously engaged in research as well as project and consulting on the various subbranches.

Economics department has Laboratory[2] located in New-Core Labs, IIT-Kanpur.


English[3] disipline of HSS provides courses on all three aspects of English learning - reading,writing and conversing.

Fine Arts

Fine Arts[4] branch is involved with study of various arts such as art of painting ,video making,cinema etc and primarily provides courses which study as well as teach these arts to the students.


The philosophy[5] department provides courses with overall emphasis on inculcating conceptual clarity and critical thinking among the students.


The Psychology[6] discipline in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Kanpur provides courses dealing with understanding of the human pyschology and personality formation,how they get shaped,effect of environment etc.


The Sociology[7] discipline in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences deals with courses on Design Culture Health and Illness,Human Rights,Social Change,Social Demography,Social Stratification,Sociology of Environment,Sociology of Science and Technology,Sociology of Development,Sociology of Religion,Third Sector Research and Urban Sociology.


IIT Kanpur provides 52 different HSS courses divided into six branches.The courses are split into 2 levels - HSS Level-1 and HSS Level-2.

First-Level HSS Course

These are 11-credit courses, with 3 lectures and 1 tutorial per week. The lectures are conducted by regular professors but the tutorials may be conducted by the professor or any of his PhD student. This session is mainly for problem solving based on the application of the concepts.

Second-Level HSS Course

These are 9-credit courses, with 3 lectures and no tutorial per week.

Allocation Procedure

HSS courses are allocated through lottery system.Each Student is expected to give preference to max 6 HSS courses out of which he/she will be allocated one HSS course depending on the preference order of the person by the DoAA office.


All the courses have regular mid-sem and end-sem examinations scheduled by DOAA office. Professors may also decide to take quizzes in the semester, depending on their personal preference.


These courses have been inculcated in the curriculum to ensure an overall development of students. They introduce students to the social aspects of life and intend to broaden their horizons of knowledge and education by exposing them to a different area of human problems and social phenomenon. HSS Courses tend to make students more sensitive towards their social responsibilities and makes them realize their roles in the overall national growth. They also provide an opportunity to students who wish to pursue any of these disciplines by giving a flavour.


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