Data Science

IIT Madras Online Degree – BSc in Data Science & Programming

IIT Madras, India’s top technical institute has opened its doors for the world’s first online BSc Degree program in Data Science & Programming. There is absolutely no bar for age, gender, and location* to apply for this BSc Degree. 

You can study and apply for this undergraduate program in Data Science & Programming with a wide range of academic backgrounds.

They have recently released the Week 1 lectures for all the students whose applications were officially accepted. So, why don’t we go right ahead and learn about the students and their backgrounds from a neat little Data Visualization Report?

I’ve created a report using the data they officially provided on one of their Live Sessions. Try the same with Google’s Data Studio and drop the links in the comment section below so people can look at your beautiful Data Visualization report!


A total of 31,325 students enrolled for this course.

The top 10 states that enrolled for IIT Madras Online Degree are:

Top 10 State Enrollments for IIT Madras’ Online Degree

No surprises here! Tamilnadu tops this section with 4,460 applying out of 30,000+ students. However, I see a really good response from North India.

The top 10 cities that enrolled for IIT Madras Online Degree are:

Top 10 State Enrollments for IIT Madras’ Online Degree

Again, not many surprises over here as well. The same pattern is followed.

Gender wise enrollment for IIT Madras Online Degree

Gender wise enrollments for IIT Madras Online Degree

Out of 31,325 enrollments, only 24% (7,448) of them are girls. Boys clearly dominated this category.

I personally feel there’s a great need for awareness about the importance of Data Science and Programming among girls in India.

Caste wise enrollment for IIT Madras Online Degree:

Caste wise enrollments for IIT Madras Online Degree

This follows a similar pattern which everybody is aware of. However, one should consider the fee as well while looking at this Pie Chart. 

Do you know that General students have to pay 50% more than SC/ST/PwD students? Check out the fee details here.

Considering the high amount of fee which should be paid by the students to continue studying for the BSc program, the result surprises me that nearly 70% (21,786) of the students are from the General category. 

Education Status of Students who enrolled for IIT Madras Online Degree:

Education Status of students who enrolled for IIT Madras Online Degree

Now, this is my favourite part of this Data Visualization Report!

Do you see that ‘retired’ people are among top 3 of the applicant’s education status? I’m surprised that people who are retired still want to continue their education. Kudos to you guys!

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Age Group of Enrolled Students of IIT Madras Online Degree:

Age Group of students who enrolled for IIT Madras Online Degree

So which age group do these students who enrolled belong to?

It’s easy to guess! Also, notice that this Bar Graph backs the results we observed in our previous chart.

Students’ Goals:

Students’ Goals

What are the goals of enrolled students of this program?

A whopping 88.5% of them aim for a BSc degree! I’m more surprised that there are people who chose this programming to have only a Diploma in Programming? Why though? ?

Enrollments by Profession:

Enrollments by Profession

Last but not the least! Enrollments by profession! A familiar pattern. Many IT and Engineering Professionals are interested in pursuing this degree. But I also see that there’s a great amount of people from Law background who are interested in this. 

There’s a lot of scope for Data Science and AI applications in the Law field. Especially, OCR and Search algorithms. If applied properly, the unintelligible Laws become more accessible for regular people like us. We will become more aware of what laws and rights we have and do not have, eventually becoming responsible citizens of India.

Important Dates

5th October 2020Weekly release of Term 1 Qualifier courses content starts
2nd November 2020Qualifier Exam Hall Ticket (only for those who get minimum required marks in Assignments)
21st / 22nd November 2020**Qualifier Exam (only for those with Hall Ticket)**
7th December 2020Qualifier Exam Results
7th to 27th December 2020Registration for Term 1 (only for those who clear Qualifier Exam)
4th January 2021Foundational Level Batch 1 starts
Important Dates for IIT Madras Online Degree Program

Problems with IIT Madras Online Degree Program

Well, people have been talking a lot about the importance of having an online degree in Data Science and how it has become approachable and available for any student across India because of IIT Madras. But my question is that “Is IIT Madras ready enough to handle students of this huge numbers?”

Let me give you my perspective here as one of the students whose application got confirmed and is part of all the Forums of IIT Madras.

First of all, wherever there’s a large group of students or people in general, we as humans tend to look for others who fall in the same category as ours. We tend to look to connect with people who are from the same background or from the same states or from the same cities. We want to feel that connection and belongingness. There’s an innate desire to belong somewhere so that we feel at ease while in a large group of people. That’s where the ‘forum’ comes. 

We as students love to collaborate with others! We want to ask doubts and clarify doubts of other students if we can. The solution which IIT Madras came up for this is to have Google Groups for students to ask doubts. They are definitely doing a great job in handling a massive amount of doubts in a day. But, don’t you think it’s going to be increasingly difficult and annoying if students are asking the same doubts over and over? How does it feel to have your Inbox filled with 1000s of messages about the same doubt? That’s where the Learning Management System (LMS) of IIT Madras failed.

Even though the moderators of IIT Madras’ are doing a commendable job in clarifying and addressing students’ issues, I see that it is going to be a big challenge for the second batch and future batches when the number of student enrollments increase. 

Another big problem I see here is, anyone who joins these groups risks their data privacy. Anyone can get access to these students and can misuse their data (or worse, sell their data) of email addresses, last name, and first name. 

On top of this, students’ are taking upon themselves to create unofficial WhatsApp groups and inviting others which leads to sharing personal information like phone numbers. Being Data Science students or teachers or working in this field, one should be aware of this data privacy issue.

How is IIT Madras going to address this Data Privacy concerns? Aren’t students worthy of a proper LMS system for communication and collaboration?

Solution? There are few and lets discuss them now.

  1. Having an integrated forum option under every “Topic” or “Lecture”. Just like Coursera or EdX, so that students can head over immediately to that forum and ask the questions. All the questions will be related to that topic.
  2. Use communication platforms like Slack and Discord. These platforms also solves the problem of data privacy by hiding students’ email addresses from each other. They can even hide their profile pictures if they wish so.
  3. Slack and Discord have an option to segregate channels according to students’ states or even subject topics. So students can come and ask relevant doubts in relevant channels.
  4. Slack and Discord also have an option to respond to students’ messages with Bots. So there’s a little scope for automation here. Whereas, Google Groups does not offer any solution like bots for automation.
  5. Looking at the registrations for IIT Madras Online Degree Course, going forward with such communication platforms or planning for a better LMS system is the only solution to solve the above and upcoming issues.

Hopefully, IIT Madras will adapt to this situation sooner than later. It’s a pretty big challenge to bring a diverse community together.

Keeping these really important issues aside for a minute, I have to take a moment to appreciate the student community for coming together and are showing eagerness in collaborating and sharing their knowledge with others through groups.

Study Material

Is external study material really required for those purusing this degree?

In my opinion, I think you’ve to really only care about the material that IIT Madras provides through their lectures, activities, and practice assignments.

But, if you still have enough curiousity to go for external resources, I’ve provided some links here for FREE courses.

NCERT Textbooks for free


Josh Starmer is an excellent Youtuber who makes videos on all possible Statistical topics.


Khan Academy’s free youtube content is a treasure if you’re looking for free resources for basic Mathematics.

Data Science or Computational Thinking

Krish Naik was a Sr. Data Scientist at Panasonic and regularly makes free video content for Data Science beginners.


Thanks for reading till the end of the blog! ??

I really appreciate that you took your time and I hope you got what you need. If not, please leave a comment below so that I can help you with your questions/doubts.

Coming to the bonus tip, I’m looking forward to share some Study Tips with students who are preparing for IIT Madras Online Degree Qualifier Exam. However, these study tips can be generalized and are applicable for any competitive exam.

So, why don’t you join me in learning every week? I send out a newsletter every Monday starting from October 12th on various topics related to Data Science, AI, Math, and Productivity.

Want to know all about me? Read here!

See you soon! Happy Learning!

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Join 380+ Curious Learners! Every Monday, you'll receive a newsletter that contains resources and tools to help you learn, increase productivity, and be creative!

3 thoughts on “IIT Madras Online Degree – BSc in Data Science & Programming

  1. Hey, I remember you being really active on the forum, would like to connect w you and know if you went on to join the program, thanks and regards.

    1. Hey Swaroop!

      Yes, I’m pursuing the degree now. Its been pretty hard the first week to cope with all 4 subjects. It would have been good if I only committed to 2/3 subjects. But I guess I just have to push through this semester somehow. 🙂

      Have you registered for the course after Qualifier? Would love to connect with you on Twitter if possible. My profile: @learnwithvidta

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