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MUMBAI: The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) — a qualifying exam for those seeking admissions to masters and PhD programmes in science & technology and placements in public sector undertakings (PSUs) — will see a significant shift in the coming year with the inclusion of subjects in humanities. So, students from commerce and arts background, too, can opt for GATE 2021 in February that IIT-Bombay will organize.

The eligibility criteria, too, has been modified from 10+2+4 to 10+2+3, enabling students in their third year of undergraduate studies to appear for the examination. Recognizing the global concern over environmental issues, environmental science, too, has been introduced this year, taking the total number of subject papers to 27.

With fewer job opportunities this year due to the pandemic, several graduates are likely to pursue higher education and GATE will add to their options. “IIT-Bombay has introduced several reforms in entrance exams in the past too. With the introduction of subjects in humanities and social sciences, the institute wanted to make GATE more inclusive. Many premier institutes, including IIT-Bombay, currently use UGC-NET scores or internal examinations for admissions to masters programmes in humanities. These students are not eligible for ministry of human resource development scholarships. With GATE scores, they will have an added advantage of government scholarships. Since PSUs recruit aspirants using GATE scores, it will open up avenues for arts and commerce students too,” said professor Deepankar Choudhury, the organising chairman of GATE 2021. Under humanities, English, economics, linguistics, psychology, sociology and philosophy will be offered in the first year, he said.

Subhasis Chaudhuri, director of IIT-Bombay, said, “…this would create much-needed career opportunities for those in humanities and social sciences areas, as this may serve as one single standardised criterion for admission to various masters and doctoral programmes in various IITs and other universities in India.”

The IITs are expecting the number of aspirants to rise in 2021 with the new reforms. Close to 10 lakh students usually take the test. The exams, scheduled in February, will be spread out over a longer duration, over six days from four, due to the pandemic. The dates are February 5, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 14.

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