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Amongst the varied technical institutes in the country, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) are the most prominent choicesfor pursuing Engineering in India. While there are a total of 16 institutes in the list of IITs, NITs encompass a total of 31 institutes spread across the country. Both of these public institutions are government-funded. If you have been planning to study a degree in Engineering, IT or any other technical specialisation, here is a detailed blog bringing an unbiased comparison between IIT vs NIT to help you decide the right one that fits your preferences and interests.

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Diff Between IIT and NIT

IITs and NITs are known for their high-end education. The two institutes have always been a priority to students in engineering. While IIT accepts students who qualify for JEE Advanced, NIT takes students on the basis of their JEE Mains results. The quality of education is IIT is better than NIT. IIT hails some of the best faculties but NIT is not that far behind. Let’s check out some of the major differences between the two institutes:

Full FormIndian Institute of TechnologyNational Institute of Technology
No. of Colleges2331
Admission CriteriaJEE AdvanceJEE Mains
Average PackageINR 10-15 lakhsINR 6-7 Lakhs

What are IITs 

IITs are autonomous and public institutes located across the country. IITs have been governed by the Institute of Technology, 1961 and is declared as Institute of National Importance. There are twenty-three institutes of IIT in India. In 2020, there were approximately 16,050 seats in all the IITs in India. The first IIT was founded in 1950 in West Bengal. The most common degree offered in the institute is BTech in bachelor’s degrees. IITs also offer MTech and MBA degrees.

What are NITs

NITs are autonomous public technical universities spread across the country and are governed by the National Institute of Technology Act 2007 that declares them as Institute of National Importance. NITs are one of the most prestigious engineering colleges in India with one of the lowest acceptance rates. NITs receive higher grants than most engineering colleges in India after IITs.

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IIT vs NIT: Difference 1: Rankings

Regarded as the national institutes of importance, IITs and NITs have scored different rankings at both national and international level. IITs are globally popular and academically advanced they have been consistently featured in the world rankings and actually are the only ones that get featured from India on a global level. On the other hand, NITs have maintained their place in the national rankings prominently in the top 10.

Check Out: 3 IITs in the Top 50 of QS Rankings for Asian Universities

IITS VS NIT- Difference 2: Number of Institutes

There are 23 IITs in India while there are 31 NITs in India.

NIT MizoramIIT Bhilai
NIT AllahabadIIT Goa
NIT DelhiIIT Tirupati
NIT GoaIIT Hyderabad
NIT WarangalIIT Indore
NIT BhopalIIT (BHU) Varanasi
NIT Andhra PradeshIIT Gandhinagar
NIT KarnatakaIIT Palakkad
NIT AgartalaIIT Bombay
NIT KurukshetraIIT Jammu
NIT CalicutIIT Bhubaneswar
NIT PuducherryIIT Dharwad
NIT ManipurIIT Jodhpur
NIT UttarakhandIIT (ISM) Dhanbad
NIT NagalandIIT Kharagpur
NIT JaipurIIT Patna
NIT JalandharIIT Ropar
NIT TiruchirappalliIIT Roorkee
NIT SilcharIIT Delhi
NIT SikkimIIT Mandi
NIT SuratIIT Madras
NIT SrinagarIIT Kanpur
NIT HamirpurIIT Guwahati
NIT Nagpur
NIT Durgapur
NIT Meghalaya
NIT Rourkela
NIT Patna
NIT Raipur
NIT Jamshedpur
NIT Arunachal Pradesh

IIT vs NIT: Difference 3: Admission Criteria

When it comes to eligibility and admission criteria for IIT vs NIT, the requirements differ to an extent.

For Bachelors

To qualify for a bachelor’s degree at NIT, JEE Mains is the essential exam you need to clear.
For IITs, JEE Advanced is the crucial eligibility prerequisite.

For Masters

For postgraduate degree, Joint Admission Test for MSc. (JAM) is conducted mainly for IIT programs but if you have missed your seat there, then NITs are considered the second option.

IIT VS NIT: Difference 4: List of Courses Offered

Here are all the courses offered by IITs and NITs in India:

Bachelors Courses

IIT CoursesNIT Courses
Dual Degree M.Sc.Dual Degree Integrated Courses
Dual Degree MABA

Masters Courses

IIT CoursesNIT Courses
Master of DesignMCA
Post Graduate Diploma in Information and Technology (PGDIT)
Master in Medical Science & Technology (MMST)
Post Graduate Diploma (PGDIPL)
Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Operation & Management (PGDMOM)


IIT CoursesNIT Courses

Difference 5: Quality of Education

It is obvious to say that the educational standards of IITs are better than NITs as the focus on core subjects is far greater. IITs are esteemed technical institutes in India just like IIMs are for business education and are the choicest amongst those wanting to study Engineering and IT-related courses. From having an experienced as well as academically and professionally accomplished faculty to being renowned for their research standards, IIT has carved its prominence in the country.

On the other hand, NIT is still catching up in these areas and that’s why remains the second choice of those wanting to pursue technical courses.

Difference 6: Educational Programs

As far as the difference between IIT vs NIT in terms of Educational Programs is concerned, they both stand at more or less at the same position. After the completion of the first year, it is mandatory for every student of both the Institutes to undertake a course from any other non-technical department like- Humanities, Social Sciences, Arts or Management.

Comparing the wide range of programs, IITs also offer MDes, Master in Medical Science and Technology (MMST) and Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Operation and Management (PGDMOM). NITs offer less postgraduate courses than IIT but only NIT offers MCA courses. 

Recommended Read: Best Engineering Courses for Future

Difference 7: Infrastructure & Facilities

Another important criteria to mention in IIT vs NIT debate is their infrastructure as well as facilities provided. IITs came into being much before NITs were established and their infrastructure is also advanced & equipped with latest technologies.

Their classrooms are filled with brilliant digital learning instruments and even their labs are told to be the best for any technological college in India. IITs have also preserved prototype models curated by renowned scientists in minimuseums. For instance, you will find ‘Van De Graff Generator ‘ built by Robert Jemison Van de Graaff by IIT Kanpur. When it comes to NITs, they are still going through a development phase though are well-equipped with basic amenities.

IIT VS NIT: Difference 8: Extra-Curricular Activities

Both IITs and NITs boast several extra curricular activities. Both IIT and NIT conduct hostel competitions every year under sports and other extracurricular activities. The institute teams participate in different events across the country where they get to compete and mingle with students from different institutes. Both IIT and NIT have these extracurricular activities in their campuses:

  • Drama
  • Quizzing
  • Dance
  • Debate Club
  • Music
  • Hindi Samiti
  • Student Welfare

IIT VS NIT: Difference 9: Cultural Fests

Both institutes of IIT and NIT encourage sports and extracurricular activities amongst the students. There are many inter-college competitions in these institutes that you should not miss if you are a part of these colleges:

Cultural Fests in IITCultural Fests in NIT

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IIT vs NIT: Difference 10: Placements

It’s is quite a well-known fact in India that many students aspire to study in IITs because of their world-class placement records. Former IITians are spread across the globe, from being entrepreneurs to working with tech giants. For the graduating batches of 2021, IITs witnessed more international placements than last year with IIT Kharagpur witnessing 51 international offers, the highest of any other institute. Comparing these placements of IIT vs NIT, the placements for NITs remained more domestic with international recruiters from Facebook, Microsoft, Ernst & Young, amongst others. Here is a table listing down the top recruiters at IIT vs NIT:

Morgan Stanley 
Goldman Sachs 
Tata Steel

Must Read: MBA vs MTech

IIT VS NIT: Difference 11: Famous Alumni

The best example of great institutes is the stories they produce. Here are some of the best alumni of these institutes and their success stories:

Alumni of IITAlumni of NIT
Sachin Bansal, Co-Founder of FlipkartNatarajan Chandrasekaran,Chairman of Tata Sons
Binny Bansal,Co-Founder of FlipkartShyam Srinivasan, CEO of Federal Bank
N. R. Murthy, Co-Founder of InfosysC. P. Gurnani,CEO of Tech Mahindra
Chetan Bhagat, AuthorAkash Khurana, Actor and Screenwriter
Anurag Dikshit, PartyGamingNalini Ranjan Mohanty,Indian bureaucrat
Raghuram Rajan, Professor of Finance
at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Sandip Das,Indian corporate executive

Also Read: Stanford’s World’s Top 2% Scientists Features these 36 IIT Scientists!

Difference 12: Student Experience

One of the most important difference in institutes is the experience that students gain by studying there. Here are some of the student experiences in different institutes of IIT and NIT.

Experience of Students in IITs

Harkirat Singh shares his experience studying in IIT Roorkee for his 4 years of engineering.

Credit: Harkirat Singh

Check out the experience of different women students in IIT across the country and where they are now:

Credit: Insider Gyaan
Experience of Students in NITs

Check out the experience of students at NIT Trichy

Credit: Put Chutney

Students from NIT Silchar share their experience joining the institute as a Fresher

Credit: Sumit DT

Hence, we hope that this blog has helped you explore the pros and cons as well as a balanced comparison of IIT vs NIT. If you are aspiring to study Engineering or a specialisation in Technology, sign up for a free 30-minute career counselling session with our Leverage Edu experts and we will guide in making the right choice in terms of course and university as well as sorting out the admission process to get you successfully shortlisted.

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