MTech in Computer Science and Engineering at NIT Calicut

I received around half a dozen enquiries from the GATE qualifiers this time and last time, on how good/bad the MTech CSE course at NIT Calicut is. That prompted me to writing a blog on that, so that people can find answers to their queries on their own. Internally, Dept. of CSE is known as CSED, and is one of the coolest – or rather, the coolest – departments of NITC. The term ‘coolest’ is attributed to it because of the academic freedom and cordial relationship that the department and members of the faculty keeps with their students. Certain things are better not explained, but experienced. Anyone who is a passout from CSED would admit this fact, I believe.

You might want to read this post as well:

NITC Diwali

NITC Rajpath on a Diwali eve (courtesy: Vysakh Karthikeyan-BTech 2009-13, NITC)

Views expressed here are completely personal, and hence may be read with that in mind. For official information, please check with  Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, NITC.

About me: I’m Arunanand T A, an alumnus of Dept. of CSE, NITC. I belong to MTech CSE (IS) 2011-13 batch.

This might give you an overall idea about the MTech programme regulations at NITC:

NITC Entrance

NITC Entrance



What GATE Rank is Required?

There are two branches in Department of Computer Science and Engineering for MTech students to choose from: CSE and CSE (Information Security). Ideally, CSE branch requires better ranks and scores compared to CSE (IS). It would be difficult to predict what would be the closing score any year, but the following chart might give you an idea. Thanks to and

 Table 1: GATE Score Cutoff – Fourth Round of Allotment – CCMT 2014 – NIT Calicut

CSE 723 624 498 344
CSE (IS) 710 609 481 329 418

 Table 2: GATE Score Cutoff – Second Round of Allotment – CCMT 2013 – NIT Calicut


















CSE Department NITC

CSE Department NITC

During Admission

Make sure that you have all the required documents as prescribed in the CCMT website. Do make sure that the income/non-creamy layer certificates are valid (obsolete certificates may forfeit your admission if you are looking for admission in reserved categories). Make sure that you have your DD well in advance. Taking the DD after reaching the campus might be time consuming, as it will be too hectic at the bank that day. Have all of your certificates be xeroxed and attested by a gazetted officer, and be kept for your own further use, as your originals will be kept at the NITC office.

If you believe that you stand a chance for spot admission, never hesitate to make it here.

You will undergo institute familiarisation programme as well as departmental programme. Do ask your queries during these events, if you have any. Make sure that you attend all of these.

What is the Difference Between CSE and CSE (IS)?

Well, that’s an easy question to answer. There is no much of a difference between the two, except for a core course. In the first semester, there are three core courses to undergo, out of which Algorithm is compulsory for CSE, while Foundations of Information Security is for CSE (IS). Nevertheless, Algorithm is an optional for CSE (IS) and Foundations of Information Security is for CSE. That way, it does not make much of a difference, as you can choose any combination you want. The difference is that, the CSE (IS) student would compulsorily choose the FIS course. I know some of my classmates who fall to different branches, but have same set of courses undergone at the end of the MTech programme.

Internally, CSE is known as CSA, and CSE (IS) is known as CSB for easy communication. Course name-wise, CSE is CS61, and CSE (IS) is CS62.

NIT Calicut

NIT Calicut (Courtesy: Manu VT, NITC alumnus-cum-faculty member)

How Will It Affect My Placement?

In general, the name of the branches won’t affect your placements at all. I can see that there is above 90% placements for MTech CSE/CSE (IS) students in last few years. In my year, i.e. 2013, the average salary was higher for CSE (IS) students too. Please check with Training and Placement Cell of NITC for official information on this.

In my batch, the average salary for both CSE and CSE (IS) were above 8 Lakhs per annum (without considering overseas offer). We had one overseas offer for Tijo Jose from Google Inc., which was 105K USD per annum (read more here:, considering which the average salary would be way more than that.

Companies simply do not classify you based on the branch name. Both the branches are treated alike, except for two or three companies. Only those very few companies demand that only CSE or CSE (IS) may sit for placements depending on the nature of their work. If I remember correctly, one company allowed only CSE (IS) to sit for placements, while two allowed only CSE. Rest of the companies allowed all of us.

This link might help:



Listen to Some Testimonials on CSED Life





What Courses Will I Get to Take?

That might change year after year, and new courses might get added too, depending on the availability of professors and visiting professors. But in general the following trend may be assumed:

First Semester (as in my batch)


Core Courses


Algorithms and Complexity, Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science, Software Systems Laboratory


Foundations of Information Security, Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science, Software Systems Laboratory

Optional Courses: Algorithms and Complexity (For CSE-IS), Foundations of Information Security (For CSE), Compiler Design, Computer Architecture, Pattern Recognition, Distributed Computing, Graph Theory, etc.

The courses may have quizzes (small tests announced in advance or conducted in surprise), two mid sem tests per semester, assignments (you will not get a chance to write something like you might have done during your BTech days. You will have to code), presentations (seminars, you can call it), term paper (kinda review/research/technical paper) and an end semester examination. Not all of these, except the mid sem and end sem exams which are mandatory, might be there for every courses.

Golden Rule: Make sure that you never copy. The department has plagiarism checkers, and once you are caught copying, you are done! The department has zero tolerance to such malpractices. There had been instances where some students were given ZERO for copying the assignments, especially in the Software Systems Laboratory. This might give you an idea: My professor, Dr. Vinod Pathari, always used to say this: You can help your friends. But when you start conversing in Perl, Python, etc., there is a problem. Do converse in English. Never share the code. This is a golden rule throughout your life at CSED, NITC.

Mark Distribution: Every subject (we call it course) carries 100 marks. Ideally, the two midsems together holds 30 marks, assignments 20 and the end semester 50.  This is a general rule, and might vary from faculty to faculty. Be glad that there’s no marks for attendance 😛 But trust me, you would never want to miss the lectures. When attendance is not made compulsory, you will feel to attend the classes 😀

Software Systems Laboratory (SS Lab): This is a core course for both the branches. This has been incorporated to keep the students acquainted with programming. In the first semester, you might find it difficult to manage time at the beginning because of this lab. You will be given assignments periodically. In last few years, there had been assignments on Python, Perl, Shell programming, Web Development (JSP or any other OOP-based language), LaTeX/Beamer, etc. Trust me, this lab is gonna help you like anything, especially during your placements. There will be evaluation of each assignment, being carried out by second year MTech students (who are known as TAs – Teaching Assistants – are the ones who scored the highest in SS Lab the previous year), PhD scholars, and members of the faculty. Following the evaluation, there will be a tutorial based on the assignment, too.

When you start your classes, there could be a small test conducted for this lab in the beginning itself, where you will be asked to code a particular program/snippet. You can code it in any language of your choice. You may be given a simple algorithm (or sometimes may not be given) and just code it. This is for testing how good you are at programming. These will be simple questions like In-order traversal, checking the loops in a linked list, or the like (this is just an example; it can be anything but simple ones).

Second Semester

All the courses are optional. Normally, students need to choose 5-6 courses in this semester, based on the credits they already hold. Around 9-10 courses may be offered in this semester from which they need to select their optionals. General trend is like this:

Database Design, Cryptography/Advanced Topics in Information Security, Multicore Systems, Operating System Design, Image Processing, Bioinformatics, Topics in Programming Languages, Fuzzy Set Theory and Applications, Advanced Topics in Graph Theory, Topics in Database Design, Advanced Topics in Information Security.



Third and Fourth Semesters

If you have at least 40 credits in your basket by the end of the first year, then the entire second year is for your thesis work. The project work is done solely, and you will have a thesis guide of your choice. For this, you may approach a member of the faculty of your choice well in advance and talk about your priorities.

Teaching Assistantship: As you know, all the GATE qualifiers are given a stipend (currently Rs. 8000/- per month). This is for Teaching Assistantship (TA). Considering the load in the first year, CSED has waived the first years of taking up the TA duty. But all the second MTech students will have to assist faculty in laboratories, exam halls, assignment evaluations, etc.

The following figures might make it clear for you (courtesy:

Curriculum for NITC MTech CSE

Curriculum for NITC MTech CSE

Curriculum for NITC MTech CSE-IS

Curriculum for NITC MTech CSE-IS

For more information on Curriculum, visit the following links:

PG Hostel at NITC (known as New Faculty Apartments for the time being)

PG Hostel at NITC (known as New Faculty Apartments for the time being)

How’s this Credit Thing?

If you are not from grading scheme in your UG, you might find the GPA format a bit different in the beginning. But it is easy to understand. In total, you need 60 credits for the MTech degree to be awarded. Courses are of 3 or 4 credits each (all the courses offered by CSED are of 4 credits, while some offered by Dept. of Mathematics are of 3 credits). The entire thesis work holds 20 credits (8 in Sem. III, and 12 in Sem. IV). So, you need 40 credits from the theory/lab courses.

As a direct math, 40 courses can be had from ten 4-credit courses. That means, you will need to take 5 courses each in first and second semester. In the first semester, you have three compulsory courses, and then you will have to opt for two electives to make it five. In the second semester, you can choose five electives. That makes it ten. And the credit is 40 now. Adding up the credits for the project, it makes 60. Graduated!

But it is not mandatory to take five in the first semester (anyway, three courses are mandatory). You can make it four, or six or seven depending on your manageability level and availability of course slots. But normally, students seem to follow this 5+5 scheme to keep things in hand. It’s highly advised not to take up more than 5 courses in the first semester, given the SS Lab is gonna consume most of your time. The same may apply to second semester also.

Suppose you took one Math subject, say Fuzzy Set Theory, in the first semester. That course is of 3 credits, and hence you will have 19 credits in the first semester. Suppose you tool five 4-credit courses in the second semester too. But at the end of the year, you will have 39 credits in your basket. This will make you short of credits by one, and thus you will have to take another course to make it at least 40. You can do this extra course during your third semester. If that extra course is of 3 credits, you will hev 42 credits in your basket, and if it is of 4 credits, you will have 43 credits in total. That does not make a difference. 40 is the minimum. If you have 40 or 45, it does not matter.

I strongly advise you to go by your interest. Never let your interests down looking at the credits. I mean, if you like Fuzzy Set Theory or Graph Theory, do not hesitate to take them up. Your interest matters. In every batch, there are students who opt for 3-credit courses out of their interest. Don’t worry, it is never gonna affect your placements in any manner.

How Does the Grading Work?

Ideally, the grading (except possibly the Thesis and SSLab) will be of comparative in nature. It is called relative grading. That is, the performance of the students is compared, and the best performer gets the best grade, and on the basis of order of performance, the order of grading is done. A course has the following grades:
















0 (Failure)

You may be awarded any of the grades above for a course. If the grade is I, that means, your result is withheld for some reason. Now, your GPA for a semester is calculated as given below:


Let’s take an example. Suppose, you took five courses in the first semester. Suppose you got the grades as: A, A, B, S, D. Let that grade B is for a 3-credit course, and all others for 4-credit courses. As you know, the score for these grades are 9, 9, 8, 10, 6 respectively. Hence, the SGPA (Semester Grade Point Average) for that semester can be calculated as:


Thus, suppose you have SGPAs in the four semesters, as: 8.42, 9, 8, 8.5. Let the credits in those semesters be 19, 20, 11, 12. Then the CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average), is calculated as:


Thus, you have the following CGPA:


For placements, you should have at least a CGPA of 7 or above. Yet some companies might allow 6.5+ depending on their policy. A CGPA of 8+ is always safe for placements, as there are companies who demand 8 CGPA for sitting for placements (they are less in number though).

CGPA of 8 and above is equivalent to First Class with Distinction. CGPA of 6.5 and above but below 8 is First Class, and CGPA below 6.5 is Second Class. You need at least CGPA of 5 to gain a pass.

How Good are the Faculty Members?

Well, this list is a talking document of the qualifications of NITC CSED faculty: Have a look at their alma mater, publications and research contribution.

As I do not want to increase the length of this post, read this:

You might want to read this also:

Read why CSED

Faculty at CSED NITC

Faculty at CSED NITC



How Much is the Fee?

The fees is like this: In the odd semesters (i.e. I and III), you will have to pay close to Rs. 20,000/-. In the even semesters, it will be around Rs. 17,000/-. During admission, there will be some more amount to be paid, which comes around another Rs. 5000/-. Apart from this, you will have to give a caution deposit of Rs. 11,000/- towards hostel fees, out of which Rs. 8,000/- is refundable. Please check the official website for authentic information in this regard.

Apart from this, you will need to pay donations for Ragam (cultural festival) and Tathva (technical festival). This might come around Rs. 1200/- putting together. The food in the mess might cost around Rs. 2000/- per month.

Update: There was a piece of news in The Hindu daily, that the fees at NITs may be increased soon. Attaching the snapshot of the news below. The original piece can be seen at:

Nod to raise tuition fees in NITs The Hindu

Courtesy: The Hindu

However, given the MHRD stipend for TAship, i.e. Rs. 8000/- per month, you will not find it difficult to cover all these expenses on your own. Calicut (aka Kozhikode) is not such an expensive city. You can manage on your own, without any education loans (the fees paid during admission is the only thing you will have to manage from home). Please note that the first stipend will be released by the month of November or so (which will be the sum of all stipends from your admission month till date). Hence till, the first release, you will have to adjust from your pocket money. From then, you will get the stipend every month. Note that you will have to sign the attendance record kept at the department, twice a day, on all working days to get the stipend.

Make sure that you have CGPA of at least 6 after every semester. That makes you eligible for full stipend, or else you may lose half or full of the stipend. You will have to open an SB account in the REC branch of SBI (which is in the college campus itself) for the stipend to be credited into.

NITC Academic Block

NITC Academic Block

How’s the Climate?

Kerala is well known for its climate. You might be welcome by heavy rain during your admission. Kerala has moderate temperature all the time, but half the year it will be raining. Hence an umbrella is required. Summer is not so hot (at max 38 degree celsius), but humidity is a bit high and hence you might sweat. Winter is also moderate  (minimum close to 20 degree celsius) that you can manage without special cloths.

Make sure that you visit the nearby tourist places, when you are at NITC. You will like it the best. Some places to visit are: Wayanad, Kakkayam, Munnar, Thekkady, Alappuzha/Alappey and Kumarakom, Kovalam and Kanyakumari. Normally, there would be picnics organized by MTech students in CSED every year (not official ones, though).

You will have two months’ vacation during May-June. But MTech students are not supposed to go home, as they have to sign the attendance registers for the stipend. This period is supposed to be utilized for preparations of the thesis work. However, if your guide/Dean (Acad) approves, you can go home for a short period of time.

Premise of the NITC Campus

Premise of the NITC Campus

How’s the Food?

Well, we have Kerala, South Indian and North Indian Messes at NITC. Hence you would not find it difficult to manage. But do not expect mom-cooked northie food in the mess. They are manageable, like in any NITs and IITs. Just. You will find good north Indian food in restaurants in Calicut also.

NITC Rajpath

NITC Rajpath

You cannot cook by yourself. That’s not allowed at NITC. Apart from the messes, one main canteen, one  mini canteen, and one mirco canteen are also available in the campus. Out of the campus, there are enough number of restaurants available too.



Facilities at the Hostel

You will be given spacious rooms with cots. You will have to buy the bed and pillow of your own. Currently, the mega hostel is being constructed, and hence the PG students are being accommodated at the New Faculty Apartments, which are more like flats. There will be three rooms each, and don’t worry you will be comfortable there. Internet facility is being given to the second year PGs, and not to the first years yet. Negotiations are being done for the same. Purified water is also availble. This block is just 800m away from the main block, and is in the campus itself. There are two-three bathrooms in each flat.

NITC MTech Hostels

NITC MTech Hostels

Student Activities

Visit the Activities tab of:

NITC CSED Sweatshirts

NITC CSED Sweatshirts

NITC MTech CSE Freshers Day

NITC MTech CSE Freshers Day | Yea, we have one too 🙂

How to Reach?

If you are coming by flight, just take a taxi. It must cost not more than Rs. 900/-. If you are coming by train, get down at Calicut (aka Kozhikode) railway station, and then take a taxi. This might cost you Rs. 600/- at max. If you prefer to catch a bus after alighting the train, then proceed to Palayam Bus Stand (also known as Old Bus Stand). For this, it is better to take an auto from the railway station, which might cost you Rs. 15/-. Then take the Mukkam bus from there. Mukkam is a place near NITC. Actually, NITC is amidst Palayam and Mukkam. Don’t worry, the buses will have boards with NIT or REC written on them. You won’t find it difficult to identify them. The cost of bus ticket is Rs. 16/- per head. Get down at NIT/REC bus stop.


NITC Official Website:

NITC CSED Website:

CSE Association Website:

NITC ACM Student Chapter:

CSED Wiki:

NITC on Facebook (not official):

CSE Association on Facebook:

NITC on Wikipedia:

Ragam: |

Tathva: |

This is my batch

NITC MTech CSE 2011-13 Batch

NITC MTech CSE 2011-13 Batch

NITC MTech CSE 2011-13 Batch

NITC MTech CSE 2011-13 Batch

If you have any more specific queries, please drop a comment. I will try my best to answer them.


Arunanand T A