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Differences Between an IIT and an NIT

Choosing the right engineering college can be a daunting task, especially when faced with two powerhouses like Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs). Both are renowned for their academic excellence, strong alumni networks, and promising career prospects. But delving deeper, subtle differences emerge that might influence your decision. Let’s dissect these institutions across key metrics:

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IITs and NITs have distinct histories. The IITs were established first, with the foundation of IIT Kharagpur in 1951. Over the years, the IIT system expanded, and today there are multiple IITs across the country. On the other hand, NITs were initially known as Regional Engineering Colleges (RECs) and were later rebranded as NITs. The first REC was established in 1959, and the transformation to NITs occurred in 2002.

  • IITs: Boasting state-of-the-art labs, modern libraries, and well-equipped hostels, IITs offer a world-class infrastructure. Many IITs have sprawling campuses with dedicated research facilities and recreational amenities.
  • NITs: While NITs may not match the sheer scale of some IITs, they still possess impressive infrastructure. Upgraded labs, spacious classrooms, and comfortable living quarters are standard across most NITs. Some prominent NITs like Warangal and Surathkal are actively modernizing their infrastructure to bridge the gap.


Both IITs and NITs boast state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities, but there can be variations in scale and amenities. IITs, given their longer history and larger budgets, may have more extensive and advanced facilities. However, NITs have been making significant strides in upgrading their infrastructure to provide a conducive learning environment.


  • IITs: Due to their autonomous status, IITs have higher tuition fees compared to NITs. The annual fee for B.Tech programs can range from ₹1 lakh to ₹5 lakh depending on the program and campus.
  • NITs: Being funded by the central government, NITs offer subsidized tuition fees, making them more financially accessible. The annual fee for B.Tech programs typically falls between ₹20,000 and ₹80,000.

Admission Process

One of the primary differences lies in the admission process. The IITs admit students through the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Advanced, which is considered one of the most challenging engineering entrance exams in the country. NITs, on the other hand, admit students through JEE Main. The JEE Main is relatively less challenging compared to JEE Advanced, making NITs accessible to a broader range of students.

  • IIT: Admissions to IITs are primarily based on the Joint Entrance Examination Advanced (JEE Advanced). Only candidates who qualify in JEE Advanced are eligible for admission to various undergraduate programs offered by IITs.
  • NIT: NITs, on the other hand, admit students based on the Joint Entrance Examination Main (JEE Main) scores. Students who perform well in JEE Main have the opportunity to secure admission to NITs.

While both IITs and NITs offer rigorous academic programs, there might be variations in the curriculum. The specific courses and research opportunities can differ, with some IITs being renowned for certain branches of engineering and technology. Students should carefully examine the curriculum of each institution to ensure it aligns with their academic and career goals.

No. of Institutions

As of 2024, here’s a breakdown of the number of institutions in India for IITs and NITs:

Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs):

  • Total Number: 23

  • List of IITs:

  1. IIT Bombay (IITB)
  2. IIT Delhi (IITD)
  3. IIT Kanpur (IITK)
  4. IIT Kharagpur (IITKGP)
  5. IIT Madras (IITM)
  6. IIT Guwahati (IITG)
  7. IIT Roorkee (IITR)
  8. IIT Bhubaneswar (IITBBS)
  9. IIT Gandhinagar (IITGN)
  10. IIT Hyderabad (IITH)
  11. IIT Jodhpur (IITJ)
  12. IIT Patna (IITP)
  13. IIT Ropar (IITRPR)
  14. IIT Indore (IITI)
  15. IIT Mandi (IITMd)
  16. IIT Palakkad (IITPKD)
  17. IIT Tirupati (IITTP)
  18. IIT Goa (IIT Goa)
  19. IIT Jammu (IIT Jammu)
  20. IIT Dharwad (IIT Dharwad)
  21. ISM Dhanbad (IIT Dhanbad)
  22. IIT Bhilai (IIT Bhilai)
  23. IIT Patna (IITP)

National Institutes of Technology (NITs):

  • Total Number: 31

  • List of NITs:

  1. NIT Andhra Pradesh (NITAP)
  2. NIT Arunachal Pradesh (NIT Arunachal Pradesh)
  3. NIT Bhopal (NIT Bhopal)
  4. NIT Calicut (NIT Calicut)
  5. NIT Delhi (NIT Delhi)
  6. NIT Durgapur (NIT Durgapur)
  7. NIT Hamirpur (NIT Hamirpur)
  8. NIT Jamshedpur (NIT Jamshedpur)
  9. NIT Jalandhar (NIT Jalandhar)
  10. NIT Jaipur (NIT Jaipur)
  11. NIT Karnataka (NIT Karnataka)
  12. NIT Kurukshetra (NIT Kurukshetra)
  13. NIT Mizoram (NIT Mizoram)
  14. NIT Nagpur (NIT Nagpur)
  15. NIT Patna (NIT Patna)
  16. NIT Raipur (NIT Raipur)
  17. NIT Rourkela (NIT Rourkela)
  18. NIT Silchar (NIT Silchar)
  19. NIT Srinagar (NIT Srinagar)
  20. NIT Surathkal (NIT Surathkal)
  21. NIT Tiruchirappalli (NIT Tiruchirappalli)
  22. NIT Warangal (NIT Warangal)
  23. NIT Jamshedpur (NIT Jamshedpur)
  24. Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) Bhopal
  25. Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT) Allahabad
  26. Veer Surendra Nath Institute of Technology (VSNIT) Surat
  27. Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad Institute of Technology (MAKAZIT) Jaipur
  28. National Institute of Technology Puducherry (NIT Puducherry)
  29. Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology Jalandhar (NIT Jalandhar)
  30. National Institute of Technology Goa (NIT Goa)
  31. National Institute of Technology Arunachal Pradesh (NIT Arunachal Pradesh)

Remember, both IITs and NITs are premier institutions offering high-quality education in engineering and technology. Choosing the right one depends on factors like your entrance exam scores, preferred branch, desired location, and financial considerations.

Coding Culture

  • IITs: IITs foster a vibrant coding culture, with dedicated coding clubs, hackathons, and competitive programming events. This environment nurtures technical expertise and prepares students for careers in software development and data science.
  • NITs: NITs are catching up in the coding culture race, with several institutes establishing coding clubs and hosting coding competitions. The focus on the practical application of programming skills is increasing, making NIT graduates attractive to tech companies.


The alumni network of an institution can play a crucial role in a student’s career. IITs generally have a more extensive and established alumni network, which can open doors to various opportunities. When it comes to placements, both IITs and NITs have impressive records, with top companies recruiting from both sets of institutions. However, specific companies may have a preference for recruiting from either IITs or NITs based on historical associations.

  • IITs: IITs boast exceptional placement records, with top companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and McKinsey & Company actively recruiting graduates. Average salaries offered to IIT graduates can often exceed ₹30 lakh per annum.
  • NITs: NITs also have strong placement records, with major recruiters like TCS, Infosys, Wipro, and Accenture offering promising opportunities. While average salaries might be slightly lower than IITs, top NITs like Trichy and Surathkal can reach impressive levels exceeding ₹30 lakh per annum.

Beyond the Metrics

Choosing between an IIT and an NIT goes beyond these statistics. Consider factors like:

  • Your Admission Rank: Entrance exams like JEE Main and JEE Advanced determine your eligibility for various institutes. Aim for colleges within your realistic rank range.
  • Desired Branch and Location: Specific branches might have better placement prospects in certain institutes. Consider your preferred location and its proximity to potential job markets.
  • Alumni Network: Both IITs and NITs boast strong alumni networks that can provide career guidance and mentorship. Research the alumni strength of your preferred colleges.

Ultimately, the “better” institution depends on your priorities and aspirations. By carefully evaluating these factors and researching specific institutes, you can make an informed decision that paves the way for a successful engineering career.

Remember: Both IITs and NITs offer excellent opportunities for academic and professional growth. Choose the one that resonates with your goals and aspirations, and work hard to make the most of your experience.


In conclusion, while both IITs and NITs are prestigious institutions, prospective students should carefully consider their individual preferences, academic goals, and career aspirations. Each institution has its unique strengths, and the choice between an IIT and an NIT should align with the student’s vision for their educational journey and future endeavors.



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