Math, Physics, and Chemistry Remain Important for B. E. and B. Tech

Mar 14, 2021

Just after announcing physics, chemistry, and math (PCM) optional, AICTE declares only specific courses will not require these 3 subjects. Physics, chemistry, and math remain equally important for the core engineering courses

Right after the first announcement was made on making PCM optional, too much controversy was visible. It is the main reason behind the revision of this plan. The earlier notification was withdrawn and a new set of rules were declared. 

What Is in the New Announcement? 

Previously, it was mentioned that physics, chemistry, and math will not be needed to study B. E. or B. Tech courses. This was nonetheless a generic statement. Soon after the announcement a revised statement came from AICTE.

It says candidates who are not selecting core engineering courses are not required to have physics, chemistry, and math in their 10+2 levels.

Now, the term “Core engineering disciples” may create confusion. To clear this, Anil Sahasrabudhe, the chairperson of AICTE mentioned that math and physics remain the most important parts of engineering. Especially, for 7-8 courses including mechanical engineering, computer engineering, here, physics and math remain essential

However, the students willing to take Biotechnology, Textile, or Agriculture Engineering may not have physics, chemistry, and math in high school studies. Yet, they will be eligible for these courses. So, here, Physics, chemistry, and math are completely optional. The students enrolled in these courses will be offered bridge courses from the institution. 

Anil Sahasrabudhe clarified that physics, chemistry, and math are now 'optional' means these subjects are 'optional for specific courses'. AICTE issued handbook 2021-22 includes this information in detail, though it is withdrawn for typographical correction. In a day or two, it will again appear on the website. 

According to AICTE’s new announcement, it is not necessary for State Government and institutions to offer this relaxation right now - they can continue with their existing admission criteria.

Revised Eligibility Criteria for Engineering Courses 

To make the eligibility of engineering courses flexible, 14 new subjects are added. These includes

  • Agriculture
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Business Studies 
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Electronics
  • Engineering Graphics    
  • Entrepreneurship       
  • Informatics Practices
  •  Information Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Technical Vocational subject

Candidates (excluding those who choose the core engineering courses) choosing different courses of engineering need to study any 3 of these subjects in their 10+2 levels.

For example, to study Biotechnology, Textile, or Agriculture Engineering - candidates may not necessarily study physics, chemistry, and math. But, to study mechanical engineering, computer engineering, 2 of the 3 subjects have to be math and physics. 

Bridge courses on Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, Drawing are mandatory for the candidates who did not study physics or chemistry or math in their schools. It widens the path of engineering for candidates from diverse backgrounds. 


Moving on to the score, candidates from the general category will need a 45% score in the qualifying exam, and candidates from the reserved category will need a 40% score

How Relevant is the Change? 

This revised rule of AICTE is aligned with the new National Education Policy (NEP). It is also mentioned that it follows the reform mentioned in NEP. AICTE opines that a huge restriction is removed from the eligibility of engineering by this change

Also, students often have a query “why should we study physics, chemistry, and math when we will not their requirements for the rest of our career?” Now that’s a valid question. Agricultural engineering and many other engineering subjects require a multidisciplinary approach. 

Candidates often wanted to have biology as their subject as they want to go for biotechnology. For all of them, this change is really effective. 

When the New Rule will be Applied?

The institutes may not change their admission guidelines right now, but shortly they will. When this rule is opening a window of opportunity to the candidates, at the same time, it is not forcing the state universities to follow this right now. They are not imposing anything on the institutes. 

Upcoming Plans

AICTE has conducted a survey and found 42% of engineering students of all 4 years agreed that they prefer to have the study in their mother tongue. Majority of the candidates who want lessons in their mother tongue are from Tamil Nadu. 

Next to Tamil, the demands of Hindi, Telugu, Maratha, and Kannada were notable in that survey. But AICTE is not making any decision on it considering how the candidates managed to study everything in English till now.


AICTE revised the plans to make Physics, chemistry, and math (PCM) optional and says that PCM will remain the integral parts of engineering. A few courses may not need these 3 subjects compulsorily. But AICTE does not impose this decision on the institutes and state governments. As a result, admission rules basically remain the same.


Rachita is a content writer with 5+ years of hands-on experience. She is one of those lucky ones who can convert their passion into a full-time profession. Apart from writing, she is a music lover and an amateur guitarist who is always trying for bettering her skills from online lessons. She is a foodie with an intense love for desserts. 

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