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Academic Collaborations

Manipal University in Karnataka has partnered with different U.S. institutions to provide its students opportunities to study abroad and live in a multicultural environment. 

Established in the 1950’s, Manipal University is a private research university located in Manipal, Karnataka. The campus enrolls nearly 30,000 students from more than 55 nations. Manipal University is famous for its programs in medicine, engineering, health science, dentistry, life science, design studies and architecture. In addition to its main campus in Manipal, the university has branches in Mangalore and Bengaluru, and a campus in Jaipur. It also has a global presence with full campuses in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Melaka, Malaysia; Pokhara, Nepal; and Antigua, West Indies.

The Office of International Affairs & Collaborations at Manipal University has successfully built ties with renowned universities across the globe by organizing academic twinning programs in all areas of study, including joint and dual degree arrangements, faculty scholar exchange programs, and short- and long-term study abroad and student exchange programs.

Ramjee B., director of International Collaborations, spoke to SPAN about Manipal University’s collaboration with institutions in the United States, particularly in the area of medicine and engineering. Excerpts from an interview.


What type of academic associations does Kasturba Medical College of Manipal University have with the University of Chicago, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and The University of Alabama?

The type of academic associations which we have with each of these three universities relates to medical sciences. We are on the forefront of medical research in India, especially in the fields of clinical embryology, medical genetics, clinical virology and microbiology. We are also one of the established centers in India and sponsored by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, for research into tropical diseases. Additionally, we collaborate with the W.H.O. for influenza reference and research. Students from Europe and the U.S. come to our hospitals in Manipal and Mangalore to do rotations in a variety of areas including public health, surgery, ophthalmology, urology, hematology, infectious diseases, sports medicine and geriatric medicine.

Our ongoing collaboration with the University of Chicago involves faculty exchanges between the two institutions. Faculty from [the University of] Chicago teaches a variety of courses to our medical students on our campus. The goal is to establish core courses in clinical pathophysiology and therapeutics, as well as a course in diagnostic reasoning using symptom-to-diagnosis approach.

Under this arrangement, our university sends core medical faculty to [the University of] Chicago to observe the use of symptom-to-diagnosis cases, urgent care and use of standardized patients in evaluation.

With the University of Mississippi Medical Center, we had collaborated in the field of health scientific research and developed techniques in the treatment of cancer and related illnesses to radiation oncology. Faculty members and students were exchanged for short-term and long-term research, with the cost being shared jointly by the two universities. With the successful completion of this project, we are examining other areas of potential research with this institution.

Similarly, with The University of Alabama, we had conducted joint research pertaining to recumbent patient weighing system for emergency care.


Please tell us about the undergraduate international engineering twinning programs offered at Manipal University in collaboration with different foreign universities?

In its 23rd year of existence, the International Centre for Applied Sciences (ICAS), Manipal University, has been facilitating a unique International Transfer Program. Under this program, the students can complete their first two years of study in Manipal University, India. The following two years can then be pursued at a premium university in the country of their choice, like the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, Canada and France by transferring their credits obtained from first two years of study. This unique program is made possible by adopting all the teaching and evaluation methods followed by universities abroad, thus enabling an easy transfer to any foreign university. On completion of the program, the student can obtain an engineering degree awarded by the partner international university.

Additionally, it provides the students the flexibility of choosing or changing their branch or major area of specialization after entering the program at the host foreign institution. For example, a student who has opted for mechanical branch may change to aircraft or automotive streams, and a student who has opted for electrical and electronics during the first two years at Manipal [University] may change over to biomedical or communication streams in the last two years.


How have you benefited from collaborations with U.S. institutions?

The ever-changing global economy of the 21st century and shifting political and economic waves worldwide emphasize the need for intercultural understanding and education. While in the past, the focus of such multicultural training has been on preparing individuals to work in a new cultural environment after their formal education, the need of the hour is to make such a training an integral part of the academic curriculum. This highlights the multinational or multicultural environments in which institutions explicitly or implicitly operate these days, making it incumbent on the part of a fresh young graduate to be well prepared for today’s operating environment of organizations with global focus.

Thus, our students have immensely benefited from being exposed to not only foreign cultures by traveling abroad, but also to multiculturalism endemic to and evident in our main campus, with close to 30,000 full-time students from about 60 different countries staying on campus for an extended period of time. In addition, the student exchanges for a semester or less—number close to 1,000—add to the richness of our cultural diversity. These students provide the necessary environment for our students to benefit from learning and appreciating different languages, religions, customs and diverse viewpoints.

The faculty exchanges have resulted in cross-cultural synergies in the form of cutting-edge research, better teaching practices, improved curriculum rigor, and opportunities for transfer of knowledge and technology.

Natasa Milas is a freelance writer based in New York City.