Tata Institute of Fundamental Research


Integrated Ph.D. FAQ

1. What fields of research can I do my Integrated Ph.D. research in?
See the webpages for research in biology at DBS and NCBS. Students are allowed to join the laboratory of their choice after doing lab rotations during the first semester. Typically, no laboratory requires prior background in that particular field of research; strong interest and commitment are the only necessary factors. Background is acquired within a few months of joining your laboratory of interest. It is not unusual for students with background in *any* branch of Biology, Physics, or Chemistry, or even Medical, Dentistry, or Veterinary backgrounds, to join a laboratory in a completely different area. These students do very well. We encourage students to follow their interests, rather than consider themselves restricted because of their backgrounds.

2. I would like to know about the written test. What is the syllabus? What is the Interview like?
The Biology Integrated Ph.D. test is held on a specific Sunday in December each year, at centers all over India. Details of how to apply for a Hall ticket will be available on our website and on the NCBS website in September each year. The test consists of multiple choice questions covering *basics only* in physics, chemistry, maths, biology. There is no guide book and no syllabus. No special knowledge or preparation is required. Revise your basics, that is all. The Interview will be based on whatever area you are most interested and most comfortable in.

3. I am a Chemistry or Physics B.Sc., I want to do Integrated Ph.D. in Biology. Should I appear for both the written tests, Chemistry (or Physics) as well as Biology? I am worried that I will not do well in the Biology test.
You can sit for *either* or *both* of the tests, and we will use your best score. For your information, the Biology test has 4 sections on *basics* of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Maths. This is designed so that people from various disciplines can be selected according to their strengths. You will have to apply for two hall tickets and send two separate DDs (one with each application) if you appear for two exams.

4. Can I think of the Integrated Ph.D. programme as an M.Sc. programme (i.e. plan to submit an M.Sc. and leave in 3 years?)
This option will not be available. Integrated Ph.D. students take time doing rotations before they join a lab to start work. Then, they have to submit two project proposals that consume a lot of time. Finally, they are given longer (Ph.D. level) projects that do not wind up in 3 years. Therefore it is not possible to complete a project in 3 years. In our experience, students know very well whether or not they are ready to commit for the full 6 year Integrated Ph.D. programme. If you're not ready to commit, don't apply- the Integrated Ph.D. programme is not for you. If your plans are to do an M.Sc. in TIFR and do your Ph.D. elsewhere, then that's what our M.Sc. programme is designed for.

Students who are interested in applying to our Integrated Ph.D. programme are welcome to email any of our current students via our web page, and ask what you need to know.

If you email faculty members directly, you may not get a reply if the information you need is already contained in our website! This is not because we are not interested in talking to you, but because we get thousands of applications, and it is not possible to answer individually questions that are already answered here.