Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Degrees

Ph.D. FAQ

1. What fields of research can I do my 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 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. Are MBBS/ BVSc/ BPharm/ BTech degrees eligible for the Ph.D. programme?
Bachelor degrees in professional courses are eligible for our Biology Ph.D. programme, both at DBS (Mumbai) and NCBS (Bangalore). Students with diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply, and do very well in our programme. Biology is an increasingly flexible field, where people switch areas even after their Ph.D., choosing to pursue post-doctoral research in completely different areas of Biology. Background is not a constraining factor in Biological Research.

4. I am a Chemistry or Physics M.Sc., I want to do 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.

Students who are interested in applying to our 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.