TIFR
Department of Chemical Sciences
School of Natural Sciences

Graduate Program Guidelines

The following guidelines are in force since August 2015 and are applicable for those who intend to obtain Ph.D.  and Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. degree from TIFR through the Chemistry Subject Board

In August 2015, the Chemistry Subject Board started Integrated M. Sc.-Ph. D. programme, in addition to the regular Ph. D. programme.An M. Sc., an M. Tech., a B. E. or a B. Tech. degree is the basic requirement for admission to the Ph. D. degree programme. B. Sc. graduates in any field of science are eligible for admission to the Integrated M. Sc.-Ph. D. programme. All students are selected through the TIFR Research Scholars' admission procedure and admitted to the Institute as graduate students. Annual progress of these students is monitored by the Chemistry Subject Board or a similar body located in centres outside the Colaba campus.

Graduate Programme

At present, Ph. D. and Integrated M. Sc.-Ph. D. programmes are conducted by the Chemistry Subject Board.  The Integrated M.Sc.-Ph. D. programme is for the students joining the graduate programme with a B. Sc. as their highest degree.  The Ph.D. programme is for those joining the graduate programme with an M. Sc., a B. E. or a B.Tech. as their highest degree.  Keeping their future prospect of employability in Indian universities in mind, however, the candidates with a B.E./B.Tech. degree may wish to opt for the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme at the time of joining the Institute for earning an M. Sc. degree.  Later requests from them for obtaining an M.Sc. degree will not be entertained. 

Course Structure

The Graduate course structure for fulfilling the requirements of Ph. D. and Integrated M. Sc.-Ph. D. degrees has regular classroom lecture courses, short projects and written theses.  All regular courses of one semester long carry 4 credit points.  Short courses, generally taught during July, carry 2 credit points.  All semester-long projects carry 12 credit points, except the project on “Experimental Techniques (Laboratory visits)”, offered during August-December, which carries 10 credit points.  A project work and associated final presentation for the M. Sc. component of the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. candidates carries 24 credit points.  Click here to see the various grade points used for evaluating courses and projects.

A student may request the Course instructor for an exemption, if the student thinks that he/she is well versed with the course. The instructor, at his/her own discretion, may give a comprehensive test on the proposed course to grant the desired exemption. The minimum passing marks for the comprehensive test will be 65%. Qualified student may be given credit for the course without requiring to attend the classes.

Requirements for registration for the Ph.D. degree

During the first year a student will have to complete 6 lecture courses, 1 laboratory course, and 1 project, and a short course, which is generally taught in July. The first project (called Project-A) will have to be carried out during the second semester of the first year.  The second project (called Project-B) will have to be completed in the 3rd semester (i.e., in the first half of the 2nd year). Under no circumstances will Project-A and Project-B be done with the same supervisor.

The supervisors for Project-A shall be regular faculty members of the centres, with which the students are normally associated.  For the students at DCS, Colaba, the faculty members of DCS, and for students at TCIS, Hyderabad, the deemed chemistry faculty members of TCIS will be the guides.  Students will choose the topic of Project-B and its guide in consultation with their Ph. D. guides (see Section 2), and register the same with the CSB or the similar body at TCIS, for approval.

By completing these courses and projects the students will earn a total of 60 credit points (see Time Lines).  Those students admitted to the regular Ph.D. programme will then be eligible to register for the Ph. D. degree in Chemistry. 

Students admitted to the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme will require 100 credit points be eligible to register for the Ph.D. degree in Chemistry. In addition to the courses and projects covered by the regular Ph.D. students (amounting to 60 credits mentioned above), the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D students will be required to complete four additional courses approved by the CSB and also to work towards a research project, which will contribute to an M. Sc. thesis.  During this project, the students may wish to extend the research work undertaken during Project-A or Project-B. This project is expected to start 1.5 years (after the third semester) from the student joining date and the duration of this project is set to be 1 year. On completion of the research project, the candidates will give a research seminar describing their work, which will be evaluated and graded by a departmental academic committee. Taken together, the four extra courses (16 credits) and a successful project seminar presentation will give the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D.students additional 40 credit points (apart from 60 credit points from regular Ph.D. courses/projects) and make them eligible to register for their Ph.D. degree in chemistry.  Subsequently, these students will write an M.Sc. thesis, based on their master’s project, which will be evaluated jointly by an external expert and the master’s thesis supervisor, and defended by the candidate in an open seminar, followed by an oral examination. While no specific time limit is imposed on the candidate to submit this thesis, it must be completed before the candidate submits the Ph. D. thesis for evaluation. The research work carried out for the M. Sc. thesis shall not be included in the Ph. D. thesis

Click here to see the credit requirements for the graduate courses and projects.  In addition, both the programmes require candidates to undertake a comprehensive research project leading to a written Ph. D. thesis, which will be evaluated by a team of two external experts and the thesis supervisor, defended by the candidate in an open seminar, followed by an oral examination.

All research scholars admitted to the graduate programme in Chemistry are expected to take the courses and projects offered by the regular faculty members of the centres, with which the students are normally associated.  If any exception is sought by a research scholar, the specific request must be made to the Convener, Chemistry Subject board, for approval before the commencement of the course or the project.

Time Lines (tentative)

August 1st week (First Semester) : Courses begin
Dec. 15 (First Semester) : Laboratory Course Seminars
Dec. 3rd week (First Semester) : End of courses and examinations
Dec 31 (First Semester) : Last date for submission of Faculty interaction form and Project-A option form
End of First Semester
Jan. 3rd week (Second Semester) : Courses and Project-A begin
May 2nd week (Second Semester) : End of courses and project-A and exams
May 31 (Second Semester) :

Last date for selection of Ph.D. guide and Registration of Project-B (for 3rd Semester)

July 1-July 31 (Second Semester) : Short course (mandatory), whenever announced
July 31 (Second Semester) : End of Second Semester
August 1 (Third Semester) : Project-B begins
Dec. 3rd week (Third Semester) : End of Project-B and evaluation seminar
December 31 (Third Semester) : End of Third Semester
January 3rd week (Fourth Semester) : M.Sc. Research Project begins

Students should register for the Ph.D. degree as soon as they complete the requisite total of 60 credit points (for regular Ph.D. students) or 100 credit points (for Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. students) See section 2.1. 

Examination Passing Criteria

Minimum passing marks in every course/project is 50%. Students not passing in a particular course or a project will be required to repeat the same in the next available opportunity. Students failing in more than 1 course or project (for regular Ph.D. students) or 2 courses or projects (for Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. students) during the course work period will have to leave the graduate programme.  If a student fails to pass a course or a project even in the second attempt, he/she will have to leave the graduate programme.

Selection of Ph.D. and M.Sc. Guides

All students must decide his/her Ph. D. guide before May 31 of the first year and inform the Chemistry Subject Board accordingly (see Section 2.2).

Choosing a Ph. D. or an M.Sc. guide is a responsibility of the research scholars. Any Faculty member of TIFR can in principle serve as a guide for the student, so long as the subject/project of the thesis is approved by the CSB.  A student can be registered with an academic staff member as a guide who has at least 3 years of service before retirement, from the date of registration.  Faculty members who have less than 3 years of service before retirement can be a guide only if a co-guide is identified who would be responsible for the completion of the research project and be able to take over as a regular guide, once the original guide retires.  Allocation of the Ph. D. guide will primarily be based on the choice of the student, but two students of the same batch wishing to join the same Guide for Ph. D. will not be generally approved.  The names of Faculty members who may accept student in a given year will be informed to the students in the first semester.  A Faculty member will generally accept only one student from a given batch.  A second student will be allowed to join a Faculty member who has already accepted one student of the same batch, only if there are no other Faculty members available as guides for the student and the concerned Faculty member agrees to accept two students. If a student fails to select a Ph. D. guide as per the guidelines of the Subject Board, then he/she will have to leave the graduate programme. The guide for the M.Sc. thesis may either be the Ph.D. guide of the student, or any other faculty member to be decided in consultation with the Ph.D. guide and approved by the CSB.

Thesis Monitoring Committee (TMC)

Every Ph. D. student will have a thesis monitoring committee (TMC), to be constituted after they register for the Ph.D. programme. This committee will consist of the thesis guide and at least two other Faculty members. The student should have regular interactions (minimum TWO meetings in a year) with the TMC and a formal report of the thesis committee on the progress of the student will be required for consideration of extension of the Research Scholarship of the student at the end of each academic year. Click here for the format to be used for writing the progress report of the student.  Each registered doctoral student will also be required to give at least one Departmental Seminar before May 31 in each Academic year.

Registration for Ph.D. and Submission of Thesis

Once the course and project requirements are completed and the students have earned 60 credits (regular Ph.D. students) or 100 credits (Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. students), they are allowed to register with the University Cell for Ph. D. degree, after a specific area of work for the Ph.D. thesis has been mutually agreed upon between the student and the thesis supervisor.  The registration is done by filling out a prescribed form, listing the name of the student, a tentative title of the proposed thesis, a brief outline of the proposed work, co-signed by the thesis supervisor, and the Convener of the Chemistry Subject Board. 

In case a candidate wishes to change the title of the thesis after registration, it may be done at the time of submission of synopsis by notifying the Chemistry Subject Board. 

The minimum period between the date of joining and the submission of the synopsis will be 2 years. The period between the submission of synopsis and the submission of thesis should not exceed 6 months.  The student must have at least one paper, as a main contributor, accepted for publication in a scientific journal before submission of the synopsis of the Ph. D. thesis.  The details of the procedure for the submission of the Ph. D. synopsis to the University Cell can be found here.

Students admitted to the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme will start their M.Sc. research project in the beginning of the 4th semester and register their project by filling out a prescribed form, listing the name of the student, a tentative title of the proposed thesis, a brief outline of the proposed work, co-signed by the M.Sc project supervisor, and the Convener of the Chemistry Subject Board. The students are required to write a brief project report and successfully present the research work in a seminar after one year of registration.  Subsequently, they will submit a synopsis and a written thesis of their work. The synopsis will be evaluated by a three-member committee, constituted by the CSB, subsequent to which an external examiner will be appointed.  Both the external examiner and the M. Sc. guide will evaluate the thesis.  The candidate will then give an open seminar describing the work, and defend the thesis. The details of the procedure for the submission of the M. Sc. synopsis to the University Cell can be found here.

Award of Ph. D. degree

After the successful completion of 60 credit points, the Ph. D. thesis and its defense by the candidate in a seminar and oral examination, a provisional Ph. D. degree certificate will be issued by the University Cell.

Award of M. Sc. and Ph.D. degrees

After the successful completion of 100 credit points, the M.Sc. thesis and its defense and the Ph.D. thesis and its defense by the candidate in a seminar and oral examination, provisional M. Sc. and Ph. D. degree certificates will be issued by the University Cell.  In exceptional cases, an M.Sc. degree alone may be awarded.  See Provision of leaving the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme with an M.Sc. degree .

Provision of leaving the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme with an M.Sc. degree 

The students admitted to the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme are normally expected to work towards fulfilling the requirements for the dual degrees. If some students, however, wish to leave the graduate programme with an M. Sc. degree, they are permitted to do so after a minimum period of 3 years of stay. After the successful completion of 100 credit points, the M.Sc. thesis and its defense, a provisional M. Sc. degree certificate will be issued by the University Cell. Students wising leave the graduate programme with an M.Sc. degree are required to give a written notice of their intention, before the end of second year.  This will have ramification on their scholarship as per the extant rules of the Institute.

If the performance of a student admitted to the Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme is found to be unsatisfactory over a prolonged period, but at the same time the student has earned the 100 credit points and successfully completed the M.Sc. thesis, the student may be relieved from the Graduate programme after awarding him/her an M.Sc. degree. 

Code of Conduct

The students must refrain from any kind of academic misconduct. The following acts constitute an academic misconduct: copying of answer sheets either in examination or home-work assignments, absenteeism from classes, fabrication or falsification of data/results, plagiarism, etc.  By no means is this list exhaustive.  The acts listed above and any act that is not listed here but perceived as an academic misconduct by the CSB will invite disciplinary action, including expulsion of the students engaged in such acts.

Any deviation from the above guidelines must be brought to the Chemistry Subject Board well in advance for appropriate action

To download the consolidated Chemistry Subject Board Guidelines in pdf format, please click here