Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Deemed University: Rules and Procedures

 

(Framed under Bye-law 6.2 of the Rules and Bye-laws of the TIFR)

 

The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research has been conferred the status of a Deemed University by the University Grants Commission. The Deemed University will function under the direction of an Academic Council chaired by the Director, TIFR.

 

This document sets down the basic guidelines under which the Deemed University will operate.

 

 

1. Degrees

 

The Institute will conduct a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programme in the areas of Biology, Chemistry, Computer and Systems Science, Mathematics, Physics, Science Education. It will also conduct an Integrated M.Sc-Ph.D. (I-Ph.D) programme, where both the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees will be awarded together on the completion of requirements for both degrees. In some of the above subjects, Master of Science (M.Sc.) programmes will also be conducted.

 

There will be no separate M.Phil. programme, however M.Phil. may be awarded as an Exit Degree if the specified requirements are completed by students in the Ph.D. programmes.

 

The Ph.D. degree will be awarded upon favourable evaluation of a thesis, based on original research, submitted by the candidate. The programme will require a strong foundation and a breadth of understanding in the area of research undertaken. The student will therefore meet appropriate course and other academic requirements, in addition to writing a thesis on the research work. The award of the M.Sc. degree will be based on satisfactory completion of courses, and submission of reports or a thesis as applicable.

 

The detailed requirements for each degree will be prescribed by the appropriate Subject Board.

 

 

2. Subject Boards

 

Subject Boards will be constituted for each subject in which a degree is offered by the Institute, namely Biology, Chemistry, Computer and Systems Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Science Education. Each Subject Board will have a Convener.

 

The tasks of the Subject Boards will be:

 

(i) to specify the academic background required for admission to a degree programme,

(ii) to conduct entrance examinations and interviews for candidates in the relevant subject,

(iii) to prescribe the course requirements of each programme and to plan the courses offered each year,

(iv) to prescribe the requirements of a qualifying examination for the Ph.D. degree,

(v) to carry out the assignment of research programmes or thesis supervisors to students in the given subject, or to suitably delegate the assignment procedures,

(vi) to conduct all degree examinations, select examiners for the Ph.D. theses and the viva-voce examination, evaluate the reports and recommend granting of the degree,

(vii) to regularly monitor the progress of students.

Any of the above activities may be coordinated jointly by two or more Subject Boards if desired.

 

The detailed requirements and procedures for each subject will be put down in a written document called “Subject Guidelines and Procedures”, formulated by each Subject Board. In exceptional cases, the Board may recommend to the Academic Council that some academic background and/or other requirements be waived.

 

The Departments / Schools / Centres that constitute the six Subject Boards are as follows, Any additions to these constituents may be made with the approval of the Academic Council.

 

·         Biology: Department of Biological Sciences, Colaba; National Centre of Biological Sciences, Bengaluru; TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Hyderabad.

 

·         Chemistry: Department of Chemical Sciences, Colaba; TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Hyderabad.

 

·         Computer and Systems Science: School of Technology and Computer Science, Colaba.

 

·         Mathematics: School of Mathematics, Colaba; Centre for Applicable Mathematica, Bengaluru; International Centre for Theoretical Scences, Bengaluru.

 

·         Physics: Five Physics Departments in Colaba (Astronomy and Astrophysics, Condensed Matter Physics and Material Science, High Energy Physics, Nuclear and Atomic Physics, and Theoretical Physics); National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, Pune; International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Bengaluru; TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Hyderabad.

 

·         Science Education: Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai.

 

The Director and Dean, Graduate Studies will constitute the Subject Boards (including the Conveners) every year, with inputs from the Departments, Schools, and Centres, through the existing Subject Boards. These will be presented in the next Academic Council for information. The Subject Board Conveners may request for a change in the membership any time during the year.  

 

There will be at least one representative on the Subject Board from each of its constituent Department / School /Centre. Some members may also be nominated from other Subject Boards. A Subject Board may appoint small sub-committees of experts, with additional co-opted members, to make recommendations to it on any matter where expert opinion is required.

 

Centres may have Academic Advisory Committees (AACs), chaired by the Centre Director or Dean, Academic Affairs. The representative(s) of the Centres in the Subject Boards will be ex-officio members of the respective AACs. These AACs will monitor the admission, progress and final evaluation process for all the students of the respective Centres.

 

 

3. Administration of Degree Programmes

 

A Dean of Graduate Studies (Dean GS) will be appointed on an annual basis by the Chairperson of the Academic Council. The Dean's functions will be to oversee procedural and administrative matters concerning the Academic Programmes of the Institute (including the Centres), to coordinate activities of the various Subject Boards, to facilitate interdisciplinary programmes, and to interface with external agencies. The Dean will be a member of the Academic Council.

 

An administrator of the rank of Assistant Registrar or higher will be entrusted with the work involved in the running of the Academic Programme, and will report to the Dean, Graduate Studies. The Assistant Registrar's office (the University Cell) will provide administrative support to the Dean and Subject Boards by maintaining academic records, organising admissions, making announcements, processing examinations and theses, and carrying out any such additional work as may be assigned by the Dean GS.

 

 

4. Course of Study

 

The Academic Programmes of the Institute will follow a two-semester system starting around August each year. Typically the first semester will last from August to December, while the second will last from January to May. Additional courses, Visiting Students' Programmes and other such activities may be held in the summer period from May to July.  The Subject Boards may decide on their own Academic Calender every year, depending on their coursework structure of their coursework. This calendar may vary by the Subject Board / campus / Centre. 

 

Every student will be assigned to one of the Subject Boards. Students working in interdisciplinary programmes will have a primary Subject Board, which will coordinate with other Subject Boards as relevant. A student who wishes to transfer from one programme to another, coming under different Subject Boards, may do so if allowed by the two Subject Boards. In cases of interdisciplinary programmes and transfers, the office of the Dean GS will facilitate coordination among Subject Boards.

 

Each Subject Board will prescribe the minimum number of Credits to be completed successfully for Ph.D. Registration (for Ph.D. as well as I-Ph.D. programmes), and for the award of  M.Sc. and M. Phil. Degrees. Students who have undergone equivalent coursework elsewhere and have transcripts to prove it may be allowed the transfer of  credits by the Subject Boards, on a case by case basis. These credits must not have been used for any other degree in the past. 

 

Ph.D. and I-PhD programmes: A student joining the Ph.D. programme will take courses for two or more semesters as prescribed by the relevant Subject Board. The coursework of an I-Ph.D student will be of a longer duration. These courses, together with possible additional requirements such as a comprehensive examination / presentation (depending on the Subject Board), will constitute the qualifying procedure for advancement to the candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

 

M.Sc. programme: Students joining the M.Sc. programme will follow the course requirements laid down by the relevant Subject Boards.

 

Special provisions for TIFR Scientific Staff:

 

Scientific Staff working for TIFR will be permitted to work for a degree at TIFR provided their thesis supervisor is a TIFR member and they fulfil the same academic requirements as are set down for TIFR students. However in view of the fact that such individuals have other responsibilities, they may be permitted extra time to complete the requirements, at the discretion of the Subject Board.

 

Each such member will be enrolled on a case to case basis, with the respective Department Chairperson, Dean, or Centre Director making a recommendation to the Dean GS, who will refer it to the relevant Subject Board for their opinion. Upon receiving a recommendation from the Subject Board, the Dean GS will forward it to the Chairman, Academic Council for approval.

 

 

5. Ph.D. Registration, Thesis Monitoring Committee, and Fees

 

Students who qualify the requirements of their Subject Board (including the coursework as well as a qualifying examination if needed) can seek registration for the Ph.D. degree, by filling in a form specifying a provisional thesis title and the name of a thesis supervisor (also referred to as the “thesis advisor”, or “guide”). Applications for registration must be approved by the Subject Board. The Ph.D. students must normally complete this procedure within two  years of joining the Institute, while the I-Ph.D students must normally complete it within three years of joining the Institute. A residency period of at least two years after admission will be a requirement for the award of a Ph.D. degree.

 

Any regular Academic member of the Institute is eligible to be a thesis supervisor. Further eligibility for being a thesis supervisor for the student from a particular Subject Board will be decided by the Subject Board on a case-to-case basis. Upon the superannuation of the thesis supervisor, another academic member of the Institute should become the formal thesis supervisor, however the name of the original thesis supervisor may remain on the thesis as a co-supervisor.

 

Faculty members from other institutions may be allowed by the Subject Boards to act as co-supervisors, on a case-to-case basis, depending on the topic of the Ph.D. thesis of the student. All such cases should be reported to the Academic Council as information items.

 

Every student registered for Ph.D. will have a Thesis Monitoring Committee (TMC), with the thesis supervisor as one of its members. The recommendation of this committee will be essential for the yearly extension of the student. 

 

The Ph.D. registration of a student will be normally valid for a period of five years. However  it should be re-affirmed every year, either through the yearly extension, or through the report of the TMC before the end of every academic year.

 

Under exceptional circumstances, the Ph.D. registration may be extended beyond 5 years, or re-activated. However this needs the recommendation of the Subject Board and the approval of the Dean GS. All such extensions will be reported to the Academic Council.

 

Students in the academic programmes may be charged appropriate tuition fees for each semester, as well as registration and examination fees. The fee structure will be laid down by the Academic Council and updated as desired. Scientific staff will be charged fees only from the date of registration. In case the Ph.D. registration needs to be extended or re-activated, re-registration fees need to be paid.

 

6.  Evaluation of Theses

 

Ph.D. Thesis:  The candidate must be registered for the Ph.D. degree. He/she should submit a Synopsis of the thesis, which must have been approved in an open Synopsis Seminar, before the submission of the actual Thesis. The Thesis should be submitted any time after or along with the Synopsis, but before the expiry of six months from the date of submission of the synopsis. (If the thesis is not submitted within six months after submission of the synopsis, a new open Synopsis seminar will need to be given, and the Synopsis will have to be submitted.) The thesis will be submitted to the Assistant Registrar's office, after obtaining prior approval from the thesis supervisor and the Subject Board.

 

The Subject Board will choose two external examiners for the thesis, who may be from, but need not be limited to, a list of three to six names suggested by the thesis supervisor. The  thesis supervisor will also be an examiner.

 

The thesis will be forwarded to the examiners by the Assistant Registrar's office, to which each examiner will be asked to send a report. The report should recommend one of the following:

 

(a) The thesis be accepted as submitted.

(b) The thesis be accepted with minor revisions not requiring re-examination.

(c) The thesis needs major revision and re-submission.

(d) The thesis be rejected.

 

The report of the examiners will be considered by the Subject Board, which will announce a Panel of Examiners for the viva voce examination. This panel will include at least one of the external examiners, and the thesis supervisor. The examination will include an open thesis seminar.

 

M.Sc. and M.Phil. Theses: These will be handled in the same manner as the Ph.D. Thesis, except the thesis will be sent to only one external examiner for evaluation.

 

The Panel of Examiners will send a joint evaluation of the viva-voce examination to the Subject Board, who will forward it to the Academic Council, if the award of a degree is to be recommended.

 

7. Awarding of degrees

 

The Academic Council will take a formal decision on the award of the degree, based on the recommendation of the Subject Boards and its own evaluation of the examiner reports of the thesis. The final degree certificate will be signed by the Chair, Academic Council (TIFR Director) and the Chair of the TIFR Governing Council.

 

If the evaluation report of the viva voce examination is positive and the case for awarding of the degree is clear, the Subject Board may advise the Dean GS to issue a provisional certificate once the candidate submits the final version of the Thesis. In addition, for the I-PhD students, the Subject Board may recommend that the Dean GS gives a provisional M.Sc. certificate once the student has registered for Ph.D. (by completing all the requirements).

 

The final Ph.D. and M.Phil. degrees will include the title of the thesis, however they will not mention the name of the subject. The final M.Sc. degree will include the name of the subject and a Class that reflects the coursework grades of the student, however it will not include the name of the thesis, if any.  The Class will be assigned as follows: “First Class with Distinction” for the CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average, on a scale of 100) of 75 and above, “First Class” for the CGPA between 60 and 75, and “Second Class” for  the CGPA between 50 and 60. No degree will be awarded if the CGPA is below 50.

 

Feb 15th,  2019