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.

 

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.

 

In some of the above subjects, Master of Science (M.Sc.) programmes will be conducted. The award of these degrees 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 Boards.

 

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.

 

The Subject Boards will be constituted annually by the Academic Council after seeking nominations from the relevant Faculties, Departments and Centres. Each Subject Board will have a Convener.

 

The tasks of the Subject Boards are:

 

(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 advisors 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 organise Visiting Students' Research Programmes and Visiting Teachers' Programmes as applicable.

 

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.

 

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.

 

3. Administration of Degree Programmes.

 

A Dean of Graduate Studies 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 Programme, to coordinate the 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 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.

 

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 mid-August to mid-December, while the second will last from mid-January to mid-May. Additional courses, Visiting Students' Programmes and other such activities may be held in the summer period from mid-May to mid-July. A detailed calendar will be approved by the Academic Council and announced each year.

 

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 Dean's office will facilitate coordination among Subject Boards.

 

Ph.D. programme: A student joining the Ph.D. programme will take courses for two or more semesters as prescribed by the relevant Subject Board. These courses, together with possible additional requirements such as an examination (depending on the Subject Board), will constitute the qualifying procedure for advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

 

Students who qualify can seek registration for the Ph.D. degree, by filling in a form specifying a provisional thesis title and the name of a thesis advisor. Applications for registration must be approved by the Subject Board. Full time students with M.Sc. or equivalent must normally complete this procedure within two and a half years of joining the Institute and students with B.Sc. or equivalent must normally complete it within three and a half years of joining the Institute. A residency period of at least two years after registration will be a requirement for the award of a Ph.D. degree.

 

Any regular Academic member of the Institute with at least two years of postdoctoral experience is eligible to be a thesis advisor. However, in case of inter-Subject-Board advisors, the respective Subject Boards will decide whether the person can be a thesis advisor.

 

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

 

TIFR Scientific Staff and non-TIFR Members

 

i. Scientific staff: Scientific Staff working for TIFR will be permitted to work for a degree at TIFR provided their guide is a TIFR member and they fulfil exactly the same academic requirements as are set down for TIFR students. However in view of the fact that such people 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 (for Natural Sciences) or Dean (for Mathematics, Technology & Computer Sciences) making a recommendation to the Dean, Graduate Studies, who will refer it to the relevant Subject Board for their opinion. Upon receiving a recommendation from the Subject Board, the Dean, Graduate Studies will forward it to the Chairman, Academic Council for approval.

 

ii. Non TIFR Members: Non-TIFR members will be permitted to work for a degree in TIFR provided their guide is a TIFR member and they fulfil exactly the same academic requirements as are set down for TIFR students. However they may be permitted extra time to complete the requirements at the discretion of the Subject Board.

 

They will have to bring a letter of approval from the appropriate authority of the institution where they are working and submit it to the Subject Board. The Subject Board will make a recommendation to the Dean, Graduate Studies, who will forward it to the Chairman, Academic Council for approval.

 

5. Examination Structure.

 

Ph.D programme: The candidate must complete course requirements and pass the qualifying examination as stipulated by the Subject Board. Candidates should submit a synopsis of the thesis before 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 synopsis will have to be submitted. The thesis will be submitted to the Assistant Registrar's office, after obtaining prior approval from the thesis advisor 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 advisor. The advisor 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 advisor. The examination will be preceded by an open thesis seminar.

 

The Panel of Examiners will then send a joint evaluation of the examination to the Subject Board, who will forward it to the Academic Council. In clear cases, the Subject Board may advise the Dean to issue a provisional certificate. The Council will subsequently take a formal decision on the award of the degree.

 

M.Sc. programme: The award of these degrees is based on completion of course work and examinations, with an additional minor or expository thesis where specified. M.Sc. and M.Phil thesis submission will be handled in the same manner as the Ph.D. thesis submission.

 

For successful candidates, the Subject Board will communicate the results of the examinations to the Academic Council, along with a recommendation for the award of the degree. A provisional certificate may be issued by the Dean on the advice of the Board.

 

6. Constitution of Subject Boards.

 

The Departments, Centres and Faculties listed below for each Subject Board will nominate the members, including a Convener, of the corresponding Subject Board. After receipt of the nominations, the Academic Council will formally constitute the Subject Boards and appoint their Conveners.

 

Biology: The Board will deal with the areas of research relevant to the Department of Biological Sciences, Mumbai campus, and the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. It will have members from DBS and NCBS, nominated by the corresponding Department/Centre.

 

Chemistry: The Board will deal with the areas of research of the Department of Chemical Sciences, Mumbai campus. It will have members nominated by this Department.

 

Computer and Systems Science: The board will cover the research work being pursued at the Mumbai campus and the Pune campus and will consist of members nominated by the School of Technology and Computer Science.

 

Mathematics: The Board will deal with the research areas at the Mumbai campus and the Bangalore campus. Among the members there will be at least two from the Bangalore campus. The members will be nominated by the Mathematics Faculty.

 

Physics: The Board will handle the areas of research at the five Physics departments on the Mumbai campus (Astronomy and Astrophysics, Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science, High Energy Physics, Nuclear and Atomic Physics, and Theoretical Physics), as well as the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics at Pune. It will include at least two members from each of the Departments and the NCRA, who will be nominated by their respective Departments or Centres.

 

Science Education: The board will deal with the research being pursued at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education in Mumbai. It will consist of six members, nominated by the HBCSE.

 

While most members of Subject Boards will be TIFR members from the corresponding Department, Faculty or Centre, some members may be nominated from other Departments, Faculties or Centres, or even from outside the Institute.

 

7. Registration and Tuition Fees.

 

The Ph.D. registration of a student will be normally valid for a period of five years. In the case of an Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme, the registration will be valid for a period of six years. Under exceptional circumstances, an extension may be approved by the Academic Council.

 

Students in the Ph.D. and M.Sc. courses 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 and external members will be charged fees only from the date of registration.

 

July 22, 2015