Academics at TIFR – a Deemed University
Graduate Degrees and Student Selection
The TIFR University runs Ph.D. and integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programmes in all areas of natural sciences that includes Physics, Chemistry and Biology as well as in Mathematics and Computer Science. TIFR also supports selective M.Sc. program in various sub-domains of Biology. The graduate program is administered not only in the main TIFR Mumbai campus, but in all the Centres located in other parts of India. Degrees are awarded in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Wildlife Biology, Mathematics, Computers and Systems Science and in Science Education. Typically the Ph.D. program is for five-years, the integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. programme is for six years and the M.Sc. programme is for two years. Students are admitted to TIFR through a rigorous selection process, which involves a written test, followed by an interview. Selection is strictly by merit: only the top 1.5 percent applicants are selected.
All the admitted PhD students are trained via a rigorous programme of course work, consisting of lectures, tutorials, laboratory sessions, demonstrations and project work. These are carefully designed to expose the fundamental tenets in each subject, as well as an introduction to the state-of-art facilities in the area of specialization. Evaluation of performance is through written and oral examinations, presentations and actual results produced in the laboratory. Only students who have successfully cleared all courses within a stipulated time are permitted to register for the Ph.D. degree. Once registered, Ph.D. students are involved by their research supervisors in cutting-edge research programmes. Every effort is made to stimulate creativity and a passion for careful and rigorous investigation in the students. As a result, almost all TIFR students have several publications in top international journals before they write their theses.
Thesis Submission and the Degree
Once the doctoral work is completed, every student has to submit a synopsis of the work done, which is evaluated by a committee of five TIFR faculty members. The student also has to explain the work done to the committee and all interested persons in an Open Seminar. If this is done to the satisfaction of the committee members, the student receives permission to submit their doctoral thesis. This is sent to the Ph.D. supervisor and two external examiners. If these examiners profess themselves satisfied with the thesis and the research work done, the student then has to defend his/her work in a viva voce examination, where one of the external examiners is present. Once this is cleared, the student is awarded a Ph.D. degree, which is then ratified by the Academic Council of TIFR. The degree is formally announced during the TIFR Founder’s Day, which is a special significance in TIFR history.
Life after TIFR
An overwhelming majority of TIFR students go on to pursue academic careers in India and abroad, usually starting with postdoctoral positions. A small number directly join as faculty members, and occasionally a student chooses a non-academic career. Former students of TIFR may now be found among the faculty of practically every major scientific institution in India, and in many places abroad. Thus, the TIFR University continues a tradition set by our founder, Homi Bhabha, who would himself initiate students into research and then send them abroad to some of the top institutions for their Ph.D. work.
Historical Perspective of the Graduate School
The TIFR graduate school was founded in 1967, under the initiative of faculty members like Prof. B.M. Udgaonkar, C.K. Majumdar and S.S. Jha, and it continued to train students until the granting of Deemed University status to TIFR in 2002. During this long period, all TIFR students were awarded their Ph.D. degrees by the University of Mumbai, under the Tripartite Agreement which led to the foundation of TIFR. Since 2002, TIFR became a deemed University under the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2002 and therefore awards its own PhD degree. The university was reviewed in 2016 by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and given a grade A+.