Friday, December 18, 2009

Advice on admission

I have been getting lot of emails regarding admission to IISc as a student (M.E/Ph.D) and on recruitment as a faculty.

On admission to IISc as a student, you can get admitted to the M.E. program only through GATE. I get lot of emails asking me what is the cutoff. It is impossible for me to check and tell the cutoffs for each branch of engineering for various categories (GN/OBC/SC/ ST/PH/KM) etc. As a thumb rule, you need at least 99 percentile in the GN category to get admitted. For the M.Sc (Engg) program, one still needs to be qualified in GATE but the cutoffs are lower (around 90-95 percentile, depending on the department). The difference between M.E and M.Sc (Engg) program is that the latter program is research based and most likely take more than 2 years to complete. One can be admitted directly (after B.E/B.Tech) to Ph.D program in engineering WITHOUT GATE. The shortlisting is based on the marks obtained in undergraduate degree and other parameters. For admission to Ph.D in sciences (chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics etc.), one SHOULD have qualified in at least one of the following exams: GATE or Institute entrance exam or JEST or CSIR JRF. The cutoff marks/percentile in each exam varies from each department every year depending on the number of candidates applying.

Both M.Sc (Engg) and Ph.D (both sciences and engineering) require clearing the interview. The mode of interview also varies from department to department and I can not give general guidelines. All I can say is that it will be technical and it is best to come well prepared in 3-4 subjects (and mathematics for engineering departments).

On being recruited as a faculty in IISc, I have mentioned the procedures that are followed for an appointment and I have also mentioned the pay scales and other benefits in my earlier posts. However, sending me your resume and asking me whether you stand a chance has no meaning. I can only give you the procedure and a technical evaluation of the resume has to be done by the department. As in any evaluation, there is lot of subjectivity and one can not say whether publishing five or ten papers will make a difference. I think it is more of a fit and what field the department is looking for. Therefore, it is best that you visit the department or talk to the faculty in the department and find out.

To quote my own example,  I applied to the chemical engineering department in IISc in late 1996 and was rejected (rather rudely). In 1997,  I applied to IISc and three IITs and visited these places. I was offered by all of these institutes in 1998. In 1996, I had 15 publications and in 1997, I had 18 publications and I am sure that did not make a difference. In IISc, it seemed to me that a faculty who was doing research in separations and another faculty who was doing research in polymers were about to retire and I was recruited because I was doing research in both of these fields. After I joined IISc, the retirement age increased from 60 to 62 and then to 65. In my first year, I was really foolishly worried that I may be asked to leave. However, the department was kind enough to continue my appointment and, in my assessment, I have performed rather satisfactorily subsequently.

Why am I writing all this? Because, unlike many, I do not suffer from email bankruptcy  and, in fact, respond to all emails within 24 hours (if I am not travelling). However, lately, I have not responded to any email of the above categories. Unlike many whose are most free during Dec 15 - Jan 2, I am most busy during this period. Being on committees that have to tender and sign the contract for various services (like housekeeping, security, manpower, library journals etc etc.) with the vendor before Dec 31, there are several meetings that have to take thoughtful but quick decisions and not delay/avoid decisions.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I agree with you that you have given a clear idea about applying for a faculty job. Could you please throw some light on the lecturer positions which I found on the iisc website.

http://www.iisc.ernet.in/content_facultyinfohowtoapply.html

Can you tell me if a fresh phd can apply to this position? A reader commented that generally only SC/ST candidates are taken as lecturers? Is that true? I think you haven't discussed about lecturer position in your earlier posts. Your reply could be greatly helpful.

Giri@iisc said...

Lecturers were taken prior to 1998 in various science departments. In the last two years, there was a special drive to take lecturers who are SC or ST. However, IISc may take lecturers but I really doubt whether they will take someone without any postdoc experience.

Anonymous said...

"However, the department was kind enough to continue my appointment and, in my assessment, I have performed rather satisfactorily."

Satisfactorily?Having the winner of the Swarnajayanthi and Bhatnagar holds no value for your department?

I am not surprised.

Anonymous said...

He won those awards recently. I think Dr. Giri was referring to his early when he was just starting out. I guess everybody is the same when they are just starting out.

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that a faculty candidate with very good credentials may not be selected when there are enough number of faculty members in the department with similar research interests. On the other hand, if the department seeks a faculty in a specific filed, even a mediocre candidate may get selected.

SA

Giri@iisc said...

"It is unfortunate that a faculty candidate with very good credentials may not be selected when there are enough number of faculty members in the department with similar research interests. On the other hand, if the department seeks a faculty in a specific filed, even a mediocre candidate may get selected."

SA, what you say is absolutely correct. I fail to understand why a good faculty should not be selected even when there are other faculty members in the departments with similar interests. In fact, we have lost quite a number of good candidates due to this, despite my strong objections.

In US, I can understand the department looks for niche areas because of funding issues. I think, in India, we should simply take the best irrespective of the research area.

Giridhar

nitin said...

Dear Sir,

I have all data of GATE 2009. I have compiled it in Excel sheet. If you want to have, i can send it to you. May be you can post some stat from it which will be useful to many.

Still i dont know why institutes doesnt keep all this in public domain and why we need RTI for each and everything.
Regards
NK

deeps said...

Dear Sir,
U have explained clearly.
However, I would like to know, what is the actual flow of PhD course (like selecting the guide, seeking support).
How about doing PhD part-time?
Myself, having 4 years experience in IT field and M.E applied Electronics, do i need to write IISc entrance exam?

rick2047 said...

I know that you have made it clear that the GATE score is all what they look for in admission criteria. But suppose a person has a good gate score but a poor academic performance in UG (say 70% aggregate) but has done a lot of side projects and internships, also published on national as well as international level, will that person lose his/her chance due to the marksheet?

I ask this because I am myself struggling to score any thing above that (I am in my fourth semester right now) but already have one internship at a good company and one publication at international conference proceeding (and hopefully one on in an international journal). (you may look at my published paper here www.lifeasparesh.in, I know its just a position paper but stil...). I believe such initiatives increase my credibility of doing research and as I am targeting a M.Sc(eng) this should be a plus point.