You may soon get to join some of the country's top colleges and graduate — with a PhD.
India's top brand of science institutions is looking at offering programmes that, for the first time, will allow students straight out of school to graduate with PhDs in under seven years, under a government plan to lure the best brains back to research.
The Human Resource Development Ministry has proposed that the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research introduce programmes that combine undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD research in a single course, top government sources told HT.
The ministry is scheduled to discuss the proposal with the IISERs directors on September 7, they said.
Loosely modeled on the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, the IISERs — in Kolkata, Mohali, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram — were set up on the recommendation of the PM's Scientific Advisory Committee.
Currently, they offer five-year integrated Masters in Science programmes — like in US universities — that allow students who join after school to leave with postgraduate degrees. Under the new proposal, programmes can be extended by 18 months to six-and-a-half years.
"Many people drop out of science after graduation or masters. Here, they have an unparalleled incentive — stay a little longer, carry out research and get a PhD," a source said.
This would also mean students don't have to reapply for postgraduate studies and PhDs. But not all in the IISERs are convinced that students can complete the programme in six-and-a-half years.
"While the school-to-PhD plan is workable in principle, I'm not confident students can complete their PhDs in so short a time," IISER Bhopal director Vinod Singh said, adding that students usually take four years to complete their PhDs alone.