The top 10 candidates from the physics undergraduate course would be offered a chance to join the programme.

Pondicherry University, in an attempt to develop high quality space research, is launching a master's course in Astrophysics this academic year. The course will be jointly conducted with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) and the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCA).

Speaking to The Hindu Education Plus Pondicherry University vice-chancellor J. A. K. Tareen said, “India is a new entrant to the moon, so it is important that we train quality astrophysicists to prevent any shortage in human resources in the field.”

He also stressed the need for state-of-the-art research facilities, which would be available to students of this course. The syllabus for the course along with other course details was decided by a Board of Studies, which consists of a team from the university, IIA and IUCA. While IIA and IUCA would support the programme, the university would set up the labs and other facilities, he said.

The masters' course in astrophysics is a four-semester programme. The top 10 candidates from the physics undergraduate course would be offered a chance to join the programme, he said. Apart from this, there would be selection based on an entrance test. To qualify for the course, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree with physics, he said.

Corporate law

The university has also launched an LLM in Corporate Law. According to Mr. Tareen, foreign investment in India is on the increase and the corporate sector is growing at a remarkable pace, which is why this course is imperative. There are 20 seats open for the course. Candidates applying for this course should have an LLB from a reputed college and have secured at least 50 per cent, he said.

The third course they are introducing this year is M.Sc. Microbiology. This course would provide support for food sciences, microbiology and biotechnology, he said. Selection for the new courses would be based on entrance examinations.

Foreign languages

In addition to the new courses being offered, the university is setting up a Centre for Foreign Languages to offer diploma courses in nine languages including Italian, French, Japanese, Korean and Russian.

“I believe we are one of the fastest growing central universities,” Mr. Tareen said, “So far we have added 80 new programmes in the past four years and our student strength has increased from 1,800 to 6,500. We will continue to improve our standards with each coming year,” he said.

Keywords: Astrophysics