My daughter is in Class XI. She is in the science stream and would like to pursue her higher studies in chemistry. Kindly give me the details of the higher study options. What are the career prospects? Are there higher study facilities for chemistry in the IITs?

SUDHA RAVINDRAN, EMAIL

After completing Class XII with good marks, your daughter can either choose a five-year integrated Master's degree programme in chemical sciences or a B.Sc./ B.Sc. (Hons.) degree course in chemistry. The cut-off marks will be very high for the integrated Master's degree course and B.Sc. (Hons.) course offered by leading universities/ colleges. The integrated Master's degree programme will suit students who are interested in research.

Integrated BS-MS programmes

The five-year integrated dual degree BS-MS programmes in chemistry, physics, mathematics, and biology are offered by Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISERs) at Thiruvananthapuram (CET Campus), Pune, Mohali, Bhopal, and Kolkata.

IISERs are part of a unique initiative of the Government of India where teaching and education are totally integrated with state-of-the-art research, nurturing both curiosity and creativity. Each institute is autonomous and awards its own Master's and doctorate degrees.

The first two years of the BS-MS course are common and mandatory for all students. In the third and fourth years, students have to choose any one discipline from chemistry, biology, mathematics, and physics according to their aptitude. Students would devote their fifth year to writing a thesis through research.

Students who have passed their Plus Two or equivalent examination with physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics/ science subjects, and have secured at least 60 per cent marks, are eligible for admission. Aspirants would have to qualify any one of the tests viz. Kishore Vaigyanik Prothsahan Yojana (KVPY; www.iisc.ernet.in/kvpy); IIT-JEE (www.jee.iitm.ac.in) or get direct admission by topping the State or Central board public examination. The final selection will based on an aptitude test (in the case of State/ Central board's XII examination toppers) and counselling.

Students joining the course will get INSPIRE/ KVPY scholarship of Rs.5,000 per month. Web site: www.iiser-admissions.in.

The University of Hyderabad offers five-year integrated M.Sc. degree programmes in chemical science, mathematical science, physics, and biology for Plus Two students. Web site: www.uohyd.ernet.in).

Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) offers integrated first degree M.Sc.(Hons) programme in chemistry, mathematics, physics, and biological sciences at its Pilani, Goa and Hyderabad campuses. Those who have passed Plus Two or equivalent examinations with physics, chemistry and mathematics and have secured 80 per cent marks in aggregate in these three science subjects taken together are eligible for admission.

Aspirants should have secured at least 60 per cent marks in each of these science subjects too. The selection is based on BITS Admission Test (BITSAT). Adequate proficiency in English is a must. Web site: www.bitsadmission.com.

BS programme

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore, has introduced a four-year Bachelor of Science (BS) programme. The course is a blend of core science and interdisciplinary topics along with one-year research project with an aim to develop a strong base in science and engineering.

Students who have passed Plus Two or equivalent examination with physics, chemistry and mathematics with at least 60 per cent marks are eligible for admission.

The selection is based on merit in the national level test viz. KVPY, IIT- JEE, AIEEE or AIPMT.

Three-year B.Sc. course

Prominent universities like Delhi University offer three-year B.Sc. (Hons) degree course in chemistry comprising 24 papers across six semesters. The university has introduced new areas such as computer applications in chemistry, methods of chemical analysis and biochemistry into the study of chemistry at the degree level.

The course content is equally divided among three branches viz. physical, organic and inorganic chemistry. Most of the topics are in-depth extensions of what one has learned in Class XII.

Details of colleges and universities that offer B.Sc. and B.Sc. (Hons.) degree courses can be collected from the university handbook published by the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi, which is available for reference in University Employment Information and Guidance Bureaux functioning under all universities in Kerala. After their B.Sc. degree course, students can opt for Master's programme in chemistry.

M.Sc. programme

Meritorious graduates in chemistry or final year B.Sc. students in chemistry are eligible to apply for admission to M.Sc. courses or integrated Ph.D. programmes in chemistry. Studying in leading national level institutions such as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore; Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore; Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) has advantages.

At IITs

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) conduct the Joint Admission Test (JAM) for M.Sc. programmes in all disciplines including chemistry. IITs in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur and Roorkee offer these programmes. IIT Kharagpur conducts an M.Sc.-Ph.D. dual degree course in chemistry. A Bachelor's degree with chemistry as a subject along with at least 55 per cent marks is the minimum qualification required for admission. Students should have studied mathematics at the degree level. Students belonging to SC/ ST category need only 50 per cent marks. The admission test centres will include Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Chennai and Bangalore. The first three semesters of the M.Sc. programmes have common core courses. IIT Madras offers computational chemistry programme in software applications related to the subject. In the second year students do research. The project will prepare the students to take up a Ph.D. programme or jobs in sophisticated high-tech laboratories (www.iitm.ac.in).

Several colleges and universities offer chemistry as a general subject at the postgraduate level. Chemistry encompasses several specialisations or sub-divisions such as analytical, organic,inorganic, industrial, applied pharmaceutical, polymer, textile chemistry and so on. List of universities and colleges that offer M.Sc., M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in chemistry can be collected from the university handbook published by the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi.

Those who complete M.Sc. degree course in chemistry with at least 55 per cent marks and above are eligible for admission to research programmes leading to Ph.D. Final year M.Sc. degree students can apply for the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the CSIR- UGC. Those qualifying the NET are eligible to receive scholarship / fellowship for research programmes.

Integrated Ph.D.

Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore, offers exciting opportunities for research for those with first class B.Sc. degree in chemistry. Each year, the institute admits 12 students to the integrated Ph.D. programme in chemical science stream. The curriculum includes flexible course work, internship and laboratory training which equips students with the basic experimental skills and familiarises them with advanced research techniques. The selection to the course is through a national level entrance test and interview.

In Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram will be a test centre. Students admitted to this programme are eligible to get monthly scholarship. Web site: www.iisc.ernet.in.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, offers opportunities to conduct research leading to Ph.D. in chemistry. Meritorious chemistry graduates are eligible for admission. Web site: www.jncasr.ac.in.

The Satyendra Nath Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata, offers an integrated Ph.D. programme in chemical sciences for meritorious science graduates. Web site: www.bose.res.in.

The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, provides research opportunities in chemistry. Web site: www.tifr.res.in.

Job opportunities

Higher qualifications in chemistry will open up job opportunities in research and development institutions and industries related to textile, petroleum products, rubber and plastic products, cosmetics, drug, and fertilizers. Those with a Ph.D. can get jobs as chemists, scientific officers or scientists in chemical laboratories. Job opportunities are also available in food manufacturing industries, detergent and paint companies, pollution control boards, scientific research institutes, laboratories, health care sector and so on. Ph.D. holders or NET lectureship qualified persons can teach in universities and colleges.

Keywords: chemistryIIT