My daughter has taken physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics for Plus Two. She would like to pursue higher studies in biological science disciplines. Please let her know the suitable options.

SUJATHA

E-MAIL

I am studying in the 12th standard and would like to choose biology for higher studies. As I like biology and have a fine grip on the subject, kindly advise me the most suitable option for higher study.

PRINCE WILSON

ALAPPUZHA

The five-year integrated Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master of Science (MS) course or the four-year BS programme are good options after Plus Two for science students. The research-oriented and interdisciplinary programmes help one become a professional scientist or join the science faculty in institutions of higher learning.

The Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), under the Union government, offer the integrated MS programme. The students here are paid a monthly scholarship of Rs.5,000 each.

IISERs

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development has set up these institutions in Thiruvananthapuram, Pune, Bhopal, Mohali, and Kolkata. Their key feature is the integration of undergraduate teaching with cutting-edge research in an interdisciplinary way and incorporating recent scientific developments. The students are made to develop scientific skills and competency. Modern research facilities and digital libraries are among the attractions.

The scholarships are awarded under the Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) or the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY) of the Department of Science and Technology.

In the 10-semester BS-MS course in biological, physical, chemical, and mathematical sciences, students will have to undergo comprehensive core courses in basic sciences in the first two years. In the third and fourth years, they will have to major in a chosen subject from biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics. Students will have to devote the final year to research in technical projects, leading to a Master's degree. IISERs are autonomous institutions awarding their own degrees.

Those who have passed Plus Two or equivalent examinations with physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology with at least 60 per cent marks and have qualified in the KVPY examination or the Joint Entrance Examination conducted by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT-JEE) are eligible for admission. Another way to get admission is to score high aggregate marks in classes 10 and 12 and clear the IISER Science Aptitude Test. Aptitude assessment and counselling will be conducted for the final selection. Details may be had from www.iisertvm.ac.in; www.iiserpune.ac.in; www.iiserbhopal.ac.in; www.iisermohali.ac.in; or www.iiserkol.ac.in.

NISER in Bhubaneswar and the University of Mumbai-Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (UM-DAE-CBS), Mumbai, conduct five-year integrated M.Sc. programmes. These institutions have residential campuses and offer disciplines in biological, chemical, mathematical and physical sciences. There are 60 seats in NISER and 35 in UM- DAE-CBS.

The course curriculum seeks to inculcate in the students a spirit of exploration, innovation, and aptitude for research so as to develop a pool of talented and motivated scientists and science teachers. The students get an INSPIRE fellowship of Rs.5,000 a month and an annual grant of Rs.20,000 each. Those who have passed Plus Two or equivalent examinations in the science stream with at least 60 per cent marks in aggregate are eligible to apply. Selection is on the basis of the rank obtained in the National Entrance Screening Test (NEST). Details can be had from www.niser.ac.in; www.nestexam.in; or www.cbs.ac.in.

NEST has five sections. Section 1, with general questions, is compulsory for all. Sections 2-5 will contain questions from biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics, respectively, and candidates are required to attempt any three. The three-hour test will have objective-type questions designed to test subject comprehension and analytical ability.

The Integrated Science Education and Research Centre, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, offers a five-year integrated M.Sc. course. Selection is from the NEST rank list. Details may be had from www.visva-bharati.ac.in.

At IISc

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, offers the four-year, eight-semester BS programme in biology, chemistry, environmental science, materials, mathematics, and physics. During the first three semesters, students are given a systematic exposure to scientific, mathematical and engineering principles. At the beginning of the fourth semester, they can choose a discipline from biology, chemistry, environmental science, materials, mathematics, and physics for specialisation.

The uniqueness of the BS programme lies in its interdisciplinary approach, strong flavour of engineering, exposure to disciplines in social sciences, and a year's research project. The BS graduates are eligible to apply for admission to the Ph.D. programme at the IISc and universities abroad.

Government organisations such as the Indian Space Research Organisation, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and the Department of Atomic Energy centres and leading private companies employ IISc graduates. Those who have passed Plus Two or equivalent examinations with physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology or statistics or electronics or computer science with first class (60 per cent marks) or equivalent grade are eligible for admission. Selection is based on merit in the KVPY examination, IIT-JEE, the All India Engineering Entrance Examination, and the All India Pre-Medical/Dental Entrance Examination. Details can be head from www.iisc.ernet.in/ug.

Gopakumar Karakonam

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