June 18, 2024



Life Beyond IITs: 4 Premier Institutes in India for Pure Science

6 min read

When it comes to science research universities in India, the IITs are often top of mind. But for those passionate about unraveling the fundamental mysteries of the universe, there’s a whole world beyond engineering! From the intricacies of photosynthesis to the dance of planets around the sun, science explains the awe-inspiring phenomena that surround us. It’s no wonder inquisitive young minds are drawn to pure science research universities like the ones we’ll explore in this blog post.
As appealing as it may sound, most students opt out of studying pure science as they shift to more professional courses such as engineering, medicine, aviation, etc. Many factors contribute to this paradigm shift, such as shorter duration of these courses, placement opportunities after completion of the course, and higher pay packages, etc. This trend is slowly changing, and a lot more students are now choosing to study sciences as they are.
Now that students realize that there are many opportunities in the field of research in sciences, many of them are turning to pure sciences.
Let us explore the top institutes for pure science in India, and the courses and opportunities they offer.
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1. Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore
IISC is a top public institute for research and higher education. It was set up in 1909 with the help of Jamsetji Tata, which is why it is also called the Tata Institute by locals. IISC, Bangalore is the first Indian institution to be featured in the top 10 ranking in the UK’s Times Higher Education Ranking 2016-17 for Best Small Universities. (8th Rank)
Courses Offered
The institute offers a 4-year B.Sc. (Research) in Physics, Biology, Mathematics, Materials, Chemistry and Earth and Environmental Sciences. Apart from this, the institute provides opportunities for masters and research programs ranging from Molecular Biophysics, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences to Astronomy and Astrophysics.
How to Get In?
IISc takes admissions based on National Level Examination Scores such as the JEE Mains / Advanced and IAT for their undergraduate program (both held after class 12th). For postgraduate courses, admissions are based on scores obtained in GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) and JAM (Joint Admission Test).  
Opportunities Ahead
A B.Sc. in research opens up the opportunity to apply for a master’s program in top universities in India as well as abroad. Students also become eligible for a Ph.D. in the US without a master’s degree. A few organizations that hire research scientists from this premium institute are WalmartLabs, IBM Research, Mphasis Innovation, Honeywell, Airbus, St. Gobain, Tejas Networks, etc. In the public sector, students have the option to work with organizations such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Aeronautical Development Agency, Gas Turbine Research Establishment, Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, National Geophysics Research Institute, etc. These programs also lead to the road of academics and research as teaching faculty at premium universities across the world.
2. Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Multiple Locations
The IISERs are the premier institutes for research in India. They have been declared “Institutions of National Importance” by an Act of Parliament. There are seven campuses spread over the country in locations such as Kolkata, Maharashtra, Mohali, Bhopal, Thiruvananthapuram, Tirupati and Berhampur.
Courses Offered
The institute offers a 5-year BS-MS program which is their flagship program. It covers a comprehensive syllabus of areas such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, along with a few other subjects such as Earth and Environmental Science, Humanities, etc. Apart from this, the institutes also offer integrated MS-Ph.D. and independent Ph.D. programs in Science.
How to Get In?
Students who have cleared class 12th are eligible to apply. The IISERs also conduct a separate entrance test (IAT) for students who wish to apply directly to any of the campuses. For Ph.D. admissions, national level exams such as UGC/CSIR-JRF, GATE, JEST, and NBHM are held.
Opportunities Ahead
A BS-MS degree from IISER opens up doors for further research and entering into Ph.D. programs in top universities in India and Abroad. Pharmaceutical Industries hire graduates for their Research & Development divisions. A few companies hiring students from IISERs are Ranbaxy, Dr. Reddy’s, L’oreal, Unilever, etc. At the doctoral level, students can join any CSIR Labs (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), through the CSIR-NET examination and continue their research in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Drugs Formation and Implication, Electrochemical and Electronics Engineering, etc. Students interested in giving legal advice to companies regarding their patents (a company’s right to exclude others from selling, using or copying their invention) can take the Indian Patent Agent Exam. Teaching and writing for scientific journals is also a popular choice for students.
3. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai
TIFR is one of the premier research institutes for higher education in science and mathematics. It functions under the Department of Atomic Energy, Government of India and is a Deemed University. The institute was established in 1945 under the guidance of Dr. Homi Bhabha, with help from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust. It has a main campus at Mumbai, with branches in Hyderabad, Pune, and Bangalore.
Courses Offered
The institute offers a graduate program that leads to a Ph.D. degree, or an integrated M.Sc.- Ph.D. degree in Science Education. It covers subjects like Philosophy of Science, Cognition and Learning Theories, Methods of Science and Mathematics Education Research, etc. It also offers Summer Research Programs to students with interest in Maths, Physics, Computers etc

How to Get In?
Graduates need to apply to TIFR either through JEST Scores (Joint Entrance Screening Test or GATE for application to Physics and Computer Science courses. For Biology, TIFR conducts the Joint Graduate Entrance Exam for Biology and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences. Final Selections are made based on the ranks in these exams as well as personal interviews.  

Opportunities Ahead
Since it is a highly reputed institute for research, graduates are encouraged to join either BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) or any of the CIFR laboratories across the country as scientists. Graduates also have opportunities to work for international laboratories such as Fermilabs, CERN (The European organization for Nuclear Research), etc. It is also possible for graduates to choose to work in companies in the Research & Development division, but most choose to become scientists and mathematicians with organizations such as DRDO, HAL, ISRO, BEL, etc.
4. Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram
The IIST is a Deemed University which functions under the Department of Space, Government of India. It focuses on study in the space sciences, technology and applications. It was founded in 2007 by Dr. G. Madhavan Nair and Dr. B.N. Suresh.
Courses Offered
The institute offers B.Tech., and Ph.D. programs in Avionics, Physical Sciences, Aerospace Engineering and allied fields. It also offers a dual degree (B.Tech. + M.Tech./M.Sc.) in these subjects. M.Tech. is provided in different areas such as Aerodynamics, Digital Signal Processing, VLSI and Microsystems, etc. to name a few. M.Sc. covers areas such as Astronomy and Astrophysics, Earth System Science, Solid State Physics, and Optical Engineering.
How to Get In?
Admissions to undergraduate courses is made through the JEE Advanced  Examination. Admissions to Postgraduate programs are made through GATE scores. Ph.D. admissions are made based on scores in GATE, JEST, and UGC/CSIR-JRF.  
Opportunities Ahead
The IIST was established to help prepare manpower for ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), and students securing more than a CGPA of 7.5 can apply for a job at ISRO.Besides that, graduates can also apply to DRDO, HAL, BrahMos, etc. Graduates from Master’s also have the option of working with companies such as UTC Aerospace Systems, Team Indus, MEASAT, etc.
 These are the topmost institutions for you if pure science is your passion. Other than these, a few IITs offer Bachelor’s , Master’s , dual degree and Doctoral Programs.
Conclusion: A Universe of Discovery Awaits
Science isn’t just a subject in a textbook; it’s the very fabric of our world. It’s the reason the leaves change color in autumn and why airplanes can soar through the sky. Perhaps you’ve gazed at the stars and wondered what lies beyond, or maybe you’re fascinated by the intricate workings of the human body.
The institutes explored in this blog post provide a springboard for your scientific curiosity. Imagine the thrill of uncovering new knowledge, of pushing the boundaries of human understanding. These institutions can equip you with the tools and guidance to make that dream a reality.
The path of a scientist may not be easy, but it’s undeniably rewarding. So, if the call of discovery resonates within you, don’t be afraid to chase it. The universe is waiting to be explored, and you hold the potential to be a part of something extraordinary.
Do let us know your thoughts on the article in the comments below!

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