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From India:B.Tech or B.Sc?

  1. Mar 11, 2010 #1
    Hello I am from India and preparing to take entrance tests for undergraduate courses in science and technology in Indian colleges and univ. I had initially thought of B.Tech only but I am quite interested in an academic career, especially in physics. In that respect I feel a B.Sc in physics would be better. But I would rather have someone more experienced tell me.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 8, 2010 #2
    Hey i'm going through the same problem and i'm also from india studying in +1 std. Well being a junior to you i've no experience, but i still feel i can help you. Well I've decided that i'll definitely go with b.tech. (aerospace or mechanical). Trying my best to go with indian prestigious colleges IIT's. Please specify what you want as a academic career like i wanna be an astrophysicist. IIST is a well known college in this field, providing b.tech. in avionics and aeronautics, so you should also appear in ISAT exam. Its a good intitute with zero fees but the problem with this college is that you must have to serve ISRO for 5 yrs. And you know na that isro pays very low, i think its starting salary as scaientist or engineer is nearly Rs.15000 per month which is ver very low.
  4. May 9, 2010 #3
    Interesting take. I don't exactly care for money and working at ISRO would be fine with me. But you know, parental pressure does not give me much room. I was hoping for a career in research but have not thought about the field (lots of thoughts actually).Right now concentrating on JEE is top priority.
  5. May 9, 2010 #4
    Thats exactly right to give jee top priority. Pls tell me in which class you are and from where in india you are. You must should decide about the field, every fileld has sub fields.. no need to go so much narrow right now. And what you have decided about the stream in which you are going to pursue b.tech.
  6. May 10, 2010 #5
    I am in +2 now. Crunch year and yes jee is top priority. I have always wanted an engineering degree in aeronautics but you know so much for the details you would have to work hard for it. Even if we get the best colleges the areas of pursuit may not be our choice.
  7. May 10, 2010 #6
    ya, But for being an reputed astrophysicist one also has to go with b.sc. in physics.. so i'm searching if it is possible to do both b.tech.(full time) side by side with b.sc in physics (distance learning). I know it will increase burden a lot, but nothing is beyond passion for me..
  8. May 10, 2010 #7
    Good thoughts. I am with you on the passion factor.
  9. May 10, 2010 #8
    not only you, i guess almost all will agree me on this factor. But still I don't know whether it is possible to study both at same time
  10. May 10, 2010 #9
    I am currently in my 12th grade and am from Mumbai. I too want to become an astrophysicist, and I am quite adamant about it. But I am not pursuing IIT. Instead, I am studying for my CET examinations for the next year. One things for sure, becoming an astrophysicist in India is going to be really tough, and full of hurdles. But If we have the desire and passion, we can surely do it. And I am really happy to meet you both.
  11. May 11, 2010 #10
    Same goes with me. Happy meeting.
  12. May 11, 2010 #11
    So aiman, finally you have decided or not
  13. May 12, 2010 #12
    Not exactly but I have ideas. Like an M.Tech after bachelor's. People do enter academics this way and still have the option of pursuing a Ph.D. Or there are other options. There are integrated M.Sc and M.S courses in physics. Should be clearer once I have results to go for my plans.
  14. May 12, 2010 #13
    In India Chennai Mathematical Institute has a very good Bsc Physics programme.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  15. May 21, 2010 #14
    To the original poster: it really doesn't matter, as long as you can do undergrad courses in physics in your BTech program. There are very few (if at all) undergrad physics programs in India with good exposure to experiment. The engineering curriculum tends to be more hands-on and practical, and if you can top it up with a solid foundation of undergrad physics, it'll be a great combination.

    Also, note that after a BSc, an MSc is a must if you wish to pursue something academic.
  16. May 24, 2010 #15
    aim1732, I am responding to your visitor profile message here (because its more relevant to get these issues sorted out on the forum):

    1. You ask where you should get your postgraduate degree from. That should be your decision. If you want to continue in India, there are places like the IITs, TIFR, IIsc, HRI, SINP, IOP, etc. If you want to study abroad, there are several universities with very good physics programs in the US, Europe, etc.

    2. Second, you ask about specialization. There is no concept of specialization in undergrad, though you could possibly take many elective courses in one stream of your engineering/science major and think of it as some kind of specialization. I do not think specializing during the undergrad is academically healthy.
  17. Jul 19, 2010 #16
    "Hello aim, you are a science student so i would like to suggest for B.Sc. I have also done my B.Sc after 12th from Sikkim Manipal University. Sikkim Manipal University is the best university of India for distance learning program. It is also accredited by government. SMUDE uses the latest edunxt technology to create a virtual classroom where you can interact with the faculty and students and thereby also network with other students, which is a unique and one of its kind feature amongst other colleges offering distance education. For the prospectus and speaking to their counselor you can register for free at: http://bit.ly/smude [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. Jul 19, 2010 #17
    Thanks but how viable is a distance learning course?
  19. Jul 20, 2010 #18
    Physics is very interactive...just as it is not possible to learn everything out of a book (except possibly for a very very small fraction of people), it is not possible to 'learn' physics through a distance course. I do not see how it will help you get into a good graduate program. It is also quite likely not to be recognized by most graduate schools, even in India. I wouldn't advise you to burn your bridges this way. Getting a BTech from a decent engineering institute or a BSc Honors in Physics followed by grad school in Physics is much better (and safer!).
  20. Jul 20, 2010 #19
    Just what I thought.
  21. Jul 23, 2010 #20
    Am I seeing Indian high school students interested in a physics research career, but aren't aware of the options they have for undergrad? In India, people just talk about engg/med, & hardly about science (& in fact, anything else).
    But there are good places around for an undergrad in physics.

    IISc is gonna (or has it, pls check up) start its BS program. That, I think, should be the best place. (I have done two summers of research there).
    Next would the the 5yr. integrated M.Sc program offered by IIT's such as Kanpur, Kharagpur,...
    (you can join these MSc programs right after class 12)
    IIT Bombay, Madras & Delhi offer the 'Engineering Physics' program. (That's what I am doing). Though they call it 'Engineering Physics', it is predominantly physics.

    After them, the IISERs. They have a BS program (& i think, an integrated MS program too. Just check up)

    There were talks about doing a B.Tech (in engg.) & then trying to shift over to physics. But if you are interested in physics, and if you feel you have the aptitude for a research career in physics, go for one of these programs that I've mentioned rather than doing engg.
    After a B.Tech in mech. engg / aerospace engg., physics would be totally different. Elec engg. is the closest to physics, but that's still quite far away.
  22. Jul 23, 2010 #21
    Okay, I'm afraid this is going to be a long reply...

    Yes, I have heard good things about this program. But it is a 4 year BTech program like all others in the IITs. I seriously doubt your claim that "it is predominantly physics". A full fledged engineering undergrad takes 4 years and an integrated MSc (which I consider equivalent in India to a full fledged physics undergrad) takes 5 years. As an IIT student, I'm sure you know well enough how packed things are in the program..and will appreciate that it is impossible to do two things in the space originally designated for courses of one major. (But I'm sure it helps psychologically, because we all know that its mostly nonacademic reasons which propel people into BTech programs. I too thought hard about this program, so I know :tongue2:)

    There are a lot of folks who go to grad school in engineering after an undergrad in physics (or even math) in the US and other countries. In India, this is made difficult because of a host of prerequisites in entrance exams. But it is possible to surmount those hurdles. IMHO, if you really want to "study" (different from "do"!) physics and engineering in India, the best way is to either do a dual major (IITs do not allow this, a minor is allowed at IITM and perhaps some others) or study engineering (the program is more competitive and you'll have to work much harder to study physics on the side, but the exposure is worth it). But if you hate engineering
    already, and are sure of your interests in physics, then get into a physics program.

    The OP seems to be constrained to study engineering. That being said, there is absolutely no problem in "switching" over to physics. It takes some effort, some extra preparation, but then what doesn't? If research in physics is what he wants to do eventually, it will be well his worth to put in that effort.

    Often comments are made on this forum about closeness of an engineering discipline to physics. While this is perhaps bothering you, please understand that every engineering discipline is strongly rooted in physics and mathematics, subjects you can never do without. Mechanical and aerospace engineering folks often get into physics programs, specializing in astronomy, astrophysics, fluid dynamics, thermodynamics/statistical mechanics, dynamical systems, chaos, to cite a few examples (with fluid dynamics being the area most of them can easily get into). EEs get into semiconductor physics, device physics, lasers, coherent optics, electromagnetics, quantum computing, etc. Oh and yes, I do know MEs and EEs who are 'full blown' theoretical physicists too.

    Electrical engineering is indeed a LOT of physics, and I don't know what your metrics are when you say that it's "still quite far away". If your definition of physics is limited to familiarity with quantum mechanics, field theory, relativity and some of the more terse theoretical areas, then I don't see why closeness should be a consideration at all :-)

    The dividing line at least between experimental physics, a lot of theory (cond-mat, amo, optics, lasers, ...) and engineering is very thin now..just look at the kind of research labs are engaged in. Some fringe areas of theoretical physics, such as superstring theory, high energy particle physics theory, and cosmology are still quite far removed from engineering, but usually one is not sure of his or her interests in 'fringe' areas until one has gained enough mathematical maturity and some research experience to be able to make a decision.

    Now a bit about theoretical physics:- very few programs at the undergrad level (BSc) in India will prepare you well for the meat of theoretical physics -- quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, mathematical methods, electromagnetic theory, statistical mechanics. Yes, the 2 year MSc courses and the 5 year MSc courses at the IITs and other places listed by graphene, are of course great, if you can get to do those. But if you can't, then ironically even the physics undergrad won't prepare you well for grad school and research in theoretical physics!

    In summary, if you simply cannot go to a school graphene suggested to study physics in your undergrad (BSc or MSc Int) for whatever reason (let's not get into that), then go ahead and join a good challenging engineering undergrad program, take lots of theoretical physics courses, read lots of things, and do lots of experiments. Have fun, and prepare for the entrance exams to TIFR, HRI (JEST) and also take the Physics GRE. Sustaining interest in physics is a key. If you can do that throughout the 3 or 4 years of your undergrad (whatever be the area) and you feel motivated at the end of your 3rd year (usually the toughest, in India) to go to graduate school in Physics, dive right in! [It is also important to emphasize the need to do well in your undergrad courses -- even the non-physics ones.]
  23. Jul 23, 2010 #22
    Hi aim1732, I think , B.Sc is best option for you .you need not to give entrance test for B.Sc You can take admission directly in B.Sc in Sikkim Manipal University. I have also done my B.Sc from Sikkim Manipal University. There is no entrance test for admission. SMUDE uses the latest edunxt technology to create a virtual classroom where you can interact with the faculty and students and thereby also network with other students, which is a unique and one of its kind feature amongst other colleges offering distance education. For the prospectus and speaking to their counselor you can register for free at: http://bit.ly/smude [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  24. Jul 23, 2010 #23
    Thank you everybody for your insights. I suppose that the bottomline is what maverick says - have fun and enjoy your physics. Although I can not understand much of the intricate differences the two of you talk about b/w engineering and research I am thinking I would get an engineering degree first, possibly in engineering physics itself.
  25. Jul 23, 2010 #24
    There is no difference. There are research jobs and not-so-research jobs, in both engineering and physics. Typically you can get some kind of research jobs in industry in engineering with a bachelors degree. But proper research jobs in physics will usually require a masters degree at the very least, and preferably a PhD (esp for research in academic institutions). Then there is theoretical research, experimental research and computational research in both engineering and physics research.

    The 'real' engineering is really only limited to some research labs and industry. Everything else is some morphed form of engineering. For instance, if all your time is spent coding in MATLAB in an engineering 'lab', then there is little difference between you and someone who works on software coding full time, whom you may consider a 'coder' (and perhaps look down upon, as unfortunately happens sometimes in academic circles back home).

    In other words, what we study as engineering in universities is a fraction of the preparation required for actual engineering, which is what you're supposed to do outside. That makes engineering slightly different from physics. Mainstream research groups in engineering, at universities essentially do applied science -- and the name 'engineering' sticks because of the program and department (and sometimes because the 'purists' would not like it otherwise :-p). Sometimes their research also involves a lot of 'pure' science. So, at the research level in engineering, you are actually doing science, physics if you will. Those who do it may choose to label it otherwise, but how does that matter? Research in engineering, research in science, they're really not all that different...sure the content and approaches may be a bit, but that's granular.

    It is hard to explain to you that at least in India, the idea of an engineering degree (if you're interested in research) is to acquire a set of skills which launch you in one direction. You're supposed to build up from there. It matters little then whether you do biochemistry or theoretical physics, after mechanical engineering. Sure, you'd probably have to change the way you look at things and analyze them, but quite often you bring a fresh perspective to the area being an 'outsider' (in an attempt to become an 'insider'). 'Science-based engineering' is what you ought to do...at least that is the spirit of the IITs. Perhaps with some renewed interest, other engineering institutes will also catch up and integrate science into their engineering programs.

    So, there's a bigger problem here I think. What you guys want is the label of a physicist and you're naturally concerned that an engineering major will take you off by a few radians. This is partly because of the antiquated notion in India, of weighing the social advantages of engineering against the academic advantages of physics (or anything else).

    Well, the ideal track (as stated earlier) is to do your undergrad major in the area you are most interested in. This way, there is no second guessing, and you will remain motivated (hopefully!). But if that doesn't work out, you can switch fields with some effort. Another https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=417120" on this forum might be of interest.

    As I have repeatedly emphasized before, simply having a BSc from any arbitrary place will not make you a better theoretical physicist. India has a VERY LARGE number of BSc students graduating every year. The much smaller fraction of them who get a chance, have few financial hardships, and are motivated go on to do their MSc and PhD, and do well. The rest don't, and the BSc just becomes a passport to a slightly better job far far removed from anything scientific or academic. Also please note that some of these colleges may not even be recognized by premier research institutes (including those in the country) where you'll want to pursue your masters and doctoral research. Not to mention that many universities in the US do not take students directly after BSc.

    Anyway, its more important to enjoy doing what you are doing now even if you want to do something else!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  26. Jul 23, 2010 #25
    I am in my 12th grade, and I have not taken IIT( which I regret now). I want to be an astrophysicist, and I am really confused as to what to do after my boards. I am considering doing my engineering first and then opt for a degree in astronomy or physics. What say?
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