IISc's four-year UG course creating waves

IISc's four-year UG course creating waves

The four-year undergraduate (UG) course at the Indian Institute of Science is seeing a steady increase in the number of aspirants applying for the programme since it was started three years ago. A few institutes in the country have also communicated their interest to start a similar four-year UG course. 

While the number of students pursuing science is rapidly dwindling in the State, a look at the number of applicants for the course at IISc suggests a reverse trend. Last year, as many as 12,000 to 13,000 aspirants had applied for the course that has a total of only 120 seats, according to Chandan Dasgupta, Physics professor and dean of UG studies at IISc. 

The year before that, 10,000 to 12,000 aspirants applied for the programme. In 2011, when the programme was first started, 10,000 students had applied for it, said Dasgupta.  

Dasgupta said: “In the three years since the inception, the eligibility criteria has been made more stringent. In the first year, for example, there was no cut-off and those who made it through the entrance test had a chance of getting in. In the second year, we brought in the cut-off. In the third year, we made the cut-off requirement even higher,” said Dasgupta.

As many as 50 per cent of the students who join the programme every year come through the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana entrance exam and the rest are those who cracked qualifying entrances like IIT-JEE (mains and advanced). The application forms for the UG programme will be available from February to April. The first three semesters are devoted to the teaching of core subjects at the end of which, students will get to choose a specialisation in physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology, materials and environment. The programme primarily stresses on promoting interest in research.        

Dasgupta said that they had received a number of queries from various universities and institutes with regard to assistance and guidance to start four-year programmes. 

“I have got emails from a few central universities in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and one from Karnataka with regard to the BS course. These relate to the syllabus of the programme and others aspects,” said Dasgupta. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has communicated about the need to “network” with other institutions and universities as a means to improve quality of science education. 

“Measures like identifying 30 to 50 institutions for people to network and interact have been suggested,” said Dasgupta.

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