“IISER… where Tomorrow’s Science begins Today”. These are the words that greet visitors when they walk into the main complex of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Pune. Spread over a hundred acres across Pashan and Aundh, this institute is the oldest of the seven IISERs in India. The IISERs have been established through the Ministry of Human Resource Development as research-intensive teaching institutes for undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral studies.
It was a dream come true as soon as I entered joyously the campus of IISER Pune. The college has been in existence for more than a decade, although I only came to know of it in my 11th class, while preparing for JEE. My goal then was somewhat structured- securing a good college and pursuing higher studies in the field of environmental research. When I discovered IISERs and its curriculum, I was overjoyed!
IISERs offer only a dual-degree course for students, who have completed their class XII. It is an integrated Bachelors and Masters in Science (BS-MS) for a duration of five years. There are some key differences between a BS-MS degree and a B.Sc followed by an M.Sc. B.Sc. courses offer specialization in the first year. BS-MS offered by IISER Pune includes two years of all basic sciences and two years of specialization with a whole year for an independent thesis work (the duration of common courses varies between 1 and 2 years in IISERs). The duration is also shorter and there are several complementary courses oriented towards research.
There are three channels to gain admission into any of the IISERs – JEE, KVPY (Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana), and SCB (State and Central Board channel). The first two require a certain cutoff to apply solely on the basis of the respective marks. The SCB channel requires a minimum score in class XII, different for each board, to write an Aptitude Test. The details are updated for every academic year on www.iiseradmission.in . There are excellent scholarship opportunities like KVPY itself and INSPIRE scholarship from the Department of a Science and Technology for meritorious students.
My life at IISER overall has been an enriching experience. With students from all over the country staying on campus, the student life is vibrant and a great learning experience. The studies are, of course, most demanding of your time and energy. But what makes it most exciting is learning from experts in their fields, working in state-of-the-art labs and having access to the latest developments in science around the world. Going beyond the call of academic work, there are several student organizations/clubs devoted to sports, entertainment, recreation and a variety of other fields of interest. From guest lectures and seminars, poetry and jam sessions, clean-up drives and nature walks, to inter-collegiate sports and contests, the campus is constantly abuzz with activity.
Self-dependence, Time Management, and Work Efficiency are only a few of the imperative life skills ,I am learning to develop here. I have gained many friends, and as many perspectives on life as well. I hope that in the next four years I will continue to do so, and see myself flourish with the young and promising community IISER strives to build on the values of curiosity, creativity and unconventionality.
I sincerely hope that next academic year, I will meet some of you from Akshara as my juniors in ISSER.
2nd Year BS-MS
Akshara Batch of 2016
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