A large number of young men and women enter the education system in India through undergraduate colleges and universities. This collective is the mainstay of national development. The character and quality of education they are imparted with at the undergraduate level make a major impact on the direction of the country's progress.
It is in this context that the Indian Institute of Science offers a unique 4-year Bachelor of Science (Research) programme. The graduates of this programme will obtain a Bachelor of Science (Research) degree in a specialization. This programme is carefully designed to offer specialization in a science subject, but the knowledge imparted carries a strong flavour of engineering and an exposure to social science disciplines. Students specializing in a Major subject are encouraged to take courses on other subjects, thus maintaining the strong interdisciplinary flavour of this Bachelor of Science (Research) programme. All students take core courses in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Engineering and Humanities in the first one and half years (I, II and III semesters). While specialization is introduced rigorously in the following year and a half (IV, V and VI semesters), the students are free (and are also encouraged) to choose electives from subjects other than their own specialization during this time. The course culminates with a research oriented project in the fourth year (VII and VIII semesters) supervised by a faculty.
This programme is embedded in an ambience of a mature and highly sophisticated research culture which has an equally strong base of both science and engineering. This research culture has evolved over the last hundred years, primarily engendered by a highly distinguished faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.
It has grown in an open and free academic environment where dedicated teaching, state-of-the-art laboratories, fast information networks and well-stocked libraries have come into being, aided by a flexible and enabling mode of administrative functioning. We believe that this unique academic environment should be utilized to impart high-quality training to inquisitive young minds at the undergraduate level. The departmental doors have remained open not only to faculty from other departments but also to scholars and practitioners from universities and industries situated elsewhere, nationally and internationally. The academic environment is open, free, pedagogic and non-hierarchical.
The faculty at IISc believes that this unique environment should be used for primary training of undergraduate students. A new type of training of a new generation of Indians is sought where even basic courses are taught in a manner informed by constant contact with active research. The Bachelor of Science (Research) programme is designed to strengthen this link where mentoring and tutoring by the existing IISc faculty, post doctoral fellows and senior research students become an integral part of the academic life of the undergraduate student. Some of the salient features of the UG programme are listed below.
The Bachelor of Science (Research) Programme
- A sound exposure of all students to the fundamentals of scientific, mathematical and engineering principles takes place in the first 3 semesters (1.5 years). Teaching of these core courses includes strong components of laboratory demonstration and hands-on experimental work.
- After the first 3 semesters the students opt for a specialization (Major). The specializations on offer are: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, Materials and Earth & Environmental Science.
- The allowed student strengths of all the specializations are about the same.
- All Major streams are interdisciplinary in character. While a student specializes in a stream, he/she also broadens his/her knowledge and skill by taking about 30% of the courses from other streams. This combination of courses is listed in his/her final transcript.
- The students are free to choose their specialization and combination of courses.
- The students do a research project in the area of their specialization in the final two semesters of the course. All the inquiry skills developed in the first 7 semesters are used to frame questions, creatively explore answers and communicate this coherently to both learned and uninitiated audiences.
- One full year of participation in a research project identifies the Bachelor of Science (Research) programme as a uniquely research based one. Such research based interdisciplinary undergraduate programmes are well suited to meet the present vocational and post-graduate requirements of the modern world.
- Students who complete all the requirements for the award of the Bachelor of Science (Research) degree have the option of getting a Master of Science degree by studying at IISc for a fifth year.
- The rich experience of research and graduate training at IISc is brought to bear on the programme by faculty taking part in teaching at the undergraduate level.
- Mentoring and tutorials are two important parts of the students' life. With a one to one supportive academic interaction between teacher and student, the mentor helps in correction through assistance and guidance. Lecture courses are accompanied by tutorials where post-graduate students of IISc play an important role.