BANGALORE: There's good news for students who want to pursue science after standard 12 or PUC: 100 years after it was established, in a historic decision, IISc has decided to launch an under-graduate programme in science. It has tentatively planned to offer a four-year Bachelor in Science (BS) degree from academic year 2011.
The BS degree will be unique as it will combine fundamental science with training in engineering subjects a BS student has to compulsorily take engineering courses so that avenues are open to students in terms of job prospects as well as further studies in engineering apart from continuing in basic science itself.
This decision on BS comes after two years of discussion and debate and assessment of its pros and cons. The Council, IISc's highest decision making body, recently approved it.
Three top science academies in India, including the Indian Academy of Sciences and Indian National Science Academy, were among the early promoters of the Bachelors in Science idea. The academies have felt that an undergraduate programme at the most prestigious science institution in India would excite students and enhance interest in science.
What's in store
The BS over eight semesters will be offered in physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology and materials science and students can choose the engineering courses from electrical, mechanical, civil and computer science. The first three semesters will have common courses, the fourth will have engineering courses and fifth to eight will be the chosen specialisation.
"An interesting feature of the BS is a student specialising in physics can take, say, 70% of physics and combine it with 30% of biology or chemistry and a chemistry student can specialise in 70% of chemistry and opt for 30% physics. The plan is to make BS flexible to give students lot of options,'' an IISc professor in charge of academic affairs, said.
Intake of 100 to 125 students for the BS is being planned so that the addition to the existing 2,500 students is about 500 over four years. The BS is being structured in such a way that the student gets into PhD directly without having to do an MS or MSc. "The BS will have a strong research orientation as we would be very excited to have students pursuing PhD in basic sciences which will be helpful to the cause of science in general. The under-graduate programme will be geared to create interest in higher studies and research. The programme will be similar to the ones at California Institute of Technology and Harvard.''
Professors said the BS is being introduced also because: "Experimental under-grad programmes are very few. Students should know where they are heading in science after four years. We hope to excite students into higher research in science.''
* Professors working out manner in which students would be admitted to BS
* As IISc is a member of IIT-JEE, one possibility is take students through JEE based on their ranking and performance
* Another option could be to have entrance test
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Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi 221005, UP