Tuesday, October 23, 2007

General Information on PhD Programs in India

General Information on PhD Programs in India (Updated on 7th November 2008)
Doctoral (PhD) Programs in India
Fellow Program in Management in India
IIM Fellow program India
Educational Research
PhD Research in India
How to do Research
Research in India

This page contains information specific to PhD programs offered in India only. This is an initial draft, I am updating this page on a regular basis.

Recent Advertisements for PhD and Fellow Program in Management can be found on Indian MBA site.


In India Doctoral level programs are offered by:
Universities (includes deemed universities), IITs, IIMs and others.

The degrees offered are:

Universities (includes Deemed Universities) - PhD - Part Time / Full Time
IITs - PhD - Part Time / Full Time
IIMs - Fellow - Full Time
Others - Fellow - Part Time / Full Time
QIP or Quality Improvement Programs are run by all IITs and few IIMs. QIP programs are run by IITs and other government run institutes. Only those who have a minimum experience of a fixed number of years can get admission and have to be sponsored by the their host academic institution.

Why go for a PhD?
Some go for its intellectual stimulus (Very rare).
Some want it to get into consulting.
Some want it, as it is essential for promotions (when they are in academic jobs)
Some want to go into academics (teaching profession) (about min. requirements for lectureship)
Can’t find a job based on their past education! (So keep on studying!!)
Or just don’t know what to do!!!

The number of candidates applying for a PhD has increased in the past 3 to 4 years (I don’t know whether the difference is significant). But the number of admission offers has remained the same as it is difficult to find quality students. However, attrition rates are also high.

Admission Season
Institutes generally admit candidates two times a year (around December and June). Advertisements for June come out in February in Sunday editions of Leading National Dailys’. One also should keep on browsing the web sites of the Institutes that you want to apply. Please don’t relay on what is written on the web pages, they are not updated regularly (remember you are in India). Please read the admission brochure thoroughly before applying and also before joining (rules can have different interpretations!). IIM’s admit candidates who have a CAT score. So if you are targeting IIM’s then you should be appearing for CAT.
What the PhD admission committee looks for in a candidate?
The following is not a comprehensive list, you may not have any of the following but you are admitted.
Research aptitude
Strong basics
Consistent academic performance (toppers in their engineering class etc type)
Candidates from reputed Institutes
Good Master’s project
Conference or journal publications
Past work experience
Are you doing time pass (i.e. leave the program once you get a (good) job)

PhD Selection Process (General)
Generally PhD selection is based on presentation and interview. What is asked in the interview depends on the Institute or department you are applying to. In the presentation it is sometimes expected of you to give a research proposal. This can be in your area of interest. It is very important that the area you want to do research in (i.e. the area you want to work in) should be related to your past education. Some times the interview committee is not at all concerned with your past work experience! What this means is that you should have good basic education in the area you wish to work in. You definitely can’t apply to the Department of Computer Science with a Masters degree in Energy System Engineering and say you are interested in Software Engineering, it is a bit out of place. Past work experience is also not a criterion in PhD selection. It totally depends on the candidate how he presents himself.

PhD from IITs
In IITs for Part Time as well as Full time Scholars, one year (this varies)(some times more or less) compulsory course work is to be done on campus. For Part Time scholars they can take a study leave from their host institution/company. It is the same for QIP scholars also. A handsome (may not be) stipend is also paid to full time scholars.

PhD from IIM’s
IIMs require a candidate to complete two years of course work. So you should be ready for that. As far as I know IIM’s don’t admit Part time candidates. The final degree is called Fellow.

PhD from a University
Some university departments conduct a written test of their own. This system generally allows the candidate to proceed at his / her own pace. You can select a guide and a topic and start your research (start working on it). It generally takes 3 years to get the degree through the university system.

Contact someone or visit the institute:
It is advisable to contact someone already working on a PhD from the institute and know how the program is. It may be so that things up to the mark at the PhD level even in Institutes of national repute. Talk to the Professors of your area and the person heading the research programs. This will give you a good idea of what you can expect once you get admitted.

How to start off or narrow down on a topic (for the beginner)?
You have worked in industry and have seen a problem there which you think will need good amount of intense research then (you have some thing to work on!) You can extend you master’s level research work (if at all it is up to the mark!)
Do a proper literature survey and find the research gaps (Sounds very easy!!). Try getting hold of the literature on your area first!!!!

For some one starting in the dark
In the area you want to work on start reading some Text book in that subject. Please note (frank advice) pick up a book that is authored by a US university professor targeted at students. Then only you can get the real feel of the subject. Then see what things (topic may be a better word) that interest you. A little specialized reading will get you out of your darkness.
These are some pages that provide information on “How to do research” in different fields of study. A must see for all.

Types of Research

Survey or questionnaire based study
A sizeable number of researchers land up doing some thing known as survey research. Initially it may look very simple but if you are not aware of some things your quality of work can suffer like any thing. You should be very good at what is known as Research Methodology and Statistics.

Mathematical Modeling

Mathematical Simulation

Research Methodology
For those who dont have any idea where to start, you can buy any Research Methodology book available at any local book store in you city. This will give you a clear idea on how to proceed. For the admission process you may need to have a tentative research proposal. This is just to give an idea to the selection commitee that you have an aptitude for research in the field. You may change the topic as advised by you guide later after admission.

Statistical Tools
Gone are the days of simple t tests and regression analysis. Now a days (this is year 2005) multivariate analysis is the norm. Ordinary statistical analysis can be passed off in low quality work. Advanced statistical packages like SPSS and SAS are the norm in data analysis. Have you heard of LISREL (SEQ) and Meta analysis!! Its time you start some Google search and know what is happening around.
Mind well it is your own effort and no one will help you out. You should be self motivated enough to start a journey in the unknown depths of knowledge that may take 3 to 4 years of work to complete!
A good online text book on Statistics is available here.

After a PhD, What?
If you are form a top notch Institute you can go for consulting. After a Doctoral Program many people go for academics. One warning is that teaching is not a simple job. Teaching at top notch places is challenging. If the students are interested in what is taught and they also come prepared to the class, they can challenge the faculty on each and every statement (It happens!)
Some other options are - Keep working on it! Go for a Post Doctoral!!
Yahoo Groups
The following two are yahoo groups for students doing PhD in India.

Specialist India This group is meant for networking all India doctoral students in management and allied sciences.

Management PhD Discussion group for PhD students and guides in the area of Management
This site talks about a survey conducted in 1999. The respondents were PhD students from USA. Worth browsing.

How to do research at MIT AI Lab is a working paper written long back, but still holds in today’s context in any area of research. http://www.cs.dal.ca/~eem/gradResources/MITAIResearch.html

Some great links on How to do research! http://www.ifs.tuwien.ac.at/~silvia/research-tips/

MIT has some excellent resources on the internet.
Hundreds of Online Thesis are available. Online Thesis
MIT’s Open Course Ware, hundreds of courses are available online with complete lecture notes, session plans, exam question papers and assignment. OCW Page

Online Thesis is also available from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Library Electronic

Indianmba.com web site is a comprehensive site that also caters to people joining PhD or FPM programs. Click here for FPM or Management PhD Advts.

A forum called Pagalguy.com also has some posting dedicated to FPM only. Please read all the posting before posting any thing. You also have to sing in.

Please use your own brains (or heads or think on it) before acting on any information on this page!