“How to become a Physicist after engineering?”
“Can I do MSc in physics after BTech?”
“How to do a master’s in physics after mechanical engineering?”
“Can I do a Ph.D. in Physics after Engineering?”
“How to study Theoretical Physics after engineering?”
To all those questions, the answer is,
“Yes!! you can study Physics after engineering in India,
and there are plenty of ways to do that too!!”
Hello, fellow Physics enthusiasts!!!
Hey fellow Engineer!!! If you’re an engineering student or graduate and are aspiring to have a career in Physics after engineering, you’re in the right place. At this point in your career, you must be wondering if there are any ways to do that… We completely understand your dilemma cause we all have been through the same situation before we took the leap of faith with the little information we had at that moment. All for the love of physics! Don’t worry, it won’t be the same for you, You’ll be well-informed about all the options available(~ we know of). We’re here to clear all your doubts and share a few success stories of Engineers who were like you and me earlier, and now are having a successful career in Physics after Engineering (find them under the Personal stories section on this contents page of ours)
You might be wondering if there are any other people like you, looking to switch to physics after engineering.. the answer is a yes!! many people visit the blog and of them, we’ve successfully built a community of 1000+ engineers like you, looking to switch to physics after engineering. You can join the WhatsApp group from the invite link on this page. Some of our group members have made it big!! They have been selected to many prestigious institutes like IITs(Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur Kanpur, etc), ICTS Bangalore, HRI Allahabad, IMSc Chennai, TIFR Mumbai, TIFR Hyderabad, IISERs, and other universities like HCU, Pune University, etc, you can check the full list in this A catalog of our community members who are currently studying Physics after Engineering (Don’t be surprised if you find our engineers securing AIR 1s and AIR 5s in JAM & JEST). I’d recommend joining the groups because you’ll be getting updates about new opportunities opening up, and notifications of any exams mentioned below. You’ll also get suggestions from a few like us who have successfully entered Physics after engineering.
It’s been over three years since I started the blog, a lot of people have joined the WhatsApp group, and some of them have performed very well in exams like JEST, JAM, TIFR GATE, etc… And they have contributed to the blog by sharing with us how they prepared for those exams. Some of them also have been kind enough to share their journey into Physics after Engineering and details about all the ups and downs of it. To find all that content visit the Content of our blog Physics after Engineering.
Note: All that said, Reader discretion is advised on choosing a physics career cause one might not earn as much as one can with an engineering or MBA degree. It also takes a lot of time to settle in this field so be prepared to see all your crushes and Exes getting married and having a kid or two while you’re still studying. Also Cracking the competitive exams below and completing the course requires some serious commitment and love for the subject.
Assuming you have it all in you,
Let’s enter into details already !!!!
Ways to study Physics after Engineering
These are the major ways/opportunities for doing Msc or Integrated Ph.D.(or direct Ph.D. in some cases) in Physics after Engineering.
[Note: Details about Distance MSc physics degree are at the bottom.]
- Universities’ & Institutes’ Entrance tests
- Opportunities abroad (Physics GRE, General GRE, IELTS, TOFEL, etc)
- TIFR GS (Integrated Ph.D. paper)
- GATE score in any Engineering stream
- MS by research programs
- Direct Ph.D.
- Astronomy and related programs
- GATE Physics
- CSIR NET
- Distance programs (At the bottom of the page)
These are just too many exams and readers are often confused about which exam to prepare for. So, I’ve written the following post to help you decide upon Which exam to prepare for? JAM, JEST, TIFR, or GATE? I highly recommend going through that. Check out Exam and Probable Dates for a neat list of the exams, their probable dates, and deadlines. The three exams JEST, GATE, and NET have the syllabus of Msc+Bsc. All others mentioned above are conducted on the Bsc level syllabus and are easier for us Engineers with less physics background to crack.
IIT-JAM is conducted by IITs as an entrance test to Msc and Integrated Ph.D. in IITs and IISC. In addition, IISERs take JAM rankers into Integrated Ph.D. courses ( You’ve to apply separately for each). This is the best of all options for those who can’t spend a whole year preparing for entrance tests. Even if you prepare perfectly only up to 12th class level physics, you can get a decent rank (<1000), But of course, it might not be good enough to get you into IITs (Here is the Marks Vs Rank analysis of our COS members in JAM Physics. Click here to see the last ranks of seat allotment in IITs through JAM 2020. But with a good amount of preparation one can get into IITs. So, even if you are preparing for JEST, I strongly recommend keeping this as a backup option at least. Are Engineers eligible for MSc Physics in IITs through JAM?
Do read this post to get an idea about the Eligibility criteria for admission through JAM.
IIT Mandi, like IISERs, has its application portal you have to apply separately through their website, not through the JAM counseling portal where you can apply for all IITs in a single place.
also, NITs take students through other counseling but of them, only NIT Calicut takes Engineers in M.Sc physics. NIT Arunachal Pradesh takes Engineers in mathematical physics course but it’s a pretty bad course and college ppl recommend sitting for one more year and preparing for the exams again rather than taking admission there. There are plenty of posts on JAM preparation on our blog by our beloved community members, here are a few most popular ones:
- IIT-JAM and JEST preparation – Rishab Kaushik (AIR – 1 in both JAM & JEST)
- ⭐A complete JAM & JEST preparation guide– Harshul Gupta (AIR – 22)
- IIT JAM Preparation-Vaibhav Sharma (AIR – 5)
- On preparing for IIT-JAM Physics -Niket Shah(AIR – 6)
Universities’ Entrance tests
I’ve searched the eligibility criteria of almost all major colleges and universities and, These are the ones that I found to give admission to Engineering grads in M.Sc Physics (and similar courses). Almost all of the Institutes below don’t have any eligibility criteria for coursework unlike IITs which is a kind of saving grace for those who don’t satisfy the criteria :
- IUCAA – INAT exam for Ph.D. in Astro (Probably the best for Astro)
- MSc Physics(Astrophysics) at IUCAA(Link)
- M.Sc.Physics at IISER Thiruvananthapuram (Link)
- I-PhD program at IACS (Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science)
- JNU, Delhi
- LNMIIT, Jaipur [They take students who qualified jam with an interview. They have excellent faculty and also give a stipend of Rs.5000 pm to 10 out of the 15 students details here]
- University of Hyderabad (HCU)
- Delhi University
- Pune University😊
- Institute of Advanced Research, Gandhinagar (Engineers are eligible for MSc Physics, MSc Applied Physics & MSc Material science)
- IIT Mandi (Himachal Pradesh)
- Christ University (Bangalore) [This also is a good place as told by a research student in IUCCA who completed her M.Sc here after her engineering link to➜ her talk about her journey into Astrophysics]
- CHARUSAT, Gujarat
- Jain University, Bangalore [Application starts early December be watchful]
- Utkal University (Bhubaneswar)
- The Central University of Haryana [CUH] (This is a good place ➜for MSc Physics in CUH after engineering)
- Central University of Rajasthan [CUR] Mahatma Gandhi Central University[MGCU], Bihar (The CUR, MGCU, and CUH have a common entrance test ‘CUCET’)
- LPU (Lovely Professional University) [LPUCET]
- Manipal University?
I’m not exactly sure how good the last few institutes are. Do your research.
And here are The Probable Dates and syllabus of the above exams.
It is an exam conducted on the MSc level syllabus and is accepted by almost all State of the Art research institutes in India. Find the list of accepting institutes on the JEST website, apart from those mentioned in it, a few IITs take engineers into Ph.D. directly, find which IITs in the ‘Direct PhDs’ section of the blog post. A good rank in JEST can get you into research-oriented institutes that JAM can’t offer. The best part of this is you’ll be receiving a stipend which is of around 15-16k per month during your two-year coursework and after that, you’ll get a stipend of 25-28k revised to 31k per month, which will be enhanced to 35k after 2yrs.
I highly recommend reading the excellent articles about JEST prep written by our community members:
- The Road Not Taken!!– Harshul Gupta(AIR – 54)
- How I cracked JEST – Deepmala (AIR – 3)
- IIT-JAM and JEST preparation – Rishab Kaushik (AIR – 1 in both JAM & JEST)
- Books, lectures, and notes for JEST preparation – Chintan Patel (AIR – 6)
- Visit the Contents of the blog and scroll to the ‘JEST‘ section for more posts.
I recommend people to not prepare with complete focus only for JEST, but with some focus on other BSc level exams as a backup in parallel. I highly recommend reading the following post for getting a better idea about Which exam to prepare for? JAM, JEST, TIFR, or GATE?
Read this post by Vaneesh Suvarna for details about universities in European Union. MS (Abroad) in Physics after Engineering.
I feel you can fund yourself, then this is the best of all the options mentioned. Because switching careers is a relatively easier thing abroad, the opportunities you have there are numerous and the research happening even in the mediocre colleges there is comparable to that in good colleges here. The pay and social status of a professor or researcher will also be much better there.
Applying abroad involves tons of things, unlike the Indian system. It’s impossible to convey all the essential info in a single post or two. But don’t worry, we, the PAE community have got your back. In a series of posts by multiple authors, we tried to cover as many things as we can. So, please go through all the posts in the ‘applying abroad‘ section on this contents page of the blog. Here I’m listing some of the most liked posts. [If you are a complete newbie, start from this post 7 Effective Steps To Apply To Universities Abroad – Supe Prathamesh which covers all the basics about how to apply abroad]
- ⭐#COSabroad | Profiles, applications, rejects of PAEians doing Physics Abroad – COS Community
- Applying Abroad for Master’s Degree – Rajnish
- Physics GRE preparation for Engineers – Vaibhav Sharma (990/990 in PGRE)
- India or Abroad? MS/M.Sc (Master’s) in Physics after Engineering? – Vaibhav Sharma
- Applying for direct Ph.D. abroad right after Engineering (without masters) – Surendra Padamata (External link)
- Visit the Contents of the blog and scroll to the ‘Applying abroad’ section for posts with lists of universities and other useful stuff.
(A rant on the Indian govt) Our beloved Govt. of India has been reassuring us time and again how it’s going to underpay and undervalue the researchers and research institutes in the country. The recent minimal hike in stipend, which was given only to science and technology students and not for our social science counterparts, that too at the tragic cost of cutting off stipend completely to non-NET qualified scholars( seriously, who can work for 5 years for free??) proves that the conditions are going to prevail for a long time.
Anyway getting back to our topic, a General GRE with a combination of TOFEL or IELTS is necessary for the USA, and having a Physics GRE score is also recommended. As for the European countries, only IELTS is enough (Sending GRE scores might add to your profile but is not mandatory). The tuition fee is zero in some countries like Italy and Germany. We have a Whatsapp group exclusive for engineers aspiring to study Physics abroad It might prove very useful to you if you are one such. You can join the parent group from here, in its description you’ll find the link to the above-said group.
Also, check out this list of opportunities in physics for engineers abroad by Pleasant in his blog
- Refer to this answer for Physics GRE preparation
- Physics GRE Discussion Forums might be helpful too
- Brief Physics GRE study plan
- Physics GRE study guide (Click on the menu options on the left to see a detailed study plan)
TIFR is one of the elite research institutes in India. Even better than IISC as far as physics is concerned. If you opt for the Integrated Ph.D. paper, Your questions will be from the BSc syllabus but the no. of questions will be rather less and will be designed to test your deeper understanding of a concept. Very few people get selected this way. The interviews will also be very thought-provoking(read about the interview in the interviews section). You need to be very strong with your fundamentals. All TIFR institutes will take students through this.
The best part of this is the stipend. You’ll receive a monthly fellowship of Rs 16,000/- for the first year. At the end of the first year, upon satisfactory performance, the fellowship is enhanced to Rs 25,000/- per month (further raised to Rs 28,000/- after registration for PhD. and annual contingency of Rs. 20,000/-(First Year Int. PhD. students)-Book Grant Only / 32,000/- per year [Ph.D. students and Int. Ph.D. students (Second Year onwards)]
Through GATE Engineering score (any stream)
Yeah, you’ve read it right, few institutes accept students into the Physics stream with a GATE score in any engineering stream. If you have already secured a good Gate score in your engineering stream then these will be a great option for you.
- TIFR Hyderabad: If you have a GATE score of above 480 in any stream of engineering or science, you can apply for this. This is an interdisciplinary program specifically designed for B.Tech/ B.E graduates. It is not as good as the main campus of TIFR but still is one of the best institutes in India. The stipend and contingency are the same as for all the TIFR institutes mentioned above.
- ⭐M.Tech in Quantum Computing at IISc – They take GATE scores in most streams of engineering and some of the sciences as well. If you are into quantum computing this will be a fantastic opportunity for you. They also have 20 seats so you have higher odds of getting in as compared to the IPhD or Ph.D. programs whose intake would be very less. This is also an Industry and is application-oriented, one would have a good chance of getting a job I suppose(Not sure of the placement scenario just my prima facia opinion)
- IISER Kolkata – MS in Space Science and MS by Research
- IIST – MS Astronomy and Astrophysics
- ICTS – Int. PhD
- IISc – Ph.D., and I-Ph.D
- IMSc, Chennai Int PhD
- IIT Madras – Ph.D. (not sure)
MS by Research
Some IITs and other institutes offer MS by research programs. IISER, K offers one such in space research (read an Interview experience for the course by Arpita Manju). If you happen to be interested in that specific field of research then these courses would be a wonderful opportunity for you.
Astro and related Programs
- MSc Physics(Astrophysics) at IUCAA (Link)
- Direct Ph.D. IN Astro Program at IUCAA – INAT exam
- IPhD at NCRA (National Centre for Radio Astrophysics) – INAT and TIFR-GS
- Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST)
- Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) -IIAST exam
- Physics Research Laboratory (PRL)
- IIT Indore MSc in astronomy (through JAM)
- IISER Kolkata MS in Space Science
- CHARUSAT MSc Physics (Astrophysics and Cosmology as specialization)
Read the below article in our blog for details on Journey into space science after Engineering– Manu Gupta
Also, Check out this video of an astronomer ‘Pranoti Panchbai’ from IUCCA narrating her Journey into astrophysics after Engineering.
These are the institutes that we know for offering direct Ph.D. to engineers through JEST/GATE/NET, see the official websites to find the exact eligibility(a few of them ask for some 70% in bachelor’s for engineers). Since these are PhDs without master’s, the interviews might be a bit tough to crack. Read the following post for getting a better idea about Which exam to prepare for? JAM, JEST, TIFR, or GATE?
- IMSc, Chennai
- IUCAA, Pune
- NCRA-TIFR, Pune
- RRI, Bangalore
- IIT Kanpur, Guwahati
- Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI) [Although it’s mentioned as a direct Ph.D. those who don’t have a physics background have to attend a year and a half of coursework. So It’s an Integrated Ph.D. program again)
- IISc Bangalore
- Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore [Eligibility]
- BITS (All campuses)
- TCIS-TIFR Hyderabad
- IISERs: Pune, Mohali, Thiruvananthapuram, and Tirupati
- HRDD-BARC (Only M.E/M.Tech grads are eligible)
- Apart from the above, some of the options mentioned below in the NET and GATE section also offer Direct PhDs.
GATE and NET
B.Tech/B.E grads are eligible to write GATE and NET but I’d say they’re not quite relevant for engineers looking to do M.Sc. So, it’s better to focus on other more useful exams rather than these, as very few institutes take through these exams. Read the following post for getting a better idea about Which exam to prepare for? JAM, JEST, TIFR, or GATE? Here’s the tentative and inexhaustive list of institutes that take engineers through these exams(A big thanks to my friends who made the list!!).
- ICTS, Bangalore
- IISC, Banglore[Ph.D. and M.Tech in Quantum Computing]
- TIFR, Hyderabad
- IIST, Thiruvananthapuram
- IIT, Bombay
- IIT, Kanpur
- IISER, Kolkata
- IISC, Bangalore (Ph.D.)
- IIT Bombay, Kanpur, Roorkee, Dharwad, Guwahati, Gandhinagar (Ph.D.)
- IUCAA, Pune (Ph.D.)
- IMSc, Chennai (I-PhD)
- ICTS, Bangalore (I-PhD)
- TIFR, Hyderabad (Ph.D. and IPhd)
- CSIR labs-IMMT, CMERI, NPL, AMPRI, CEERI, NML, ICCT, NAL, CIMFR, CECRI.
- IISER, Tirupati (Ph.D.)
- NIT Roorkee and some other NITs
Other exams- Some other institutes like CMI (A very prestigious institute !!!) also accept B.Tech/B.E grads for both integrated and direct Ph.D., check their websites and also ensure you meet all their eligibility criteria.
Also, do visit all other useful content of our Physics Dorm.
Some of our group members have made it big!! They have been selected to many prestigious institutes like IITs(Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur Kanpur, etc), ICTS Bangalore, HRI Allahabad, IMSc Chennai, TIFR Mumbai, TIFR Hyderabad, IISERs, and other universities like HCU, Pune University, etc. And you can speak with them here in our Whatsapp group with 500+ members all of whom are engineers who actively discuss and help each other out in entering the physics stream after engineering.
Mail me at [email protected] for further queries.
This is a boon for those who are working and can’t afford to leave their job to prepare for exams. From what I’ve heard, many engineers start teaching in some coaching institute for 12th class or JEE and parallelly do M.Sc in distance. This way you’d be earning, doing a master’s and most importantly you’ll be working in a physics-related field and so your basics in physics will be strong. But again I’m not sure if the non-regular nature of this degree might affect your chances of getting a Ph.D. While I believe the elite institutes do not bother much about your educational background and all that matters is your interview, I’m still ambivalent about this. If any reader could collect information regarding this and share it with us, it’d be really useful. These are the open universities that I know of to give admission to the M.Sc Physics course for Engineering Grads:
- Tamilnadu Open University(Link)
- Kuvempu University (Link)
- Karnataka State Open University (Link)
- Nalanda University
Lalit Narayan Mithila University(Link) NIMS University (Link) Vardhaman Mahaveer Open University (Link)
These distance degrees are valid, only if you give the exam in a study center that is located in the territorial jurisdiction of the university since the above three universities are State Universities, you should give the exam in the respective states in which the university is located for your degree to be recognized by UGC.
All the options that are struck off have been discontinued by UGC in the year 2018. Do check their websites to see if the status has changed recently.