Yes!!! You can purse Physics after MBBS

Dushyanth Edadasula

Dushyanth Edadasula

I am from Srikakulam, a small town in Andhra Pradesh, and have done my MSc in Physics from Pune University, B.Tech from Andhra Univerity. I love Photography and I run this 'Citizens of Science' on the side. you can read our incredible journey from the 'Story so far' page in the top bar.


Yes!!! you can study Physics after MBBS!


Firstly, I’m surprised someone after going through years of training is considering leaving it all behind and switching to Physics. I highly appreciate your interest in Physics. It is indeed a fortune for me to be of any help. You can reach out to me directly on ‘dushyanth.edadasula@gmail.com’. I can try connecting you with other doctors I have met before who were considering switching to Physics (Yeah, you are not alone).

Getting to the topic, I know of three ways in which you can do Physics after MBBS in India!

  1. MSc Physics at IIT Gandhinagar
  2. I-PhD at TIFR Hyderabad
  3. TIFR Interdisciplinary Program in the Physics of Life (TIFR-PoL)

MSc Physics at IIT Gandhinagar

Unlike the other IITs, Gandhinagar has no restrictions on what kind of bachelor’s degree it can be. Any bachelor’s degree holder can apply to any master’s degree (Physics, mathematics & chemistry) at IIT Gandhinagar, so long as you have a good enough JAM rank. You can check my bio to find preparation posts for the jam exam. Also, there is a chance that in the future, the other IITs may change their eligibility criteria as well, keep checking this blog post or join our Telegram group for updates (Link is in the Physics Dorm )

JAM has about 70% of questions from the 12th class Physics syllabus. As of 2020, the cut for MSc Physics in Gandhinagar is AIR 372 for the General category, someone with 50% marks would get a rank of about 300. So, brushing up on your 12th-class Physics alone can get you there. If can take out some 6 months’ time to prepare the complete BSc syllabus for JAM, you’ll be in a much better position.

Among all the options this is the only one that will bring you into mainstream Physics that too without any stipulations of completing a Ph.D. Although it might be possible to quit those I-PhD programs in the middle (and leave with an MSc), it is not usually expected of the student. Since this is not one such, you have no strings attached. You can use this 2 years’ time to explore and know the basics of all the sub-branches of physics and then apply for a Ph.D. in whatever you think is the best fit. You can do it in India or abroad as well. You can even go back to the medical field after 2 years with a Master’s degree in hand (not an Ideal choice but yeah, it’s a relief knowing you still have this option).

I-PhD in TIFR Hyderabad

TIFR Hyderabad is set up for interdisciplinary research, it’s a rather new branch of TIFR but is doing exceptionally well. You’ll find people from Physics, Chemistry, and Biology backgrounds working together in the same labs. It takes students through their entrance exam TIFR-GS exam and JEST.

  1. TIFR-GS: (since you’ll be giving I-PhD paper and not the Ph.D. paper) you’ll need to study only BSc level Physics, I’d suggest you go through the TIFR GS old papers(IPhD ones). You’ll notice that just like with JAM at least 50–60% of questions are actually from the 12th class level. If you’re good with 12th-class Physics you can clear the cut-off to attend interviews with will be something about 33% usually (they never disclose it officially). You have to clear the interview to get admission though.
  2. JEST: It technically is of MSc level syllabus but you’ll be attempting the I-PhD paper, so your competitors will be BSc grads and not MSc grads. So, with the JAM syllabus you can crack it and attend interviews at TIFR I believe

I-PhD ‘Physics of Life’ (TIFR)

This is a newly introduced I-PhD program and I’m super stoked because this is jointly run by two TIFR Institutes both of which are (among) the most sought-after research Institutes in their own fields: National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS).

This won’t be a pure Physics program or a pure Biology program, but an Interdisciplinary one. It is widely believed that intersection fields will gain massive prominence in the future. You can go through the links to know more about the program here tifr.res.in & icts.res.in.

How do they take in?

“Candidates in the TIFR-PoL Program must attempt the TIFR Nationwide Graduate School Entrance Examination in any discipline (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology/JGEEBILS, Computer and Systems Science). We will also consider candidates who have attempted the JEST/GATE examination in any discipline.” [Source]

Post Doc without a PhD?

If I understand it right, one with an MD, can directly do a Post Doc (which is hitherto unheard of for me). The eligibility for Post Doc in their website reads “Candidates with MD or MTech degrees can also apply if they want to switch to basic research with special focus”.  You should probably reach out to profs to know more about the prospects. Even I can try helping you with that we have a few students studying in ICTS (but not this program).

Apart from these 3 opportunities, there are also other exams like GATE, and NET, but they both are of MSc level syllabus, and will need you to study many more topics, which might make it complicated for you unnecessarily.

Some key points to consider

  1. JAM is the easiest of the above-mentioned exams (You can find the Marks vs Rank analysis here and the cut-off for IIT Gn from the official JAM website)
  2. Through JAM you’ll get into an MSc program through it and not I-PhD. You can explore the entirety of Physics during MSc, choose a branch to specialize in and then go for a PhD in a field & place (even abroad) of your choice. This won’t be usually the case with the I-PhD programs.
  3. Both of the I-PhD programs discussed are interdisciplinary in nature someone who wants to work in core Physics may feel disappointed.
  4. But if one is interested in interdisciplinary research, this will be an advantage because you get to apply your previous knowledge in some way or the other. For the value & knowledge from your domain that you bring to the table, you will have your own identity in the lab from day 1 without having to rebuild it unlike with the case for pure physics with an MSc.

There are many excellently written blog posts in our Physics Dorm about the JAM and JEST exams, you may go through them. Also, there is a whole community of people preparing for exams, they can help you out or guide you. You can join us from the link in the dorm page itself (ping me personally I can add you to secret groups with special people, offer only valid for doctors lol).

Bottom line: Prepare for JAM, TIFR, and JEST with a major focus on JAM.

All the best!!

The cover image is generated by AI (Midjourney) with the keyword “Stethoscope Physics Lab”. Seems, it’s not very far until they will start an evil uprising. You never know what happens next. YOLO. So, take all your risks in this one and jeopardize your career. JK.

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