Tiju Thomas

Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Sardar Patel Road, Chennai 600036, Tamil Nadu, India


ph. no: +91 8056456442
email id: tt332@cornell.edu or tijuthomas@iitm.ac.in

Our Research Group

Applied Nanostructures Engineering and Nanochemistry (ANEN) Research Group

ID6020 Panel Discussion notes (28 Sep., 2017)

How to get into IITM's MS/PhD programs?

Disclaimer: These are merely my observations and recommendations. You may want to gather more comprehensive information by talking to our MS/PhD students who made it into our system. Also there may be minor departmental variations. But the spirit of our interviews is always student-centric, since we are always eager to give opportunities to students who wish to do research for life, especially in areas wherein we can offer professional mentoring/advising.

There is a very generic answer to the above question, which many of us know, and I won't discuss that. This 'generic' part deals with getting good scores and qualifications honored by the current higher education ecosystem of the country (NET, GATE etc).There are some specifics though which aren't widely discussed, but which may be crucial from the standpoint of making it into our research programs. That will be the focus on this article.

IITM faculty look for sharp, creative and analytic thinking in their research students. This alone is not sufficient though! We also look for evidence of self-motivation, openness to learning new skills, aptitude for deep learning, and persistence. Evidence for motivation to do research is a big plus. We also value experience and exposure; hence please do not be shy to project relevant skills, and prior background (especially if your interviewers ask you to do so).

You can be sure that the interviews will be pleasant experience. We always look for student's forte, and would like to examine the student's commitment to learning and research in their very own turf. It is always good to be up to speed with concepts. Questions asked to you in our interviews and exams will not be ones that you can crack through rote memorization. Deep learning and independence of thinking is what we almost always look for. Also as a professional learning and research center, we also give points for aspects such as congeniality, collegiality, and reliability (as and when there is evidence for it).

In case you are a bit concerned about your basics, NPTEL videos could be helpful. The videos are from IIT and IISc faculty, and you will get a sense of the approach to subject-specific critical thinking we look for in our students.

Sometimes we notice that students give up and do not put up a fight, when they are asked questions. Please do not do so. Think! Write on the board. Show us what you are thinking. We are always looking for ways to give you points. Any work you show, and thinking that you share will be rewarded.

Especially because of the nature of research, you may occasionally anticipate questions on research design (eg. experimental design, simple model analysis), graphing etc. Evidence that you can connect concepts to a practical problem will be highly appreciated.

I hope I get to welcome you to our remarkable campus. We would like to see you as part of us, and we would like to contribute to your scholarly growth.

Fun fact: currently ~ 72% of our students do research of one form or the other. And ~30% of our students body are working towards their PhD. So if you choose to do PhD with us, you can be sure of a wonderful peer group.

PS: For MS//PhD students aspiring to be in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials, the following model exam papers might provide some feel for what the written exam will look like: https://mme.iitm.ac.in/?p=1086

For more information, please check the "Courses" and "Academics" sections in this URL: https://mme.iitm.ac.in/