Subject Board and Guidelines

Subject Board in Science Education

The Science Education Subject Board of the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education is responsible for the Graduate Programme in Science Education. 

The members of the Science Education Subject Board are:

  • Prof. Arnab Bhattacharya - Convener, Subject Board and Centre Director, HBCSE (ex-officio)
  • Prof. Savita A. Ladage - Dean, HBCSE Faculty (ex-officio)
  • Prof. Sanjay Chandrasekharan - Course Coordinator (ex-officio)
  • Dr. Deepa Chari - Admissions Coordinator (ex-officio)
  • Prof. Aniket Sule
  • Prof. Anwesh Mazumdar
  • Dr. Mashood K.K.

Subject Guidelines and Procedures: Science Education

(Framed under Article 2 of the Rules of the Deemed University)

The TIFR graduate programme in Science Education will follow the basic guidelines and procedures set out in this document prepared by the Science Education Subject Board. 

1. Degrees, Programmes and Eligibility 

Degrees: Ph.D. in Science Education.


M.S. Programme: Not offered currently.

M.Phil. Programme: Not offered currently.

Int. Ph.D. Programme: Not offered currently.

Ph.D. Programme: The graduate programme in the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education will lead to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Science Education. As an area for the Ph.D. degree, Science Education is to be interpreted broadly, including the areas of mathematics education, technology education and other allied areas.

Eligibility: M.Sc. (in any subject), M. Tech or a Master's degree (M.A./ M.S.W.) in any of the social/ behavioural sciences/ psychology/ linguistics/ sociology/ economics/ anthropology or M.Ed. with a Science or Social Sciences/Humanities undergraduate degree.

Part-time / External students: Candidates who wish to pursue the Ph.D. program part-time or as external students are allowed to apply. In addition to the above educational requirements, candidates who are employed in either TIFR or other organizations (including teachers) need prior clearance from their respective organizations to be eligible for admission as part-time/ external students.

2. Admissions Procedure

Ph.D. Programme: There will be a yearly Entrance Examination for admission to the Ph.D. Programme. The eligible applicants will first be screened on the basis of a written test. Candidates who pass the written test will appear for an interview, which is the main part of the examination. In exceptional cases, a Special Entrance Examination may be administered at any time of the year to an especially promising candidate at the discretion of the Subject Board. Provision for Foreign Students: The above provision for a Special Entrance Examination will also apply to especially promising candidates from abroad.

3. Description of Programmes

Ph.D. Programme: Students who enroll in the Ph.D. programme in Science Education will undergo course-work for three semesters. After completing the course-work, they will appear for a qualifying examination. Students are expected to identify a topic and an advisor and register for their Ph.D. degree within six months of passing the Qualifying Examination. The programme culminates in the submission of the Ph.D. Thesis for a Thesis Examination. The successful candidates will be awarded the Ph.D. degree of TIFR in Science Education. A residency period of at least two years after joining will be a requirement for submission of the synopsis. A period of at least two year after registration will be a requirement for the award of a Ph.D. degree.

The course-work for the Ph.D. program at HBCSE will consist of two components: (A) Graduate courses and (B) Field work/ Project work. Every Ph.D. student, including part-time/ external students, will need to complete 44 credits obtained through course-work of which a minimum of 24 credits must be obtained through core courses and a 8 credits through field work/ project work.

Graduate Courses: The graduate courses at HBCSE will include core courses (methods of educational research; introductory cognitive science) and optional courses on diverse topics such as history, philosophy and sociology of science, language and science, pedagogy and evaluation, etc. There will also be broad-based content courses in science, mathematics and technology. Graduate courses may be lecture-based courses, reading courses or courses in any other format as decided by the instructor. The courses to be offered will be announced at the beginning of each semester.

Field work/ Project work: HBCSE offers ample opportunities for research students to interact with teachers and students and the social system relevant to the field of research in science and mathematics education. Such opportunities include teacher orientation, student nurture programmes, classroom observation, short research projects, etc. In addition, there are also opportunities at the Centre for project work such as developing experiments, activities and exhibition modules, development of materials in print and other media, etc. All such work done by the student would fall under the category of field work/ project work. 

Assignment of Research Programmes and Advisors for Ph.D. Thesis: It will be the responsibility of the student to find, in consultation with the Subject Board, a research programme and an advisor, suitable to the student's aptitude and interests. There is no formal procedure for assignment of research programmes and advisors. Students are expected to develop a serious interest in a broad area of specialization by the end of their second year, and they are welcome to consult the members of HBCSE for suggestions about the research to be pursued. 

Thesis Guide/ Advisor: All regular academic members of the HBCSE with at least two years of post-doctoral experience are eligible to be thesis advisors. If their superannuation is less than two years beyond the 1st January of the year in which the allocation is made, they should identify at the time of allocation a co-advisor working in a similar area, who can take over as the formal advisor if and when the original advisor retires. The co-advisor should have a superannuation date more than 5 years beyond 1st January of that year, and his/her appointment as a co-advisor should be ratified by the Subject Board.

Additionally, all research scholars will be assigned a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) comprising of three or more faculty members. The primary aim of the committee is to monitor the progress of the research student towards meeting the guidelines and norms laid down by the Subject Board for Science Education. The committee may note the strengths and weaknesses of the students, and suggest how they can be best handled to advantage, suggest ways to leverage the opportunities for research in the area, and anticipate the threats to timely completion.

4. Course requirements 

  1. Must register for core courses, foundational electives and electives.

  2. Minimum pass grade point (G.P.) for an individual course is 5.0 out of 10.

  3. Core courses must be completed with a minimum pass grade. If a student gets a G.P. below the minimum grade, he/she must re-register for the course and complete it. No more than two attempts are allowed to pass a core course.

  4. Exemption from any course may be granted by a course instructor by following the specified procedure for course exemption.

  5. Must not accumulate more than 8 credits of course work with a G.P. below 5.0 out of 10.

  6. Must complete 44 credits of course work (including field work) with a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 7.0.

  7. Must complete field work project with a minimum G.P. of 7.0.

The sample course transcript showing the conversion of grades can be found here

Extended period for Part-time/ External students: Part-time and external students admitted to the Ph.D. program in Science Education will need to complete the same number of credits of course-work as the regular students described above. For such students, the course-work must be completed in six semesters or less. Exceptionally, in deserving cases, one extra year may be granted by the Subject Board to enable the student to complete the course work. A student who does not complete the course-work by the end of the extended period is liable to have his or her admission to the Ph.D. programme cancelled.

Qualifying Examination: The written comprehensive examination takes place after 2 semesters and is based on the courses completed, a score of 7 out of 10 is required to pass the written comprehensive examination.

The qualifying oral comprehensive examination must be taken not later than six months after completion of the course-work (3 semesters). It will be a comprehensive viva voce examination conducted by an examination committee constituted by the Subject Board. Part-time and external students admitted to the Ph.D. program in Science Education will also need to appear for the qualifying examination. The qualifying examination will be primarily based on the graduate courses and the field work/ project work that the student has completed and the research area identified for Ph.D./M.Phil. 

If a student does not perform satisfactorily in the qualifying examination in the first attempt, he or she will be allowed to appear for a second and final attempt or instead will be asked to give a seminar or submit a written report. A student who does not pass the qualifying examination is liable to have his or her admission to the Ph.D. programme cancelled.

If a student is found guilty of academic misconduct, e.g. using unfair means in exams, forging academic records, plagiarism etc. a strong disciplinary action will be taken, and may lead to expulsion of the student from the Institute.

In meritorious cases part of the course-work and qualifying examination requirements may be waived by a decision of the Subject Board, Science Education.

Course exemption: A student may apply for a waiver for a Core/ foundational elective course within a forthnight of the semester begining along with a justification.

A Common Drop Test (CDT), to enable such students to get course waivers for some of the Core/foundational elective courses in the semesters, will be held, on a convenient date. If a student secures 7.0 on a scale of 1-10 or above in any paper of the CDT, he/she will be assumed to have completed the course and the marks in that CDT paper will be deemed to have been secured in the course. However, if the student wishes, he/she can continue in the course. If the student decides to continue, his/her CDT result in the corresponding paper will stand automatically cancelled. If a student secures less than 7.0 in any paper of the CDT, he/she will continue in the course.

Regarding the course on teaching experience, any student with recognized teacher qualification can be exempted from the course.

Course credit calculation:

  • 4 hours a week for a 4 credit course, which runs for a minimum of 14 weeks.

  • 4 credits for teaching experience course.

  • 8 credits for field work project.

  • Total of 44 credits.

Registration: Students who pass the Qualifying Exam can seek registration for Ph.D. For this, they shall apply to the subject board within 6 months of the Qualifying Examination and seek formal approval of the Board for registration. The application should contain the name of the proposed thesis advisor and a broad description of the topic of research intended to be pursued, endorsed by the proposed thesis advisor.


Extension from 0.5 to 1 year:

The academic programme of a student will be terminated if at the end of a semester

He/She has received less than 5.0 in 2 or more core courses OR

He/She has received less than 5.0 in 2 courses and CGPA is less than 7.0.

Extension from 1 to 1.5 years:

Student should have successfully completed written comprehensive exam.

The academic programme of a student will be terminated if at the end of the second semester

He/She has received less than 5.0 in 2 or more core courses OR

He/She has received less than 5.0 in 2 courses and CGPA is less than 7.0.

Extension from 1.5 to 2 years:

He/She should have completed 36 credits of coursework.

He/She should have completed 24 credits through core courses.

He/She should have got a grade point of at least 5.0 in each core course.

He/She would need to have a CGPA of 7. 

Extension from 2 to 2.5 years:

Student should have completed 44 credits.

He/She would need to have a CGPA of 7.

Student should have completed 24 credits through core courses.

Student should have got a grade point of at least 5.0 in each core course.

Student should have completed field work with a G.P. of at least 7.0.

Student should have completed oral comprehensive exam and defended thesis proposal in a proposal seminar. Exceptionally a student may be given an extension of one semester to meet this requirement.

Extension from 2.5 to 3 years: Student should have registered for PhD.

Extension from 3 to 4 years: Satisfactory progress report from guide and TAC. 

Extension from 4 to 5 years:

Submission of a manuscript article to a well recognised peer reviewed research journal.

Satisfactory progress report from guide and TAC.

Any extension beyond 5 years will be a special extension.

Termination: If a student fails to get an extension, the scholarship will be terminated. 

Publication requirement:

All research scholars are required to publish at least one research article, based on their doctoral work, in well recognised and credible peer-reviewed journals. Research scholars are expected to make this submission as early as possible, preferably by the end of their fourth year.

Submission of synopsis: This would require an acceptance of a research article based on doctoral work, in a well recognised peer reviewed research journals. 

Approval of Submission of Ph.D. synopsis and Ph.D. Thesis: After a student completes his/ her Ph.D. research project, with the permission of the Thesis Advisor the student will forward a synopsis of the thesis to the Subject Board to obtain prior approval for the submission to the Deemed University Office. The same procedure will once again be followed to obtain prior approval for submission of the corresponding thesis. The Subject Board will in general give its decisions in about a week. Once the Subject Board approves the submission of a synopsis/ thesis, the rest of the process of submission and evaluation of the synopsis/ thesis will follow the general guidelines prescribed by the Academic Council, as given in the document "Deemed University: Rules and Procedures".

5. Visiting Students' Research Programmes: Not offered currently.