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Mathematics as a Career Path

Mathematics as a career choice has been picking up among the students of India since the last couple of years. But sadly, very few students are aware fully of the scope they have to study in India. Most go for the local colleges and Universities in their neighbourhood. In this article we shall discuss the avenues that are open to students after they pass their 12th class in India.

India has a rich tradition in math since time immemorial, and this has led to the establishments of various centres of learning in math and related sciences. In the present day too, there are various institutes offering math education and research of world repute in India. Typically the road to an education in math starts after passing the 12th class in India. A student then has the opportunity to either opt for a BSc degree or an Integrated MSc degree or a BS degree or an Integrated MS degree.

The two best places in India offering a Bachelor’s degree in math are the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Bangalore and the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), Chennai. ISI offers a B.Math degree, and admissions are held after a tough screening test in various centres of India held in late May each year followed by a personal interview at Bangalore. CMI offers a BSc degree in Mathematics and Computer Science and another in Mathematics and Physics, admissions to which is through a written test held in various centres of India in late May each year, which may be followed up by an interview later. Both ISI and CMI also admit students who have qualified in the Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO). For ISI they also have to attend an interview in Bengaluru. For ISI the interview takes place at Bengaluru. Added to that CMI also admits students who have qualified in the Indian National Olympiad in Informatics (INOI) and Indian National Physics Olympiad (INPhO). The INMO is held every year on the first Sunday of February. But to appear in the INMO, one has to pass the Regional Mathematical Olympiad (RMO) which is held in various centres throughout India in December every year. Similarly to appear in INPhO one has to pass National Standard Exam in Physics(NSEP) and for INOI one has to pass either of Zonal Computing Olympiad(ZCO) or Zonal Informatics Olympiad(ZIO).

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A student can also opt for a BS degree in math, which is a 4 year course. At present the two best places in India for a BS degree are the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. IIT admits students via the JEE Advanced held every year in April-May. While IISc admits students via the JEE Mains, JEE Advanced and Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY). The KVPY is held every year in November for students in classes 11th, 12th and UG 1st year.

A student can also opt for an integrated BS-MS dual degree course in math offered at the Indian Institutes of Science and Education Research(IISERs) which is a 5 year course. The IISERs are located in Pune, Mohali, Kolkata, Bhopal and Trivandrum. The IISERs admit students via KVPY, JEE Advanced. One may also apply via marks in board exams and then writing the IISER entrance exam which is held in mid July in the five IISERs. The marks in board exams depends on the INSPIRE cutoff for the respective boards.

After the BSc/BMath/BS degrees a student has the opportunity to get an MSc or an MS degree from the many places in India and abroad. They can also apply for an Integrated MSc-PhD degree offered at some places in India. Ideally the best places in India for a Masters degree in math are mentioned below:

  • CMI, through admission test held in late May

  • ISI, Kolkata or Bengaluru through admission test held in late May

For Integrated MSc-PhD programmes the best places are:

  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai and Bangalore admits through a written test held in May and followed by an interview

  • IISc, Joint Admission Test for M.Sc. (JAM) followed by an interview at IISc

  • The Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai admits through the National Board of Higher Mathematics (NBHM) exam followed by an interview

  • Harish Chandra Research Institute (HRI), Allahabad admits through the NBHM exam followed by an interview

  • IISERs (Pune, Mohali, Trivandrum, Bhopal, Kolkata) also has a good Integrated MS-PhD course and they admit students either via their own exams or NBHM

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If a student wants to opt for an Integrated MSc in math then the best place in India is the University of Hyderabad, which admits students through a written test held in early June. Various other central universities also have the Integrated programme, amongst them the best curriculum after the University of Hyderabad is at the Pondicherry University and Tezpur University. In recent years, many new Central Universities have also started this course.

A student can also opt for an Integrated MS degree offered at present by the IISERs, and also at the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) at Bhubaneswar and Centre for Basic Sciences (CBS) at Mumbai. The IISERs admits students via JEE Advanced, KVPY and through board exam performances. While NISER and CBS admits students through the National Entrance Screening Test (NEST) held every year in early June.

After a Masters degree, a student can pursue a PhD. The best places in India to get a PhD in math are TIFR, IMSc and HRI. Normally these institutes (except TIFR which has its own exam) accept students who have cleared either NBHM or the CSIR JRF exam followed by an interview. Students who have been awarded INSPIRE Fellowships by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), GoI may also be called for interviews at these institutes. Apart from these, CMI, ISI, IISc, IISERs and NISER also has a very highly ranked PhD programme.

Students studying at all the above institutes are paid fellowships of Rs.5000 for the Bachelors students, Rs.5000-Rs.7000 to the Masters Students by the DST and around Rs.12000-Rs.18000 for the PhD students. In CMI PhD students are paid Rs. 26000-28000 for PhD and Rs. 9000 for M.Sc. But recent hike in fellowship for PhD students mean that they might be paid as high as Rs. 26000 in the coming session onwards.

In this article we have only focused on the best institutes in India. There are many other quite good places to study mathematics. Among them mention may be made of the Institute of Mathematics and Applications (IMA) at Bhubaneswar and the University of Delhi.

[This article was slightly modified on 14th of March, 2015.]

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941 Comments
  • Ashok Kumar Singh
    Posted at 12:12h, 02 August Reply

    Sir,
    Is it possible to apply for M. Stat at ISI after B. Sc in Mathematics from IGNOU ? Also what are my other options for applied mathematics in India. Please help.

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 19:21h, 11 August Reply

      Yes, you can. But you will have to clear the entrance and subsequent interviews for getting final admission. You could look into the Applications of Mathematics course at CMI as well as the Integrated MSc-PhD course at TIFR-CAM Bangalore. The South Asian University at New Delhi also has an Applied Mathematics department, which you can take a look at as well.

  • Reshma
    Posted at 12:50h, 02 August Reply

    Thanks a lot sir
    for your help.
    The books that are mentioned in your other comments are they god for net preparation also?
    and how to prepare for paper 1 and 2 of net in which general reasoning and ability logical based questions are there.
    can you please tell something about SRA and JRF GATE scheme given in CSIR official website

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 19:23h, 11 August Reply

      Yes, they would also be valuable resources to prepare for NET. Additionally you should also try to solve previous years' questions so that you can get an idea about the level of the exam and your preparation for the same.

      The logical reasoning parts are just simple mathematical problems that you would be able to solve without any special preparation.

  • aryan sharma
    Posted at 18:08h, 02 August Reply

    Hello, i am M.Sc. 1st mathematics year student at Banaras Hindu Universuty. I want to prepare for exams like NET, GATE,TIFR,CMI etc but i am not that good to qualify these exams so i want to prepare starting from the basic things, so please tell me how i should study and suggest me books for every topic which are easy to understand and also content is good

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 19:24h, 11 August Reply

      The books that are valuable are already mentioned in the previous comments, kindly take a look at those. You should read everything from scratch and try to solve as many problems as you possibly can.

  • akash
    Posted at 19:55h, 10 August Reply

    Hello.. I am pursuing my masters course from Calcutta university in applied mathematics with specialization in dynamical systems. My question is what are the good institutions in india to get a PhD in dynamical systems.? And what are the pre requisite for the course..

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 19:25h, 11 August Reply

      You should write to Professor S. G. Dani at IIT Bombay and ask for his advice in this regard. He is an expert in this area and we strongly recommend that you try to contact him.
      For a PhD, you must have atleast a first class in your MSc apart from relevant qualification in competitive examinations like NET, GATE or NBHM.
      All the best.

  • Ravi Parkash
    Posted at 17:13h, 13 August Reply

    Is English compulsory as a subject in B.Sc Mathematics for admission in M.Sc with IISc Bangalore?

  • Krishna Hore
    Posted at 22:56h, 16 August Reply

    Sir, I really need a good suggestion in my career. Actually I have always loved Maths but chose wrong academic stream. I had Economics Hons. but it cancelled in the 3rd year,I studied Maths (pass) of 300 marks but the marks was very poor.Though I had very good marks in Maths upto class 12. My B.Sc aggregate was about 41%. After that,because of some personal problems I could not do anything in my career except private tuition. I want to make my career in teaching Maths, specially online tutoring and also willing to appear in West Bengal TET exam. My question is
    Can I pursue a bridge course/special Hons in Maths after a long gap of completing B.Sc general(10+2+3) from Calcutta University? If yes,where is it offered in WB/other state(dist./regular)?Is there any marks or age bar?What's the eligibility ? Should i do again a B.Sc (Maths Hons/major) ( whether two bachelor degree is valid) ,then M.Sc or only M.Sc(Maths) to save time in dist/regular? What will be good for my career as I want to be an online Maths teacher. What is the eligibility of WB SSC TET for Maths?
    Please suggest University(distance/regular) that has good reputation regarding the course, study materials ,teaching method etc. Does Calcutta University offer M.Sc Maths through distance mode ?

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 18:53h, 20 August Reply

      Hi Krishna, for online tutoring you do not need any other qualification. You just need a willing employer and students to teach.

      You should in our opinion do a distance based Masters in Mathematics from any university of your choice. Try to do a good result in such a course and then you can supplement that later with a slightly specialized masters course. This in our view would be better than to do a BSc and then an MSc, in this way you save some time as well. But this would need sincere dedication from your side.

      The website for the WB SSC is http://www.westbengalssc.com/sscorg/wbssc/home/, we could not find the answer to your specific query here and we would not like to give you an answer without backing up with official sources.

  • Krishna Hore
    Posted at 23:55h, 16 August Reply

    Sir,

    Which regular Universities in West Bengal / other states,India have no upper age limit for candidates to get admitted in Bachelor / Masters in Maths ?

    Whether a candidate can appear in the entrance test of Indian Statistical Institute for M.Math course who has studied Maths(pass) of 300 marks in the Bachelor degree?

    What's the eligibility (marks requirement) and upper age limit to learn M.Math course at ISI ?

    Should a candidate pursue M.Sc in Pure Maths or Applied Maths who wants to be a Maths teacher ? What are the differences regarding syllabus ,career opportunities etc. ?

    Looking for your valuable reply.

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 19:10h, 20 August Reply

      Hi Krishna,

      Yes, you can still apply for the MMath course, if you have studied mathematics as a subject for at least four semesters or two years in your Bachelors degree. As far as we know, there is no upper age limit for applying into that program.

      You can pursue either pure or applied math if you want to become a math teacher, and we are assuming here that you are interested in teaching in schools and possibly colleges. You will get to know about all the basic branches of math in any of the course, for applied math you will also have the option of looking at other career avenues after you complete the course.

      All the best.

  • Injamul Patgiri
    Posted at 14:12h, 17 August Reply

    What are the Government jobs after completing Degree in mathematics, Sir ?

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 18:46h, 20 August Reply

      You will be eligible to apply for all such jobs whose minimum qualification is a graduate degree. For specific mathematics related job, we would suggest you to keep an eye on the 'Employment News' published every week.

  • amol singh chahar
    Posted at 16:58h, 18 August Reply

    sir, i am doing my m.sc (maths) from gurukul kangri vishvavidyalaya, haridwar .i m interested to become my future in computer science and i want now for gate cs. Should i eligible for gate from cs after msc or not. If yes what strategy should i make for preparation for gate exam and when i want to start prepare for it. Please suggest me .

  • pranav
    Posted at 10:44h, 21 August Reply

    sir,i am doing my maths hons from ignou .can i do m.stat from isi ? is there any disadvantage of doing graduation from distance learning ?

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 19:43h, 21 August Reply

      There is no disadvantage as such if you are yourself sincere and wiling to study a bit on your own. However, it is always advisable to do a traditional course in an university full-time.

  • Sai
    Posted at 14:30h, 22 August Reply

    Hello,
    I am interested in pursuing higher education in Mathematics(Masters & Doctorate ) . I currently hold a Bachelor of Engg degree in Electronics & comm Engg with extensive IT experience.

    What are the options for me for distance education?

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 18:58h, 27 August Reply

      If you are interested in doing a PhD as well, then we would urge you to do your masters degree in full-time mode from a good institute, some of which are already mentioned in the post. Please note that some of these institutes need at least two years or four semesters of mathematics courses in your undergraduate studies.

  • Debashis
    Posted at 10:59h, 23 August Reply

    Hi sir,
    I have done my B.tech in electrical engineering from kiit university (2015 pass out) in which I had two years of mathematics course. Now I'm in an IT firm, but I really want to continue my studies in maths. What will be the best option for me. Please advise.

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 19:00h, 27 August Reply

      You will be eligible to do a masters in mathematics. We would like to advice you to consider giving IIT-JAM, NBHM, TIFR, CMI and ISI entrance exams. You should also as an option apply to some other good universities like University of Hyderabad, etc for safety measures to take admission if the others don't pan out well.

  • ANIRBAN BHATTACHARJEE
    Posted at 15:36h, 23 August Reply

    Sir i doing my m.sc from burdawn university distance mode.what can i do after that?

    • Gonit Sora
      Posted at 19:03h, 27 August Reply

      You are eligible to apply for any job or course that a normal masters degree holder can apply to.

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