What are the options in Physics after Engineering?
If you are studying B.Tech Course and want to go ahead with Physics in Masters, you have plenty of choices. You can apply for Integrated Ph.D. programs or Master’s program in Physics after completing an undergraduate degree in Engineering. For this, you’ll have to appear for the IIT JAM 2022 or JEST Exams.
We talked to many Engineering students in the last 3 years who didn’t want to pursue M.tech but appeared for IIT JAM Exam, and we were surprised. They were looking for other career options and most of these students had a great passion for Physics.
In other words, they all were married to Engineering but trying to romance Physics. They somehow came to know about M.Sc. Entrance Exams for which Engineering students are eligible, but most of the students don’t even know they can switch career paths. We saw the plight of these students closely and as a mentor, we wanted to help these students.
So, we interviewed Vaibhav Sharma (IIT JAM Physics AIR – 3). His experience regarding Engineering and Physics will motivate engineers to keep an interest in Physics. His journey will definitely give you a reason to keep your Physics Dream alive.
We are sharing the glimpse of the interview with Vaibhav Sharma in this blog as follows…
It was during my third year of Mechanical Engineering at Delhi Technological University when I felt that I can no longer pursue a career in engineering and would instead like to do Physics. I was able to find my engineering coursework fascinating but found solace by diving into Physics textbooks on my own.
My college with its age-old academic system and unhelpful professors did not allow me an opportunity to immediately pursue Physics. The best option then was to get into one of the top-tier institutions of the country to have a shot at becoming a physicist.
I wanted to do a Master’s in Physics to know if I am really cut out for a research career before going for a Ph.D. directly and for that, the IITs immediately came to mind, especially the Physics departments at IIT Bombay, Kanpur, and Madras. And the route to get there? IIT JAM.
For me, the preparation of IIT JAM had started already even before I knew that such an exam exists. IIT JAM Physics tests basic knowledge of undergraduate Physics which is taught in a typical Physics undergraduate curriculum.
Since I was interested in Physics since my second year, I had studied a lot of undergrad-level Physics on my own through textbooks. This had already equipped me with the requisite background for the exam.
Also, it had helped me determine the fact that I really liked Physics because the only way to test it is to actually immerse yourself in Physics. With all that, I had the advantage of not needing any coaching classes for clearing any concepts. The slightly long but fruitful self-study was enough to prepare for the exam.
However, to be successful in an exam, the most important thing is to know exactly what the exam is all about and what it exactly wants to test and how. The best way to do it in my opinion is by simply solving the previous year IIT JAM papers.
I bought IIT JAM Previous Year Question Papers. It had 10 previous year papers and 5 model test papers. When the exam was a good one and a half months away, I started solving these papers regularly and made sure I timed myself. This way I could analyze my performance and my timings.
By analyzing my performances, I tried to rectify my mistakes and brushed up on topics that I felt were either taking too much time or were prone to silly mistakes. It also helped to get a sense on what would be the important formulas and tricks that I should remember. This went on for a month and at the end, I was confident that I knew enough about the exam to crack it.
In the last couple of weeks, I just solved the model test papers and cleaned up my performance and timing. In this stage, you must practice as many questions as you can.
In late March (approximately 1.5 months after the exam), I got my IIT JAM Results and I managed to secure All India Rank 3 in the IIT JAM Physics 2016. With this rank, I knew I could get any IIT.
In IITs, the best Physics departments are in IIT Bombay and IIT Kanpur, closely followed by IIT Madras, Delhi, and Kharagpur. My preference order was exactly this with IIT Bombay over Kanpur and consequently, I was offered admission into IIT Bombay.
For MSc Physics admission through JAM, there is an eligibility criterion of having done Physics courses in at least 4 semesters and mathematics courses in two semesters. After your JAM results, you need to apply to the IITs through a common portal and fill your preference order.
You also need to upload all your mark sheets and ID proof electronically. Though I had a mechanical engineering background, I was not sure if I qualified the criteria but nevertheless, I applied. Fortunately, I was offered admission.
IIT Bombay and Kanpur are known to be lenient in terms of eligibility criteria for engineers. But sometimes it depends on how the particular IIT looks at your undergraduate mark sheets. Though at IIT Bombay, there were engineers in my senior batch, my junior batch, and my own batch. The best way to know if you are eligible or not is by applying.
Once admission is offered, the seat booking fee needs to be paid. In subsequent rounds, if there are vacancies, you can be bumped up to your higher preferences. Everything up until now is online and there is no need to physically visit any IIT.
Once all that is over, and the choice is final, the orientation day comes. Now I had to go to IIT Bombay to start my MSc program.
Initially, one needs to pay the hostel fee and the rest of the semester tuition fee. The seat booking fee is adjusted in this amount. Soon after a whole lot of orientations and speeches, lectures begin, and you quickly become busy with your courses and projects.
There is a document verification procedure to verify your undergrad mark sheets for authenticity and fulfillment of eligibility criteria. This happened in September in IIT Bombay, which is about two months after the commencement of classes.
I was a bit nervous since I had an engineering background, but it turned out to be just a formality. One quick look at the documents and it was done. And after that, all admission procedures are over.
I had a very productive two years at the amazing Physics department at IITB and am now going to pursue my PhD in Physics at one of the top universities in the world, Cornell University, USA. IIT Bombay was one of the key reasons why I could realize my dream of pursuing Physics.
Vaibhav, shared this information so that any engineer out there who wants to switch fields to pure science can do so with as little hassle as possible.
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If you have any doubts regarding what we mentioned here, feel free to comment. We believe that he has done his part in telling you, to get what you want. The rest is up to you.
Prepare well for the entrance exam and apply on time. The time has finally arrived for you to pursue your dreams.