Think Beyond IITs: Premier Institutes in India for Pure Science & Research


As an Indian student pursuing Science in class 12th is the only purpose to hit any of the IITs for engineering or to go for medicine. When we consider science as a career, we immediately think of engineering or medicine.

Limiting our understanding of science to medicine and engineering is a folly; we should realize that science is much more than that. Whatever is happening in the world can be explained by science, whether it is plants making their food through photosynthesis, or the change of seasons due to earth orbiting the sun.Think Beyond IITs

The beauty of science often fascinates the young minds by the idea of studying science, as they know it is the only way to exhibit the mysteries of the whole world.

All though this sounds so alluring most of the students opt for professional courses such as engineering, medicine, aviation, etc instead of studying pure science.

There are many factors contribute to this phenomenon such as shorter duration of these courses, placement opportunities after completion of the course, and higher pay packages, etc.

However, the trend is changing slowly and students are tempted towards pure science.

Now that students realize that there are many opportunities in the field of research in sciences, many of them are turning to pure sciences.

So, in this article, we are going to explore the top institutes for pure science in India, and the courses and opportunities they offer.

Top 4 Premier Institutes in India for Pure Science & Research

  • Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore
  • Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Multiple Locations
  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai
  • Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram

Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore

IISC, Bangalore was set up in 1909 with the help of Jamsetji Tata.

It is the top public institute for research and higher education in India. IISC, Bangalore is the first Indian institution to be featured in the top 10 ranking in the UK’s Times Higher Education Ranking 2016-17 for Best Small Universities. (8th Rank) 

Courses Offered

IISC, Bangalore offers various courses such as

  • A 4- year B.Sc. degree in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Earth and Environmental Sciences.
  • Ranging from Molecular Biophysics, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences to Astronomy and Astrophysics Masters and Research programs are also available here.

 The process to Get In

  • Every year IISc takes admissions for their undergraduate program based on National Level Examination Scores such as the JEE Mains and Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojna (both held after class 12th).
  • On the basis of scores obtained in GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) and JAM (Joint Admission Test), admissions for postgraduate courses take place. Only 120 students can take admission in IISc for the B.Sc. program.

 Opportunities available with this course

  • A B.Sc. degree from IISc opens up the opportunity to apply for a master’s program in top universities in India as well as abroad.
  • In the USA, students also become eligible for a Ph.D. without a master’s degree.
  • A few organizations hire their research scientists from this premium institute are WalmartLabs, IBM Research, Mphasis Innovation, Honeywell, Airbus, St. Gobain, Tejas Networks, etc.
  • In the public sector, students have the option to work with organizations such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Aeronautical Development Agency, Gas Turbine Research Establishment, and Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, National Geophysics Research Institute, etc.
  • These courses also lead a path towards the academics and research as teaching faculty at premium universities across the world.


Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Multiple Locations

The IISERs are the leading institutes for research in India. They have been declared “Institutions of National Importance” by an Act of Parliament. There are seven campuses spread over the country in locations such as

  • Kolkata
  • Maharashtra
  • Mohali
  • Bhopal
  • Thiruvananthapuram
  • Tirupati
  • Berhampur

Courses Offered

  • 5-year BS-MS program which is their flagship program of IISER. Subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, along with Earth and Environmental Science, Humanities, etc come under this program.
  • Apart from this, integrated MS-Ph.D. and independent Ph.D. programs in Science is also available here.

The process to Get In

  • 12th pass students having the Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (a scholarship to encourage students to take up sciences and research careers) fellowship are eligible to apply.
  • IISER takes admissions for their undergraduate program based on National Level Examination Scores such as the JEE Mains.
  • Also, a separate entrance test is conducted by the IISERs for students who wish to apply directly to any of the campuses.
  • Students from different boards have different eligibility cut-offs for admission. The total no. of seats for all IISERs for the BS-MS program is 1285.
  • For Ph.D. admissions, students can apply after qualifying national level exams such as UGC/CSIR-JRF, GATE, JEST, and NBHM.

Opportunities Ahead

  • A BS-MS degree from IISER opens up the opportunity to apply for Ph.D. programs in top universities in India and Abroad.
  • Graduates are hired for by Pharmaceutical Industries for their Research & Development divisions.
  • Students at the doctoral level can join any CSIR Labs (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), through the CSIR-NET examination and continue their research in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Drugs Formation and Implication, Electrochemical and Electronics Engineering, etc.
  • Students can take the Indian Patent Agent Exam if interested in giving legal advice to companies regarding their patents (a company’s right to exclude others from selling, using or copying their invention). Teaching and writing for scientific journals is also a popular choice for students.


Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai

TIFR, a Deemed University is one of the leading research institutes for higher education in science and mathematics. It functions under the Department of Atomic Energy; Government of India. Under the guidance of Dr. Homi Bhabha, with help from the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the institute was established in 1945. It has a main campus at Mumbai, with branches in Hyderabad, Pune, and Bangalore.

Courses Offered

  • TIFR offers a graduate program that leads to a Ph.D. degree, or an integrated M.Sc.- Ph.D. degree in Science Education.
  • It has subjects like Philosophy of Science, Cognition and Learning Theories, Methods of Science and Mathematics Education Research, etc.

The process to Get In

  • Every year TIFR conducts an entrance test for admission in Ph.D. degree.
  • Graduates can apply to TIFR either through JEST Scores (Joint Entrance Screening Test or GATE for application to Physics and Computer Science courses.
  • For Biology, TIFR conducts the Joint Graduate Entrance Exam for Biology and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences.
  • Based on the ranks in these exams as well as personal interviews the final Selections are made The total intake of students in the courses is about 30-35 students each year.

Opportunities Ahead

  • As it is a highly reputed institute for research, graduates are encouraged to join either BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) or any of the CIFR laboratories across the country as scientists.
  • The opportunity to work for international laboratories such as Fermilab, CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research), etc is also provided by TIFR.
  • It is also possible for graduates to choose to work in companies for their Research & Development division; whereas most of the graduates choose to become scientists and mathematicians with organizations such as DRDO, HAL, ISRO, BEL, etc.


Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Thiruvananthapuram

The IIST, a Deemed University functions under the Department of Space, Government of India.

The focus of this institute to study the space sciences, technology, and applications. It was founded by Dr. G. Madhavan Nair and Dr. B.N. Suresh in 2007.

Courses Offered

  • Tech. and Ph.D. programs in Avionics, Physical Sciences, Aerospace Engineering, and allied fields are offered by this institute.
  • Students can have a dual degree (B.Tech. + M.Tech./M.Sc.) in these subjects.
  • Students can pursue M.Tech. in different areas such as Aerodynamics, Digital Signal Processing, VLSI and Microsystems, etc. to name a few. M.Sc. covers areas such as Astronomy and Astrophysics, Earth System Science, Solid State Physics, and Optical Engineering.

The process to Get In

  • Graduation admissions are made through JEE Mains Examination.
  • Post-graduate programs admissions are made through GATE scores.
  • Based on scores in GATE, JEST, and UGC/CSIR-JRF. The institute offers Ph.D. admissions for eligible students. There are about 120 seats for B.Tech. and 20 seats for a dual degree.

Opportunities Ahead

  • The first and foremost purpose to establish IIST was to help prepare manpower for ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), and students securing more than a CGPA of 7.5 can apply for a job at ISRO.
  • Apart from this, graduates also can apply to DRDO, HAL, BrahMos, etc.
  • Students with Master’s degree also have the option of working with companies such as UTC Aerospace Systems, Team Indus, MEASAT, etc.


Above mentioned are the topmost institutions for you if pure science is your passion. Other than these, a few NITs, and IITs (IIT Kanpur, IIT Bombay, IIT Gandhinagar, NIT Agartala, NIT Warangal, etc.) also offer opportunities for Masters and Doctoral Programs.

Do let us know your thoughts on the article in the comments below!

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Pragyan Pattnaik
Passion to fly, Looking for rider...