Word from IITB Engineering Physics Alum

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Ashish Goel, B.Tech in Engineering Physics IIT Bombay, 2009, is currently doing his Masters
Students in Aerospace Engineering at Stanford University "Hi. I am currently a first year Masters
Students in Aerospace Engineering at Stanford University and I completed my B.Tech in
Engineering Physics at IIT Bombay in 2009. A lot of things have changed since I joined IIT
Bombay, especially with the introduction of the concept of Major/Minor/Honors. So my experience
might not be a true representation of the current situation, but I can tell you for sure that I
thoroughly enjoyed pursuing Engineering Physics at IIT Bombay. It certainly is one of the most
challenging streams offered at the IITs. Part of the challenge comes from the fact that you have to
be good at understanding the core physics and math behind everything you learn and at the same
time balance this knowledge with the various applications in the fields of electronics, bio-physics,
materials science etc. I think the best part of the curriculum is the flexibility it gives you to choose
your stream of specialization. The basic foundation built through core physics and math courses
allows you to pick up any area of specific interest and pursue it in greater depth. I guess the fact
that I am now pursuing Aerospace Engineering for my Masters stands as a perfect example of this
flexibility. I've had batch mates and seniors who have gone on to work in areas as diverse as
Computer Science, Applied Math, Astrophysics, Optics, Condensed Matter Physics, High Energy
Physics, Electrical Engineering and Robotics! Many question the prospects of getting a job after
you complete your B.Tech in Engineering Physics. Well certainly, its not as straight-forward as it is
for students in some other departments. But the key thing to realize is that in Engineering Physics,
you define the path you wish to choose. If you wish to work in the electronics industry, you
channelize your efforts in that direction by opting for elective courses from the Electrical
Engineering department, probably pursuing a minor over there as well. You then back it up with
projects, seminars and internships and you will find yourself on an equal footing when competing
for core jobs. The same holds for any other field you might be interested in. And for those
interested in higher studies (Masters, PhD etc.), Engineering Physics gives you a very good
platform to launch ahead. Every year, nearly half the passing out batch ends up pursuing higher
studies in some of the top universities around the world. Being a small department, there is also a
great sense of bonding among the students and the faculty. I'll simply conclude by reminding you
that it is a challenging program meant for those interested in physics and applied physics. It is
quite different from what is taught under the banner of Physics while you are preparing for the JEE
exam. If you are interested in electronics and are trying to use Engineering Physics as a proxy for
simply doing electronics, that is probably not a very good idea. Don't opt for Engineering Physics
just because someone else last year with a rank similar to yours opted for it. But if you are
strongly interested in Physics or if you are interested in Physics and are not ready to decide upon
which career stream to opt for, Engineering Physics is certainly one of the best options you have.
Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions." -Ashish Goel Email:
ashish09@stanford.edu

Anup Rao, B.Tech in Engineering Physics IIT Bombay 2009 is pursuing his PhD in mathematics at
Yale University “Hello! I am a first year student pursuing PhD in mathematics at Yale University. I
completed my B. Tech in Engineering Physics in 2009. When describing my experience, I will try to
include as much new information (and not to repeat what others have written) as possible. My
experience with EP had been really good. The friendly atmosphere, freedom to learn what you

To summarize in a few words. a PhD is often required. Since in our department. Tanuj: Since EP DD emphasizes research. If you are a person who likes to understand the concepts. one who did not just learn the tools required to solve the problems while preparing for JEE but tried to grasp the theory. metallurgy. which touches upon a lot of areas and gives you the much needed freedom to concentrate further on subjects of your interest. Vaibhav: Among the best possible in India. So.Tech can also take nanoscience courses. Otherwise I would recommend against it. what does specialisation in nano here mean? Tanuj: Lots of flexibility. But also a lot a collaborative work goes on with electrical. funding and recently CRNTS has begun operations. But for a industry job in nanoscience. the most distinguishing feature is the Dual Degree project and the nano-science lab.” Vaibhav: An introductory lab .Tech EP? Vaibhav: Dual Degree Project(DDP) is the major part. this should not be unexpected. These are fun events to be part of (and to organize!) and a great way to know your seniors and professors. then. touches a vast area of subjects and the department too is very open minded.Tech. one is open to more options than a B. The physics at the undergraduate level may not be exactly like the one you learnt during your JEE days. To increase his/her prospects of going to the tech industry the . one gets to interact with profs more.as good as B. As far as jobs concerned.Tech would be. Since physics has a really wide range of applications. quality and types of projects available in the department? Tanuj: The department has a quite a lot of research facilities within. Nanotechnology is a focus area of research set by the Govt. All I had to do was be dedicated towards what I do! The department has a very healthy social life. one can regard EP as a pure/applied science course. Hence there is a lot of Govt. But with some topics at least. better nano courses (5-6 as compared to 1). 4) Prospects of nano science as a whole and of the future after this degree. there is flexibility in taking courses 2) Are there any additional courses. 3) Labs and facilities.5 courses (1 basic rest advanced) and DDP are the extra things in DDP from the B. it gets much more interesting. In a nutshell during your undergrad research life you would never feel lack of facilities. cultural day. Since mathematics and physics are very closely related and interdependent.edu) Tanuj Gigras and Vaibhav Devanathan are Graduates of the first(2010) batch of the EP Dual Degree Program. I would highly recommend EP. of India. Personally during my 5 years I have exposed myself to both these areas. Most jobs are available in the US or Europe. chemical and other departments. I will say a bit about myself here because I am currently pursuing a PhD in (pure) mathematics and also every year one or two students of the passing out batch join PhD programs in mathematics. you are very likely find a field of your interest which you can pursue further or 'specialize in'. The professors in the department too encouraged me and nurtured my interests. One can even do a crossover in electrical etc. theoretical and/or experimental nanoscience. There is an active student body (of which I was part of) which organizes various events like department sports matches.rao@yale.want to and encouragement provided by some of the faculty members perfectly worked for me. All the best! (You can reach me at anup. Any B. nano jobs in R&D sector are there. cutting edge nano labs. Physics Olympiad etc… There is also a department magazine published every semester. allows one to do both.Tech. Tanuj: Nanoscience is major focus of research in US and elsewhere and there is a lot of funding and research topics available if one decides to go for a PhD. What I would like to point out here is that I enjoyed a great freedom in choosing my projects and internships. Jobs/App etc. even when at times I had work under advisors from outside the physics department. Vaibhav: Prospects are good for higher studies . 1) What and how is it 'more' than the B.

then too he has a lot of other opportunities. The decision is completely based on personal choice rather than any negative experience in IITB. I did it myself after 5 semesters. Tanuj: “ My sincere request to all of you. Vaibhav: I took a branch change from B. fame etc are not the measure of success. I wanted to study Physics and this DD program offered more applied Physics than a M. please do not come with a preset mind. and was the General Secretary for Academic affairs of IIT Bombay. Its important to have a good mentor in the initial years at IIT. A lot of learning goes outside of the class and for an all round development one should get engaged in it. During my stay I have exposed myself to a lot of research and after that only I have made a final decision. explore. How has DD program helped you? Vaibhav: “No idea! I was very happy with the flexibility the DD program gave me. Afterall its the question of your life. 5) Why did you choose a program with (1 yr extra + 1 additional degree)? Rank or choice? Tanuj: Well.Tech to DD! 6) Switching from B. See.Sc physics at other IITs.” Vaibhav has been selected in Harvard Business School. This is true of any dept in IIT and nothing specific only to EP DD”. IIT life will teach you that money. 2009-10. Second reason was IITB itself. a Swiss investment bank's mumbai office as an analyst. These are the most important years of your life which will determine how you succeed personally and professionally. Feeling successful is a more important yardstick than anything else and here at IIT you will have to raise your bar so high that if you feel you are successful than you would be for anybody else too. Tanuj: “I am joining Credit Suisse. The DD program has helped me gauge my likes and dislikes. The department was very helpful. learn and then only make some decision. Firstly.student might take appropriate honors/minors courses. 7) What are you doing in the future.Tech to DD program a feasible option? Flexibility issue!! Vaibhav: Very much feasible. Also do not pay attention to rumours. “ . I had two things in mind. Open your hearts & minds to him and do not hesitate to ask for any help. Being placed in a metropolitan has its own advantage and if one doesn’t wants to pursue his career in nanotech after graduating. In my opinion the extra one year gives you a lot of exposure and you will come to know whether you are really interested in research or not.