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Dual Degree for Lovers of Maths & Science
Posted on : 23-11-2012 - Author : Hari Priya Jannepally

If you love both math and science, and if choosing between them breaks your heart, here are a few dual focus degree programmes that might appeal to you.

The Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI) offers programmes like B.Sc (Honours) Mathematics and Computer Science, and B.Sc (Honours) in Mathematics and Physics, that let you pursue both math and physics or computer science within the umbrella of a single degree programme. Another interesting programme that CMI offers is a PG programme - M.Sc in Applications of Mathematics, which is oriented towards financial mathematics and applications in computation.

CMI, located at Siruseri on the southern outskirts of Chennai, has now made a name for itself as a centre of excellence for teaching and research and conducts its own entrance examinations at various centres in the country that includes Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Delhi. However, students who have done exceptionally well in the National Science Olympiads may get exempted from writing the entrance examination for the B.Sc programmes, under the discretion of CMI’s Admissions Committee. All CMI programmes happen to be fully residential with hostel accommodation on campus and a transportation arrangement for visiting the city.

Incredibly, thanks to funding by both the government of India and private entities, scholarships at CMI covers tuition, boarding and lodging fees for all students, unless the performance of the student is found to dip when an evaluation is conducted at the end of the first year (for the degree programmes) and at the end of the first semester in the case of the masters programme. Even then, only a nominal tuition fee is charged in the forthcoming year - Rs. 750 per semester for the bachelors’ programmes and Rs 1200 per semester for the masters’ programme. A four-month semester pattern is followed at CMI.

Thrust on research CMI is one institute that believes that research and teaching go together and inspire each other to greater insight and understanding. This is why courses at CMI are taught by active researchers. The teaching faculty at CMI includes faculty of CMI and IMSc, Chennai, besides visiting scientists from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), IGCAR, Kalpakkam, IIT Madras, Chennai, the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune and the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris. Students from CMI have gone on to do research and higher studies at Caltech, Chicago,
Johns Hopkins, MIT, etc. CMI is a UGC recognised university. And besides the laboratory on campus, students can also make use of an intensive laboratory programme at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam.

Meanwhile, students of the M.Sc in Applications of Mathematics may even replace some of the electives with a thesis or project. The idea is to create a firm foundation for students wishing to do further research.

CMI has an exchange programme with France’s prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure (ENS), whose alumni have so far won 11 Nobel prizes and seven Fields Medals. Every year, two top-ranking senior B.Sc students from CMI get to visit ENS and work there on research problems, while four Ph.D students from ENS visit CMI each year. A far-reaching academic base In line with providing students support in their subjects of choice, besides a broad grounding in academics, students are allowed to plan their course in the third year of the bachelor’s degree programme. However, two of their six electives in the third year of the math and computer science degree programme have to be Math/Computer Science courses, while a course on quantum mechanics is compulsory.

Meanwhile, in the math and physics combo degree programme, two of the five electives in the third year must be laboratory courses, and another elective has to be Advanced Programming. Students taking up either of these degree programmes must also take up a one-semester non-credit course in Environmental Science.
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