Are Engineers eligible for MSc Physics in IITs through JAM?

Firstly I'd like to state with full clarity that there is no clarity about this Eligibility criteria and even after reading this entire post you'll probably be left with no definite answer but hopefully a little less confused. It is Because of this uncertainty I suppose, almost every new member in our WhatsApp group starts with the question like
I'm from XYZ branch of engineering, am I eligible for admission in IITs through JAM?

I have checked the Eligibility criteria of IITs, they are asking for 4 sems of Physics in bachelor's. What does it mean?

So, to address all those queries once and for all, I am putting up all the information we have about it.

  • What's the Eligibility criteria of IITs?
  • Who decides if a subject in my coursework is a Physics one or not? Who takes the final decision?
  • What subjects can be expected to be considered Physics?
  • Will mailing the IIT help?

Eligibility criteria

In the JAM broucher (of 2019) it's mentioned that for admission in MSc Physics in most IITs the minimum Eligibility criteria are:

Physics for at least two years/four semesters and Mathematics for at least one year/two semesters in Bachelors.

(EXCEPTION: IIT Indore offers an MSc Astronomy course to which Computer science, Electrical and mechanical engineers are eligible)

The problem with this is, there's no information specifically given about what courses will be considered as 'Physics' and what will not be.

So who decides if a subject is to be considered as Physics or not?

The thing is this decision will entirely depend upon the IIT in question. Also as mentioned in the brochure, the IITs have the final authority to deem a candidate as eligible or not for the admission.

While filling the application for JAM counseling you're required to upload your Engineering degree mark list year by year or a consolidated one which contains all the courses you've had in your engineering. Also, you've to type and manually fill each and every course (Ya, I did type out the complicated names of all 66 courses and the respective grade I've earned in each) you've had in your Engineering degree. Once you apply for the IITs through JAM and get a rank good enough to secure a seat in that IIT, then the IIT will scrutinize your coursework and check if you meet the eligibility criteria of the 2yrs/4sems of Physics and if that IIT rejects your application, then It'll be sent to the next IIT in your preference list given you've good enough rank to secure seat in it that year and so it goes to the IIT next in your list. So, I guess it must be clear to you now that, a subject which is considered as a Physics one by an IIT may not be considered as one by another IIT.

Any idea about which subjects usually are considered as Physics?

Usually, all engineering grads will have Engineering Physics as a course in their first one or two sems. That definitely counts a physics. Apart from that, subjects such as Electromagnetic theory, Electronic circuits, and devices, Digital Electronics, Thermodynamics etc are usually considered as Physics in my opinion And If the assumption is correct, then most of the Electronics and Electrical engineers shall be eligible. But For some reason or the other, around 60-70 percent of Engineers that are into Physics turn out to be from Mechanical background and unfortunately most of the times mechies don't happen to have the subjects that can potentially be considered as Physics (other than Thermodynamics). I guess it's the same case with many ppl from other branches like CS and Civil etc.. Who may not have had enough Physics courses.

But of all the IITs that participate, Bombay and Kanpur are known to give admission to Mechies and so I presume them to be a bit lenient than other ones. Vaibhav Sharma himself is a Mechie who was accepted by IIT Bombay.

The Curious Case of an Engineering graduate

A guy I've known has got a good rank in JAM Physics in 2017 but wasn't allocated seat in any IIT, though that year's cut off rank went beyond his rank. But for the next year(2018) he was granted admission by the IIT that denied it last year and surprising part was that his rank was bigger(Worse) than what he got last time. So, Eligibility of a candidate might vary not just from IIT to IIT but also within the same IIT, year to year. I guess this justifies the opening sentence of the blog post. Also apparently, the committee in each IIT that decides upon the eligibility of applied candidates changes every year. So, there is no guarantee of consistency.

What if I'm ineligible for all IITs? or if I can't make it to the ones that I'm eligible for?

The thing with JAM is, even if you don't get any institute through JAM there are few other good universities that take Engineering grads for MSc physics course and the entrance exams will be conducted on basic BSc level Physics which more or less the same as that of JAM. Also, these will be happening a few months after the JAM (most happen in June) so, you'll get a good amount of time prepare and crack those exams which happen roughly on the same syllabus. Also through JAM counseling engineers from electrical, computer science and mechanical are eligible to join MSc Astronomy in IIT Indore and also there is MSc (Mathematical Physics) course in NIT Arunachal Pradesh to which engineers are eligible.

Apart from the IITs, almost all other options that I've mentioned in the post are Branch neutral and do not differentiate between branches of engineering or at least do not disqualify one for not having enough Physics in bachelor's coursework. So you can apply to any of them irrespective of your branch in engineering. There are Universities like JNU, DU, PU and HCU that take engineers and also you can give exams like JEST, GATE, NET etc.. refer to this post to know of all such options.

Will mailing the institute help?

Not much I guess, Cause from the above cases mentioned, it's apparent that the eligibility status might vary from IIT to IIT and so one has to mail each IIT to know about each. And also even if you get an affirmative reply I'm not sure how much weight the mail will carry during the counseling. But still, it's good to mail them so that we might get some new information regarding the admission process.

Disclaimer: Though most of the information is from reliable sources (most of it coming from members in WhatsApp group) but at the end of the day they're hearsays and unofficial information which may not be 100% accurate or may vary from institute to institute. So, though we try to share information that we believe to be true, we'd suggest you to not rely solely on this information.

Below is a page with the link for our WhatsApp group with 180+ members all of whom are engineers who actively discuss and help each other out in entering physics stream after engineering.

Mail me on for further queries.
Also, do visit all other useful content of our blog Physics after Engineering.

to be adde:..JAM cut offAttach pics or PDF of eligibility criteriaElectiveConclusionLinks to Vaibhav's and my posts


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