01 Aug 2016 12:05 IST

Getting campus placement tough for PhD students

Poor public sector hiring adding to the woes

If getting a doctorate is difficult, landing a campus placement after PhD seems impossible.

As the government gives finishing touches to the much-awaited New Education Policy, PhD students across the country’s premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are awaiting placement.

“Finding good placements for PhD students has become an issue as even public sector companies such as Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) don’t come to the campus for placement and recruit through Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE),” the Director of an IIT told BusinessLine on condition of anonymity.

This leaves PhD students with very few lateral entry options, he added.

Data from IIT-Madras also confirm this. The percentage of campus placement of PhD students was 22 per cent in 2013-14, 24 per cent in 2014-15 and 18 per cent in 2015-16. This, however, is the percentage of PhD students who had registered for placement, and not all do.

Manu Santhanam, Advisor, Training & Placement, IIT-Madras, says that the “Placement Office at IIT-Madras, or at other institutes, is not intended to cater to PhD scholars who have a high degree of specialisation. Most PhD students get placed in jobs or post-doc positions directly through their own contacts or through their guide. Our exit data at convocation show that most PhDs are placed in this manner.”

According to the Training and Placement Cell at IIT- Banaras Hindu University (BHU), 2 out of 60 registered PhD students got placed in 2014-15 while 6 out of 102 were offered positions in 2015-16.

“Campus placement is just one of the problems gripping the post-graduate space at IITs,” says Sanjay Dhande, a former Director of IIT-Kanpur, adding that “over the last 20 years, focus has shifted to undergraduate studies at IITs.” The doctoral programme requires a review in many ways, he says. “We should try to do something similar to what Britain did in implementing a strict 3-year timeline for PhD. Moreover, government needs to play a key role in ensuring that there are jobs for PhDs as there is hardly any formal placement for these students at IITs.”

Recommended for you