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How to study Nuclear Physics: PG and PhD courses, institutes, eligibility and job roles

Suha Roy
Suha Roy
Posted on 13 Apr 2022
15:08 PM
Nuclear Physics deals with the structure of the atomic nucleus and the radiation from unstable nuclei.

Nuclear Physics deals with the structure of the atomic nucleus and the radiation from unstable nuclei. Shutterstock

Nuclear Physics can be studied as part of the MSc course or a specialisation in the PhD programme
TIFR in Mumbai and Saha Institute in Kolkata offer PhD and research opportunities

One of the most significant branches of contemporary particle science, Nuclear Physics deals with the structure of the atomic nucleus and the radiation from unstable nuclei. Its applications are wide-reaching in all spheres of life — this branch of Physics is explored for decoding mysteries of the universe, producing alternative energy, or, if the worst comes to the worst, creating weapons of mass destruction. Going for a career in Nuclear Physics will help you get a job in various sectors like space research, particle research, pharmaceuticals and engineering.

Studying Nuclear Physics


  • You need to clear your Class XII board exams in science stream with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as compulsory subjects.
  • Next, you need to have completed your BSc in Physics with Maths to enrol in an MSc course in Nuclear Physics.
  • Or you can pursue a BTech/BE degree in streams such as Electrical, Electronics, Instrumentation and Mechanical Engineering and then pursue MTech/ME courses in the same discipline.
  • For admission in PhD programmes, you need to clear competitive exams like CSIR, NET, GATE, JEST and JRF.
  • Research opportunities in Nuclear Physics are provided by some of the premium institutes of India.

Top Institutes that offer courses in Nuclear Physics:

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Course: MTech in Nuclear Engineering and Technology.

  • Duration: Two years.
  • Eligibility: You have to be an Engineering graduate — mainly in the fields of Mechanical, Electrical, Electronics, Instrumentation and Chemical Engineering. Or you must have an MSc degree in Physics.
  • Admission: Depends on your GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) rank.

Course: PhD in Nuclear Physics.

  • Duration: Four to six years.
  • Eligibility: You need at least 70% marks in your MSc course in Physics, or in your MTech course in Electrical, Electronics or Instrumentation Engineering.
  • Admission: You need to clear JRF with at least 95% aggregate or score well in GATE. Or you need equivalent performance in relevant national- or international-level exams, followed by a written test and a personal interview.
  • Click here to learn more.

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai, Maharashtra

Course: PhD provided by the Department of Nuclear and Atomic Physics.

  • Duration: Four to six years.
  • Eligibility: You need to clear your MSc course in Physics for admission to the PhD programme. Candidates with BTech or MTech degree in relevant areas will also be considered.
  • Admission: You have to fulfil the criteria mentioned in the TIFR Research Scholars' admission procedure.
  • Click here to learn more.

Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, West Bengal

Courses: PhD and Research.

  • Duration: Four to six years.
  • Eligibility: You need a master’s degree in Physics and should clear JRF in the Joint CSIR-UGC NET examination.
  • Admission: Depends on your JRF percentile and performance in a personal interview.
  • Click here to learn more.

Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Courses: PhD in Nuclear Physics and Research.

  • Duration: Four to six years.
  • Eligibility: You need an MSc degree in Physics (or are appearing for the final exam) from a recognised university/institute.
  • Admission: You need to have a cut-off (decided each year) in JEST/CSIR-NET/GATE to become eligible to appear for a test and interview for the final selection.
  • Click here to learn more.

University of Madras, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Course: MSc Physics under the Nuclear Physics department (Nuclear Physics as a paper) .

  • Duration: Two years.
  • Eligibility: You need to have a BSc degree in Physics (with Maths as a subject. Or you need at least 60% aggregate in BSc in Applied Sciences.
  • Admission: Merit-based.
  • Click here to learn more.

Study abroad

Nuclear Physics became a rage during World War II. The US, the UK and the USSR were the pioneers of this new evolution. THere are some foreign universities that offer various academic and research courses on Nuclear Physics.

  • Michigan State University, US
  • Stanford University, US
  • University of California- Berkeley, US
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US
  • University of Durham, UK
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • University of Tokyo, Japan
  • Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
  • University of Milan, Italy

Job roles with a degree in Nuclear Physics:

  • Astrophysicist: They use knowledge of Physics, Maths and Computer Science to study celestial activities, test theories and study the universe. You need strong analytical, observational and research skills to succeed in this domain.

  • Cosmologist: They develop scientific theories based on topics like dark matter, dark energy theories and strings. They also perform extensive research related to nuclear energy and cosmic bodies.

  • Nuclear physicist: They study different methods to implement modern science to make nuclear operations easier, safer and more effective. They often have extremely important roles in sensitive operations.

  • Plasma physicist: Plasma is the fourth state of matter, which is a collection of freely moving electrons and ions. Scientists working in this field work on practical applications. Aerodynamics, optics, lasers, medicine are different fields where they have a role.

  • Nuclear engineer: They conduct research on the processes, systems at nuclear power plants. They search for medical and industrial uses of radioactive materials like devising equipment for medical diagnosis.

Last updated on 13 Apr 2022
15:09 PM
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