The two years M. Sc (General Chemistry) course is a flagship program of the Department of Chemistry at IIT Madras. This program was introduced in July 1963 with the Senate approval during the third Senate meeting of IIT Madras held on 28.03.1963. The first batch of three students graduated in 1965 and six students in 1966 batch. The course consists of four semesters with continuous evaluation of the students. The curriculum and syllabus were consciously drawn for a General Chemistry program covering all aspects of chemistry to ensure a well-rounded training in theory as well as laboratory practical aspects of Chemistry. The viva voce conducted during laboratory classes and student seminars were the hallmarks of this program which provided the students with the invaluable experience to “stand up and deliver”. The value of such an experience has been deeply appreciated by the Alumni of the Chemistry Department long after their graduation. During the 80s, the strength of the MSc program grew to 12-15 students and in the 90s to 25-28 students. Currently, the program accommodates 50-60 students with the laboratory classes running in batches with viva voce conducted with the same vigor albeit less frequently. The curriculum and course contents are kept up-to-date by revising them every 3-5 years. Presently the students are admitted on the basis of Joint Admissions Test for MSc (JAM), a national level common entrance examination and the students are selected from all over India.
In the yesteryears, graduates of this program would typically write GRE and TOFEL and get admission in the top ranking US universities for Ph. D although there were exceptions to this general pattern. Because of the well-rounded training, the early graduates of M. Sc Chemistry program did extremely well in the graduate research programs abroad and earned a name for themselves as well as for their Alma Mater in the world’s top universities. Current students have many options/opportunities available to them in India and abroad, and tend to take up various assignments after their M. Sc Degree. A fairly good number of them still opt for Ph. D. admissions abroad and among the top ranking institutions within India. Not surprisingly, over the years, the Alumni of the M. Sc Chemistry program have taken up top positions in various academic and research institutions and in top Chemical and Pharma industries around the world. Quite a few of them have been recognized as “Distinguished Alumni” by their Alma Mater for their accomplishments in academics and research.
From a humble beginning with a handfull of motivated students, the M. Sc (General Chemistry) program at IIT Madras has grown from strength to strength into a deep-rooted, fruit-bearing tree that is currently nurtured by a highly qualified and dedicated team of faculty members of the Department of Chemistry. It will hopefully continue to grow and provide extensive knowledge and resource in contemporary topics to the future generation of young chemists.