PhD/Integrated PhD Programme


We are delighted to announce the TIFR Interdisciplinary Programme in the Physics of Life (TIFR-PoL).


We are targeting exceptionally creative and adventurous students with strong foundations in physics, engineering and computer science, who seek to carry out cutting-edge theoretical and experimental research in biology.


The study of living systems presents some of the deepest and most challenging problems in all of science, including: the origin of life, the evolution of complexity, and the functioning of the brain. Each of these questions requires us to build connections between physics and chemistry at molecular scales, with outcomes at cellular, organismal and ecosystems scales. This is why, over the past decade, ideas from the disciplines of physics, engineering and computer science have become indispensable to biology.


The TIFR-PoL programme is a special stream within the TIFR graduate programme that provides unique flexibilities and resources for students with quantitative backgrounds. Foundational courses provide a rapid introduction to biological phenomenology at all scales, from molecules to organisms and ecosystems. Advanced courses spanning soft and active matter physics, informational and data sciences, and modern experimental methods, expand and strengthen quantitative skills. Students in the programme have the opportunity to work with participating faculty members and groups across multiple Centres of TIFR, to define and address research questions that expand our quantitative and conceptual understanding of living systems.



Eligible candidates can apply to the Graduate Program in Physics of Life by completing the ONLINE APPLICATION FORM. Candidates will need to upload the score card from the admissions test (JEST/ GATE/ UGC-CSIR) electronic copies of your transcripts, CV, a statement of purpose, and contact details of two referees.

Applications based on the JEST/GATE/UGC-CSIR tests is online now. Application deadline is 27 May 2023. Deadline for recommendation letters is 27 May 2023. Candidates satisfying the following criteria can apply: 

  • JEST: Rank up to 100 (Physics)
  • GATE: Rank up to 500 (Chemical Engineering, Computer Science and Information Technology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Statistics, and Engineering Sciences) 
  • UGC-CSIR NET [JRF-eligible]: Rank up to 100 (Physical Sciences and Mathematical Sciences)


Selected candidates for ICTS-NCBS PhD/Integrated PhD Program in Physics of Life 2023 (TIFR GS stream)

Selected candidates for ICTS-NCBS PhD Program in Physics of Life 2023 (GATE/JEST stream)



    Participating TIFR Centres:



    National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR), Bengaluru International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS-TIFR), Bengaluru






    NCBS is pleased to announce new PhD and Integrated PhD opportunities in the physical and mathematical study of biological systems. Biology, all the way from molecules, through cells, tissues, networks in the brain, to ecosystems holds great promise today for bright young theorists. Exciting problems abound, a vibrant and connected global community of theorists is growing and the thrill of conceptual discoveries await the prepared and well-trained student. The theory programme is open to students with a physics/maths/chemistry/engineering background and a strong curiosity in biology, as well as students with a biology background having a strong interest in the mathematical and computational study of living systems.

    What is unusual about the theory programme?
    Creating and finding new problems is an essential part of all scientific research. We put developing this skill at the heart of our programme design. Student/s will learn to create, select and solve research problems at the interface of biology and other sciences. They are encouraged to chart their own research path in conjunction with faculty of the theory group.

    How to apply
    Students interested in this programme must qualify from the NCBS entrance exam held in December of each year, and the subsequent interviews held the following May. Watch out for the newspaper advertisements that appear in the last week of August and the first week of December. More details are here and here.

    Theoretical research at NCBS spans a wide range of areas, from computational cell biology and evolution, to the physics of active systems, to morphology and control in animals and machines. Read more about theoretical research at NCBS

    We provide core courses to establish a rigorous foundation in mathematical and numerical analysis, and cover topics including modern statistical mechanics and soft matter physics, molecular dynamics, stochastic processes, nonlinear dynamics, control and optimization, information theory, and so on. Students are encouraged to take courses in neighbouring institutes such as the Indian Institute of Science, Raman Research Institute and JNCASR. Read more about the courses offered.


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