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Doing a PhD in Computer Science

PhD is the highest degree offered anywhere in the world (barring the highly uncommon DSc). Its focus, unlike regular degrees, is not learning existing knowledge but creating new knowledge. No wonder, PhD is desired by anyone wishing to 'make a mark' - the brightest seek it as it allows challenges that no other degree does; the innovative desire it as it allows the possibility to innovate and create new knowledge and technologies; the ambitious seek it as it is the top of the academic ladder; and the persistent seek it as this is the one degree where persistence and self discipline are brought to full use.

Despite the romance of doing a PhD, there seems to be some 'fear' frequently in the youth about pursuing a PhD - prospective students are sometimes scared because they think it is "too difficult and they will not be able to do it", or because "it takes too much time", or perhaps just because "PhD means that you have to be a teacher and I don't want to be a teacher". All of these reasons/fears are actually false.

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Why a PhD at IIT Kanpur?

If you think doing a PhD is worthwhile, then read on. The Department of CSE at IIT Kanpur offers one of the best destinations in India. First and foremost, it is one of the oldest and recognized center for computing related work in India. It has a young and vibrant faculty, many of whom are recognized across the world for their stature. A good example is Prof. Manindra Agrawal, whose work `Primes is in P' shook the world sometime back and which was reported in many major newspapers across the world. Consider some of the other positives:

  • All PhD scholars receive fellowship from IIT (which is provided by GOI). This is of the order of about Rs 8,000 per month. In CSE, we now have additional funds through which this amount is enhanced to at least Rs 25,000 PM for every candidate. (For first two years, the stipend amount is Rs 25,000 per month which increases to Rs 28,000 per month for next three years)

  • In addition, there are fellowships from Infosys, IBM, Sun, Lucent, etc., which provide for travel support to conferences.

  • Through Rao Remala travel fund, a PhD scholar can attend international conferences to present papers, up to twice in the student's PhD program.

  • Through the Research I foundation, there is support for PhD scholars to attend summer schools. Students can also spend an entire semester at another school, if such a visit is related to their research. Again, this is something unique to CSE/IITK and almost no place in the world provides such type of support.

  • Through the two Chairs that CSE has, we can invite world renowned researchers (so far about 20 people have already visited CSE through these Chairs). This provides a unique opportunity to interact with other leading researchers of the world.

  • CSE has a new building that is centrally air-conditioned. PhD scholars get a shared office, and get dedicated PCs(or laptops) with internet.