Superpostion of Excellence and Expertise: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Superpostion of Excellence and Expertise: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Sashank Varanasi | Oct 04, 2021

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The Department of Physics and Astronomy at NIT Rourkela was established in 1961. From 1961 till 2013, it was titled ‘Department of Physics’, which was changed to ‘Department of Physics and Astronomy ’ in 2013. It currently has 21 full-time faculty members with illustrious research backgrounds. These faculties have studied from reputed state universities, NITs, IITs, IISc, IIA, and foreign universities.

The department currently offers the following programmes:

  • 5 Year Integrated M. Sc. since 2009

  • Minor degree in Physics since 2018

  • 2 Year M. Sc. since 1964

  • M. Tech. 

  • Ph. D.

The department offers Ph. D. and M. Tech., M. Sc. and Integrated M. Sc. with specializations in Physics and Astronomy in Physics. The Department of Physics NIT Rourkela (Earlier REC) has been offering the 2-year M.Sc course since 1964, making it the first NIT in the whole country to introduce post-graduate courses in science. Apart from these, interdisciplinary programmes of the department have seen participation by B.Tech and M.Tech (Cryogenics and Vacuum Science with Mechanical Engineering) students too.


The department’s objective is to enrich and encourage a passion for the sciences in the students and thereby increase the scientific proficiency of youth in the country. Furthermore, to meet the requirement of trained post-graduates for teaching in schools, colleges, universities and join research programmes at reputed national/international universities/R&D centres. The department boasts of sophisticated instruments like X-Ray diffraction with small-angle X-ray scattering facility, laser light scattering, fluorescence recovery, photo-bleaching, rheometer, closed-cycle refrigerator, RF/DC magnetic sputtered thin-film coating units, AC/DC resistivity measurement units, and precision ferroelectric characterization system for carrying out research activities. This objective is at par with the infrastructure of the IISER and NISER and like institutes’ scheme of integrated M.Sc that is prevailing in our country. 


The profuse major research areas of the department encompass soft condensed matter physics, carbon nanotubes, energy storage devices, grapheme, high-temperature superconductor, biophysics, theoretical condensed matter physics, non-linear dynamics, multiferroic materials, dielectrics, ferroelectrics, thin films, composite polymers, phase transition, low-temperature physics, magnetic materials, etc. Faculties have their research collaboration with reputed national and international research labs/institutes.

The department conducts various notable events around the year like conferences, seminars, and workshops while publishing journals and research work. The placement scenario of the department is improving steadily. In the recent placement season, the average CTC of the branch was 7 LPA, while the highest being 24 LPA. Click here to know more about the recently concluded placement season.


As per JOSAA 2020 - Round 6, the opening and closing ranks for acquiring a seat in the branch for Integrated M. Sc. in Physics via JEE Main are as follows:

State of Eligibility  CategoryOpening RankClosing Rank
Home StateOBC–NCL1422129293
Home StateGEN-EWS1107111071
Home StateOPEN3356345876
Home StateSC21798722
Home StateST74807480
Other StateOBC-NCL78938886
Other StateGEN-EWS53305330
Other StateOPEN1093821853
Other StateSC50855863
Other StateST24472447

All cut-off ranks given above are gender-neutral. There is no reservation for female students for this course


Some of the achievements of the students in the department in recent years are as follows:

  • Aditya Dash, an alumnus, scored one of the most prestigious Marie Curie Fellowship. Click here to know about his achievement.

  • Some students are working as scientific officers in research labs such as BARC and IGCAR, among others.

  • Several students got jobs in reputed MNCs like Goldman Sachs, TCS and Infosys, among others.

  • Several students have qualified national exams like GATE, NET, JEST & TIFR. They are pursuing PhD. in reputed research institutes like TIFR Mumbai, IISc Bangalore, IOP Bhubaneswar, IIA Bangalore, IPR Gandhinagar, NCBS TIFR, Bangalore, PRL Ahmedabad, IITs, SINP Kolkata, IISERs, NISER, Central universities, NIT and other CSIR labs.

  • Several students have secured PhD positions (16 in the last four years) in the reputed universities in the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Poland, etc., and 21 students got admitted to PhD in India in the last four years.


Head of the department of physics and astronomy, Prof. Prakash Nath Vishwakarma, had the following to say,

Department of Physics and Astronomy at NIT Rourkela is a well-known centre for academic learning and research at the leading universities and research centres in India and abroad. Our faculties strive hard to maintain their teaching and research standards at par with the international levels. Covid did compel us to adopt communication technology for efficient teaching & learning, but the conventional way has its own charm.  Hence we are looking forward to welcoming and interact with the new students in the post-covid scenario.

Team MM wishes luck to all the prospective students in their future endeavours. 

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