The Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Department at IISER Bhopal has been set up recently with the aim of encouraging and inculcating a humanistic approach and awareness among students and researchers of science. We seek to encourage students to view science holistically as a domain of human knowledge which is not in isolation from, but in productive dialogue with society and culture, and with other areas of human production and thought like creative arts, philosophy and literature. The department has been conceptualized with this vision of foregrounding the interfaces between science, society and culture, and of initiating a dialogue between the basic sciences and the social sciences and humanities.
The sciences and the humanities were not always strictly segregated into distinct and watertight disciplinary compartments. The concept of ‘humanism’ in the European Renaissance, for instance, sought to produce an ethical and philosophical approach that seamlessly combined reason, scientific inquiry, and human interests and values. In the intellectual history of India and the world at large, science has deep connections and resonances with philosophy and ethics. Humanities and Social Science departments in science institutes like IISERs can encourage a valuable ‘humanist’ approach to the study of science, which challenges rigid and often artificial disciplinary boundaries. The HSS department aims to foster critical thinking, creativity and interdisciplinary study and scholarship. It proposes to help students be aware of and ask questions about societies, cultures, philosophy, history, economic and political thought, literary and creative arts, and the relationship of science to these diverse domains of human knowledge.
The disciplines currently represented in the HSS department are Economics, and English literature and language studies. The department offers core and elective courses in communication skills, English literature, Economics, Psychology and Intellectual Property Laws to all BS-MS students of the institute. We plan to introduce a multidisciplinary Ph.D. programme in the department in the near future.
We offer five year BS-MS (Dual Degree) programmes in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. This programme consists of core courses and professional courses. The core courses are for the first four semesters and courses from all the four science disciplines will be offered along with interdisciplinary courses. Each semester will have at least one interdisciplinary course. All courses in the first two years will be common and mandatory to all BS-MS (Dual Degree) students irrespective of their major discipline.
From the third year onwards, students will choose a discipline in which they would like to specialize. These departmental courses are arranged discipline-wise in alphabetical order. To major in a particular discipline, in each semester, the student has to take all the compulsory courses from that department. These courses are called professional courses.
Currently, candidates are admitted after 10+2, having qualified any of the following criterias:
- 1 : IIT-JEE Main Merit List.
- 2 : Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojna (KVPY).
- 3 : Direct admission from top 1% of state board qualified candidates as approved by DST, India.
All selected students will be awarded INSPIRE fellowship of Rs. 5000/- pm by the Govt. of India.