NBHM Doctoral Scholarship Scheme 2021
Official FAQ

In what follows "the test" means the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship Written Test scheduled for Saturday, 10 April 2021 Sunday, 11 April 2021, 1400--1700 hrs, IST. (The date and time were changed because the original schedule clashed with one phase of polling for the West Bengal Assembly.)

Questions specific to the test and subsequent interview

Question: Is any support (e.g., reimbursement of expenses) available from NBHM for travel or stay towards taking the written test?
Answer: No. NBHM doesn't provide any support or financial assistance to candidates for taking the written test.

Question: Is there a syllabus for the test / subsequent interview?
Answer: No. NBHM does not publish a syllabus. Question papers from the previous years along with keys are available on this repository. These however may bear no predictable relation to this year's test.

Question: I am interested in joining the PhD / integrated PhD programme in mathematics of IMSc in August 2021. Should I write the test? (This answer applies in particular to students in the 3rd year of their BSc programmes aspiring to join the integrated mathematics PhD programme at IMSc and other institutes mentioned in the answer that follows.)
Answer: Yes, you MUST write the test, for it is also the entrance test for IMSc's PhD and integrated PhD programmes. The test scores are used also by other institutions, HRI, IISERs (at Berhampur, Mohali, Pune, and Thiruvananthapuram), and NISER among them, for screening applicants to their PhD / integrated PhD programmes. Each institution draws up its own shortlist of candidates to be called for interview based on the test scores. Also, some of these institutions may use various alternative criteria (such as CSIR-UGC NET scores) to shortlist candidates for interview. For more information, you are advised to source it directly from the institutions. [NBHM is involved in these programmes only to the extent of providing the test scores. It takes no further part or responsibility.]

Question: I appeared for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship written test last year but didn't qualify for the interview (or didn't qualify in the interview). Can I take the test again this year?
Answer: Yes, provided you are eligible this year too. (See the section "Whom is the test for?" in the advertisement for the eligibility criteria.)

Question: Is the cutoff for the interview dependent upon the zone or uniform throughout the country?
Answer: The cutoff on the test (for selection to the interview stage) is the same across zones. Interviews will be held separately in each zone for the candidates in that zone who meet the cutoff.

Question: I am in my 2nd year of a PhD programme in Mathematics. Am I eligible for the scholarship? Can I appear for the test?
Answer: Yes, you are eligible for the scholarship and are welcome to appear for the test. However, be advised that the fact that you are already in the 2nd year of your PhD programme may have some influence on the selection decision.

Question: I completed the requirements for a master's degree in Mathematics in August 2020 (or some other date), but I do not have my official degree yet. Am I eligible for the scholarship? Can I appear for the test?
Answer: Yes. Not having the formal degree in hand at the time of the test or of the subsequent interview is no disqualification.

Questions about the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship Scheme

Note: Lest that the answers given below on eligibility be misinterpreted, let us mention once and for all here that qualification in the test and subsequent interview is a precondition for grant of the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship.

Question: Can I qualify for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship this year but defer availing it until next year or later?
Answer: No. The qualification cannot be deferred. However the deadline for enrolment in a PhD programme (that is one of the conditions for the tenability of the scholarship) is January 2022.

Question: I am registered in a part time PhD programme. Am I eligible for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship?
Answer: No. Those registered in part time PhD programmes are NOT eligible.

Question: I am enrolled in a PhD programme in Mathematical Finance. Am I eligible for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship?
Answer: No. The scholarship is only for pursuing PhD in Mathematics / Applied Mathematics.

Question: I am currently doing my Master's course in Applied Statistics and Data Analytics. I will graduate in April 2021 and am planning on doing my PhD in a topic in Statistics. Am I eligible to apply for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship 2021?
Answer: Yes / no, depending upon the details. As the advertisement clearly states, the scholarship is only for doing PhD in Mathematics / Applied Mathematics. If your actual research topic is going to be related to statistics, that is fine (meaning that you're eligible for the scholarship), as long as your PhD degree is going to be in either Mathematics or Applied Mathematics. How you qualify for entry to the PhD programme is immaterial. If you can join a PhD programme (in Maths / Applied Maths) with your master's degree in Applied Statistics / Data Analytics, that is fine too. The scholarship is, however, not tenable for doctoral studies leading to PhD in Statistics or Data Science or Data Analytics (or anything other than Mathematics / Applied Mathematics).

Question: My academic record is not good. For instance, I have not consistently scored above 60% in my bachelor's. I am now about to finish my master's and plan to join a PhD programme in mathematics in August 2021. Am I eligible to apply for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship?
Answer: Yes. As the advertisement states, although the selection committee is free to look at all aspects of the academic track record of the candidate, selection for the scholarship will be based primarily on the performance in the written test and subsequent interview. The fact that you have not scored 60% or more in bachelor's is not by itself a disqualification.

Question: I have a master's degree in Physics (or some other degree) but want to pursue a PhD programme in Mathematics. Am I eligible for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship?
Answer: Yes, very much. It does not matter how you qualify for the PhD programme in Mathematics / Applied Mathematics. A bachelor's / master's degree in mathematics is NOT a precondition for eligibility.

Question: I am enrolled in an integrated PhD programme in mathematics which leads on the way to a master's degree. Am I eligible for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship?
Answer: Yes and no. You are eligible during the "PhD part" of the integrated programme. In other words, you are eligible only after receipt of your master's degree (or suitable certificate) as part of the integrated PhD programme.

Question: Can I hold a CSIR-UGC NET Scholarship as well as a NBHM Doctoral Scholarship?
Answer: No. Generally, only one scholarship is tenable at a time.

Question: Suppose I get selected for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship. Can I use that to get admission in some PhD programme in Mathematics?
Answer: Getting the scholarship and getting admission to a PhD programme are two separate things. Being selected for the scholarship does not in itself guarantee admission to any PhD programme (at least not that we know of). Having said that, being selected for the scholarship does seem to increase one's chances of getting admission to PhD programmes. In fact, many institutions insist on a selection to some national scholarship (such as NBHM's) as a precondition for admission to their PhD programme.