NBHM Doctoral Scholarship Scheme 2023 and Master's Scholarship Scheme 2022--23
Official FAQ

In what follows "the test" means the NBHM Scholarship Written Test scheduled for Saturday, 29 April 2023.

Recent Q and A

Question: What are the cut-off scores for interview shortlists (Master's / Doctoral) this year?
Answer: The cut-offs are not absolute but relative, in the sense that they depend upon the performance in the test of all the candidates this year. They are decided only after this year's test scores become available.

Question: While reading the NBHM advertisement I noted that this time the exam pattern is different and there will be questions from advanced topics; what do they mean by "advanced topics"? Will it include topics like algebraic topology, functional analysis, algebraic number theory, representation theory etc?
Answer: "Advanced topics" refers to subjects questions from which have typically been featured in previous Doctoral Scholarship Written Tests but not so much in Master's Scholarship Written Tests.

Question: I am pursuing MSc in Mathematics and am currently in the 2nd year. Am I eligible to apply for both the Master's and Doctoral Scholarships?
Answer: Yes. If you are selected for the Master's Scholarship you will receive the stipend amount due for the Academic Year 2022--23 as a lump sum.

Question: I am in the first year of a 2-year Master's "Mathematics and Computing" course. Am I eligible for the Master's Scholarship?
Answer: Yes. As the detailed advertisement explains clearly, by virtue of the name of the degree it leads to containing the word "Mathematics" in it, your programme is deemed to be "in Mathematics". If you are selected for the Master's Scholarship you will receive the stipend amount due for the Academic Year 2022--23 as a lump sum.

Question: Can I appear in the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship Test twice? And if I appear this year in the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship Test, and don't qualify, can I appear in NBHM Master's Scholarship Test next year?
Answer: Yes and yes (assuming there is no drastic revision of the eligibility criteria for next year). Mere unsuccessful appearance in a previous edition of the test has never been a disqualification for applying for the scholarship (and in particular the written test) in any year.

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, financial or otherwise, to candidates for taking the written test.

Question: Is there a syllabus for the test / subsequent interview?
Answer: No. There is no prescribed syllabus. However, question papers from the previous years along with keys are available on this repository.

Question: I am interested in joining the PhD / Integrated PhD programme in Mathematics of IMSc in 2023. Should I write the test? (This answer applies in particular to students in the 3rd year of their BSc programmes aspiring to join the Mathematics Integrated PhD programme at IMSc.)
Answer: Yes, you MUST write the test, for it is also the entrance test for IMSc's Mathematics PhD and Integrated PhD programmes. Moreover you must choose the Doctoral Scholarship option (either alone or in addition to the Master's Scholarship) on the NBHM application portal, for IMSc will use the merit list based on the D-Score on the test to shortlist candidates for interview (for both its PhD and Integrated PhD programmes). You must do this even if, for example, for the reason that you are currently a BSc student, you are unlikely to be able to enrol any time soon in a PhD programme (as distinct from an Integrated PhD programme), and therefore have no chance of receiving the Doctoral Scholarship (even if you get selected in the test and interview).
    The test results are used also by other institutions, HRI, IISERs (at Berhampur, Mohali, Pune, and Thiruvananthapuram), KSoM, and NISER among them, for screening applicants to their PhD and Integrated PhD programmes. Each institution draws up its own shortlist of candidates to be called for interview based on the test results. Also, some of these institutions may use various alternative criteria (such as CSIR-UGC NET scores) for admitting students. For more information, you are advised to source it directly from the institutions. [NBHM is involved in the admission to 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 "Eligibility to Write the Test" in the advertisement for the eligibility criteria.

Question: I was selected for the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship last year (or some years ago) but opted not to receive it. Am I eligible for selection this year?
Answer: The fact that you have been selected for the scholarship in the past (by qualifying in both the test and interview) does not by itself disqualify you for this year's selection. If, however, you have opted anytime in the past to receive the NHBM Doctoral Scholarship, then you are disqualified from selection this year.

Question: Is the cut-off score for the interview dependent upon the zone or uniform throughout the country?
Answer: The cut-off score on the test (for selection to the interview stage) is the same for the entire country across zones.

Question: I am in the second year of a PhD programme in Mathematics. Am I eligible for the scholarship? Can I appear for the test?
Answer: The fact that you are already in the second year of a doctoral programme is by itself no disqualification. You may still be able to pass the eligibility criteria to write the test and for the scholarship (as found in the advertisement). However, be advised that the fact that you are already well into your PhD programme may have some influence on the final selection decision.

Question: I completed the requirements for a master's degree in Mathematics in August 2022 (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: Not having the formal degree in hand at the time of the test or of the subsequent interview is no disqualification. You may still be able to pass the eligibility criteria (as found in the advertisement).

Question: Does any institute other than IISERs (Berhampur, Mohali, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram), NISER, IMSc, HRI, KSOM accept the NBHM test score for admission to its PhD / Integrated PhD programmes?
Answer: The eight listed institutions are the only ones with whom NBHM has an agreement to directly share the test scores and other performance data. However, there could be other institutions that use the publicly available information from the NBHM selection process: the interview shortlist is published on the web page and so is the list of candidates finally selected for the scholarship. Those selected for the scholarship will get an offer letter from NBHM, but short of that NBHM does not issue certificates to any candidate at any stage.

Question: I want to know about the style of the NBHM Written Test this year. The number of sections in the test has been varying over the last few years. How can I prepare for this year's test? How many sections will be there in it?
Answer: The pattern of the test may vary from year to year. This year's test may follow the pattern of one from a previous year, or it may not. We cannot say. The only guidance that we can give in this regard is what is already there in the advertisement under "The Written Test". Having said that, one thing is for sure about this year's test: there will be one or more sections in it featuring "advanced topics" and these will be given a higher weightage in the calculation of the "D-score". See the "Interview Shortlists" section of the advertisement.

Questions about the NBHM Scholarship Schemes

Note: Lest 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 scholarships.

Question: Can I qualify for the NBHM Scholarship this year but defer availing it until next year or later?
Answer: No. The qualification cannot be deferred. However, candidates selected for the Doctoral Scholarship have time until January 2024 to enrol in a PhD programme "in Mathematics" (such enrolment is a precondition for the tenability of the Doctoral scholarship), and analogously it is enough that candidates selected for the Master's Scholarship enrol in a Master's programme "in Mathematics" for the academic year 2023--24.

Question: Can I avail the NBHM Scholarship while enrolled in a part-time (not full-time) programme?
Answer: No. Those registered in part time programmes are NOT eligible.

Question: Can I get the scholarship while enrolled in a Master's / PhD programme in Mathematical Finance?
Answer: The scholarships are meant ONLY for pursuing programmes "in Mathematics" (see the advertisement for the definition of "in Mathematics").

Question: I want to do research in cryptology for my PhD. Can I avail the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship in pursuit of that goal?
Answer: The answer depends on the name of the PhD degree. The Doctoral Scholarship is tenable for pursuit of a PhD degree "in Mathematics", with no restriction being placed on the area of research. It is NOT tenable for pursuit of a PhD degree in, say, "Computer Science" (or, more precisely, one that is not "in Mathematics"), even if the area of research happens to be a very mathematical one (e.g., cryptology).

Question: I plan to join a PhD programme in Applied Mathematics for the academic year 2023--24. But my academic record is not uniformly good. For instance, I have not consistently scored above 60% in my bachelor's. Would that affect my chances of being granted the NBHM Doctoral Scholarship?
Answer: As the advertisement states, selection for the scholarships shall be based primarily on the performance in the written test and subsequent interview, although the selection committee is at liberty to take into account all aspects of the academic track record of the candidate. The fact that you have not scored 60% or more in bachelor's is not by itself a disqualification.

Question: I have a bachelor's degree in Physics / Engineering but want to join a Master's programme "in Mathematics" for the academic year 2023--24. Am I eligible for selection for the NBHM Master's Scholarship?
Answer: Yes, very much. It does not matter how you qualify for the Master's programme "in Mathematics". A bachelor'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 for the Doctoral Scholarship during the "PhD part" of the integrated programme. In other words, you are eligible for that scholarship only after receipt of your master's degree (or suitable certificate) as part of the integrated PhD programme. During the "Master's part" of the Integrated PhD programme, you are eligible for the NBHM Master's Scholarship.

Question: Can I simultaneously 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 secure admission to some PhD programme in Mathematics?
Answer: Being selected for the scholarship and securing admission to a PhD programme are two separate things. Neither guarantees the other (at least not that we know of). That said, being selected for the NBHM scholarship does seem to increase one's chances of getting admission to a PhD programme. In fact, some institutions insist on a selection to some national scholarship (such as the NBHM) as a precondition for admission to their PhD programme.