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Home » How to Become a Scientist in India? A Step-by-Step Guide with Eligibility Criteria, Top Colleges, Job Opportunities, and much More!

How to Become a Scientist in India? A Step-by-Step Guide with Eligibility Criteria, Top Colleges, Job Opportunities, and much More!

How to Become a Scientist in India

Scientists find the reasons behind what happens around us. They answer the how and why questions – how does the Earth move around its axis? How is a butterfly born? How do we send a spaceship to Mars and beyond? Why is the sky blue? All these answers come from years of studies and research. Interesting? Do you want to know how to become a Scientist?

Aspiring to become a scientist is a common aspiration for students deeply passionate about various scientific domains such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, or Mathematics. Attaining this pinnacle in the realm of science offers unparalleled opportunities, including the prospect of joining esteemed institutions like ISRO and NASA.

Yes, ISRO! The scientists were responsible for the successful landing of Chandrayan 3 on the Moon on 23rd August 2023. The notable scientists of this mission were S Somanath, ISRO Chairman; Ritu Karidhal Srivastava, Senior Scientist – ISRO; P Veeramuthuvel, Project Director, Chandrayaan-3; S Unnikrishnan Nair, Director, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC); A Rajarajan, chairman, Launch Authorisation Board (LAB); M Sankaran, Director, U R Rao Satellite Centre (URSC); and few others.

Excited? That’s not all! Scientists carry out studies, research, and experiments to create new methods for doing things – such as a better method to kill cancer cells using radiation without affecting healthy cells in the human body. Scientists carry out studies, research, and experiments to create new things and applications – such as a bio-engineered artificial limb, a new source of energy, new materials, new use of humanoid robots, and so on. Scientific inquiries and studies to find the answers are what set humans superior to any other animals.

So, without further ado! Let’s get started…

Who is a scientist?

A scientist is an individual who engages in systematic and empirical inquiry to explore, understand, and explain the natural world and its phenomena. They employ the scientific method, conducting experiments, making observations, and formulating hypotheses to test their ideas. Scientists can specialize in various fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and more. Their work contributes to the advancement of knowledge, technological innovations, and the development of theories that help us comprehend the complexities of the universe. Scientists play a pivotal role in expanding our understanding of the world and driving progress across a multitude of disciplines.

What does a scientist do?

Here are some of the roles and responsibilities of a scientist:

  1. Scientists conduct in-depth research to investigate specific questions or problems within their field of expertise.
  2. They develop hypotheses and educated guesses about how something works, which guide their research.
  3. Scientists design and carry out experiments to gather data that can either support or refute their hypotheses.
  4. They keenly observe natural phenomena, collect data, and record measurements to draw meaningful conclusions.
  5. Scientists analyze the collected data using statistical and analytical methods to derive patterns and insights.
  6. They share their findings through scientific papers and presentations, contributing new knowledge to the global scientific community.
  7. Scientists subject their work to peer review, where other experts assess the validity and rigor of their research methods and conclusions.
  8. Collaboration with other scientists fosters the exchange of ideas, resources, and expertise.
  9. Based on consistent results, scientists formulate theories—comprehensive explanations for observed phenomena.
  10. Scientists’ discoveries often lead to technological advancements, shaping various industries and improving our quality of life.

How to become a scientist in India?

Becoming a scientist in India requires a combination of education, skills, and practical experience. In this section, we will be exploring the steps required to become a scientist in India.

Develop Crucial Skills

Successful scientists possess a blend of soft and hard skills. Soft skills, including attention to detail, communication, analytical thinking, time management, collaboration, and creativity, are essential for effective research and teamwork. Hard skills such as data analysis, molecular biology, cell culture, and proficiency in programming languages like Python and Java provide the technical foundation for scientific research.

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Pursue Formal Education

Begin your journey by completing your 10+2 education in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics from a recognized board. Afterward, pursue a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as B.Sc in Chemistry, B.Tech in Biomedical Engineering, or B.Sc in Agriculture. Subsequently, opt for a master’s degree such as M.Sc in Robotics or M.Tech in Chemical Engineering to gain specialized knowledge.

Opt for Specialized Certifications

Enhance your knowledge by opting for specialized certifications. Courses like “Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers 2,” “Statistics for Researchers,” and “Image Processing and Analysis for Life Scientists” provide in-depth insights into specific research areas, making you a more well-rounded scientist.

Craft an Impressive Resume

Create a well-structured resume highlighting your educational background, skills, certifications, and your passion for research. Ensure your resume is professional and effectively communicates your potential contributions to the field.

Gain Practical Experience

Consider pursuing internships to gain practical experience and industry exposure. Spending a year or two working under experienced professionals will help you refine your skills, develop a practical understanding of research methodologies, and establish valuable connections in the field.

Seek Job Opportunities

Search for full-time job opportunities on platforms like Naukri, Linkedin, Monster, and Indeed. You can also directly approach research institutes, laboratories, or universities that align with your research interests. Apply your skills and knowledge to positions that match your expertise.

Embark on Your Scientific Career

After attending interviews and evaluating offers, select the most suitable opportunity to launch your scientific career. Join the chosen organization, research center, or university, and contribute your expertise to advancing scientific knowledge and innovation in India.

By following these steps, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on a fulfilling journey as a scientist in India, contributing to groundbreaking research and making a lasting impact in your chosen field.

Eligibility Criteria to become a scientist

Becoming a scientist is a rewarding and intellectually stimulating journey that requires rigorous education and dedication. Various qualification pathways are available for aspiring scientists, each tailored to different fields of study. There are multiple pathways to becoming a scientist based on your field of interest and educational background.

Career pathways to become a scientist

Let’s have a look one by one at the educational qualification requirements to become a scientist…

Science Qualification Pathways

  • Option 1: Pursuing a Ph.D. directly after completing a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Physics, Chemistry, or other related fields, which takes around 8-11 years.
  • Option 2: Completing an M.Phil. before pursuing a Ph.D., extending the duration to 9-12 years.
  • Option 3: Engaging in research in Engineering, Technology, or Applied Science fields, taking approximately 9 years to complete a Ph.D.

Integrated Programs

  • Option 4: Opting for Integrated M.Sc. or M.S. courses right after senior secondary school, requiring a minimum of 8 years for Ph.D. completion.
  • Option 5: Transitioning from basic Science to Engineering/Technology after a Master’s, necessitating about 10-12 years to achieve a Ph.D.

Stream-Specific Pathways

  • Option 6: Pursuing an Integrated Ph.D. program after a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Physics, Chemistry, or other fields.
  • Option 7: Pursuing a Ph.D. in the USA or Canada after a 4-year bachelor’s degree.

Healthcare and Medical Sciences

  • Option 8 and 9: For Medical Science and Healthcare Science, the pathways are longer, taking 11-12 years to obtain a Ph.D.

Specialized Areas

  • Option 11 and 12: Pharmaceutical Sciences and Healthcare Sciences pathways also require 9-12 years for Ph.D. completion.

Mathematics, Statistics, Data Science

  • Option 13 and 14: Pathways for Mathematics, Statistics, and Data Science involve 8-10 years for Ph.D. attainment.

Social Sciences

  • Option 15: For Social Sciences like Economics, Psychology, and Sociology, the pathway extends to 8-10 years for a Ph.D.

Entrance Examinations

Entrance exams play a crucial role in the journey to becoming a scientist:

  1. After 12th: Various entrance exams like JEE Mains and Advanced, CUET, KVPY, NEET, etc., are necessary for admission into undergraduate programs.
  2. After B.Sc. or B.S.: Entrance exams such as JAM and JEST are essential for M.Sc. and Integrated Ph.D. programs.
  3. After B.E. or B.Tech.: GATE and JEST are required for M.Tech.; Ph.D. and Integrated Ph.D. programs.
  4. After M.Sc. or M.S.: Candidates can appear for NET or GATE for research positions or M.Tech. programs. Alternatively, GRE and TOEFL/IELTS open doors for Ph.D. or MS-Ph.D. programs abroad.

The eligibility criteria for becoming a scientist involve a series of structured pathways and entrance examinations that lead to specialized Ph.D. programs. Aspiring scientists should choose their path based on their interests, field of study, and desired career trajectory.

We know we know; you are waiting for…

How to become an ISRO scientist?

Becoming an ISRO scientist necessitates unwavering dedication, a passion for space exploration, and a strong aptitude for math and science. Your educational journey, from high school to advanced degrees, combined with success in the ICRB exam, will open doors to a fulfilling career in unraveling the mysteries of the cosmos and advancing India’s space endeavors.

Educational Foundation:

Take math, physics, and chemistry in high school: These subjects form the core foundation for aspiring space scientists, providing the necessary groundwork for further studies.

Acquire a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science: A bachelor’s degree, such as aerospace engineering, physics, or computer science, is the initial step toward your ISRO journey.

Crucial Exam:

Pass the ISRO Centralized Recruitment Board (ICRB) exam: This highly competitive examination evaluates your proficiency in math, science, and engineering, determining your eligibility for ISRO positions.

Advanced Expertise:

Pursue a master’s or Ph.D. degree: Gaining an advanced degree in specialized fields like astrophysics, planetary science, or spacecraft engineering enhances your skills and knowledge for space science pursuits.

Entry Level Opportunity:

Apply for a junior research fellow position: Joining as a junior research fellow enables you to contribute to ISRO’s projects and gain hands-on experience under the guidance of seasoned scientists.

Now it’s time to talk about…

Skills required to be a scientist

Becoming a scientist requires a combination of skills, knowledge, and attributes that enable you to conduct rigorous research, analyze data, and contribute to the advancement of knowledge in your chosen field. Here are some key skills required to be a successful scientist:

Skill CategorySpecific Skills
IntellectualCritical Thinking
 Analytical Reasoning
 Hypothesis Formulation
TechnicalResearch Methodologies
 Data Collection & Analysis
 Experimental Design
 Statistical Interpretation
 Lab Techniques
CommunicationScientific Writing
 Presentation Skills
 Public Engagement
 Learning Agility
 Handling Uncertainty
 Responsible Conduct
 Respect for Subjects
 Conflict Resolution

List of the Top Colleges & Universities for scientist in India

In this section, we will explore some of the top colleges & universities for scientists in India: 

AhmedabadPhysical Research Laboratory
AllahabadHarish-Chandra Research Institute
BangaloreIndian Institute of Astrophysics, Indian Institute of Science, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (TIFR)
BhopalCSIR-Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute (CSIR-AMPRI), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research
BhubaneswarInstitute of Physics, National Institute of Science Education and Research
ChandigarhCSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST)
ChennaiICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, IIT, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences
DelhiCSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH), Jawaharlal Nehru University
GandhinagarInstitute for Plasma Research
GoaCSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO)
GuwahatiIndian Institute of Technology Guwahati
HyderabadCSIR-Centre for Cellular Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB), CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (CSIR-NGRI), Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, TIFR Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences
IndoreRaja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, UGC-DAE Consortium for Scientific Research
KalpakkamIndira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research
KanpurIIT Kanpur
KharagpurIIT Kharagpur
KolkataBose Institute, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, ICMR-National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Satyendra Nath Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Presidency University, Jadavpur University
LucknowCSIR-Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI)
ManesarNational Brain Research Centre
MumbaiHomi Bhabha National Institute, IIT, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
MysoreCSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CSIR-CFTRI)
NainitalAryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences
PilaniCSIR-Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CEERI)
PuneCSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, National Centre for Radio Astrophysics, TIFR
RoorkeeIIT Roorkee
ThiruvananthapuramCSIR-National Institute of Space Science and Technology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Physical Research Laboratory
TirupathiIndian Institute of Science Education and Research

These are some of the best colleges for a scientist in India that offer the best courses at an affordable fee. However, it is advised to check the college and university website for complete information on the best courses and fees.

Also, read: How to Get into IIT

Career Opportunities for a Scientist in India

India offers a diverse range of career opportunities for scientists across various fields. Whether you’re interested in academic research, government organizations, private industries, or startups, there are numerous avenues to explore. Here are some career opportunities for scientists in India:

  1. Academic Research: Conduct research, mentor students, and contribute to knowledge at universities and research institutes.
  2. Government Organizations: Join ISRO, CSIR, DRDO, and others for cutting-edge research in various scientific fields.
  3. Private Industries: Contribute to R&D, quality control, and innovation in industries like pharmaceuticals, biotech, IT, and manufacturing.
  4. Startups: Work on innovative projects and ideas in India’s growing startup ecosystem.
  5. Consulting: Provide technical expertise in areas like environmental consulting, data analysis, and technology implementation.
  6. Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals: Contribute to drug discovery, clinical research, and healthcare advancements.
  7. Energy & Environment: Work on sustainable development, renewable energy, and environmental monitoring.
  8. Data Science & AI: Apply expertise in data analysis, machine learning, and AI-driven research across industries.
  9. Agricultural Research: Improve crops, manage pests, and enhance sustainable farming practices.
  10. Science Communication: Communicate complex concepts to the public through journalism and outreach.
  11. IP Law: Combine scientific knowledge with legal expertise in patent and intellectual property law.
  12. Networking & Growth: Build a strong profile, stay updated, and connect for a successful scientific career.

Scientist Salaries in India

The salaries of scientists in India can vary widely based on factors such as the field of science, experience level, organization, and location. Government research institutions, academic institutions, and private sector companies offer different salary scales.

  1. CSIR Pay Scales (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research): CSIR is one of the prominent scientific research organizations in India. The salary structure for scientists in CSIR is based on different grades, such as Scientist, Senior Scientist, Principal Scientist, etc. A Scientist’s salary could start from around Rs. 70,000 per month and go up to Rs. 1,00,000 per month or more.
  2. ISRO Pay Scales (Indian Space Research Organisation): ISRO is another prominent research organization. The salaries for scientists in ISRO also vary based on their grades and experience. Entry-level scientist/engineer positions could start with a salary of around Rs. 60,000 per month.
  3. Academic Institutions: Scientists working in universities and academic research institutions may have varying salary scales. Assistant Professors with a strong research background can expect to earn starting salaries ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 70,000 per month, with higher grades earning more.
  4. Private Sector: The salaries of scientists in the private sector can vary significantly based on the industry and company. In sectors like pharmaceuticals, IT, and engineering, scientists with relevant expertise can earn competitive salaries, which may range from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 1,50,000 or more per month.


In 2022, R&D spending reached 2% of GDP, fostering fertile ground for innovation. In 2021, the science and technology sector added a substantial 1,497,501 employees, securing its position as India’s top job creator. Thus, the future looks promising as well, with AI’s projected impact on the economy. Accenture’s research suggests that by 2035, AI could elevate India’s annual growth rate by 1.3%. The National AI Strategy underscores the nation’s commitment to harnessing AI’s potential across diverse domains, ensuring a vibrant and transformative future for aspiring scientists.

Amazed, right? You should be pretty clear now about your query on how to become a Scientist or how to become a Scientist in India. You know about the qualification pathways to pursue a career in science. But to be honest, not everyone has what it takes in terms of aptitudes, personalities, and interests.

If you still want to say, ‘I want to become a Scientist’, then you must assess your true potential from a professional career counselor. Understand what it takes and whether you have it in you. You can avail of iDreamCareer’s special services for that.

We are here to assist you in making an informed decision about your future in this thriving field. Take advantage of iDreamCareer’s College & Course Selection Program today and embark on the path toward a successful future! 

A Few More Exciting Articles for You!

How to Become a Scientist: FAQs

How do I become a scientist?

To become a scientist, follow these steps: earn a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, pursue a master’s or doctoral degree, conduct research, publish findings, and stay updated in your field.

How important is research experience to become a scientist?

Research experience is crucial. Engage in internships, research assistantships, or laboratory work during your education to develop hands-on skills and a deep understanding of scientific methods.

Does becoming a scientist a good option?

Becoming a scientist offers immense opportunities for discovery, innovation, and contributing to the advancement of knowledge. It’s a fulfilling path for those passionate about research, problem-solving, and pushing the boundaries of human understanding.

What career path to choose if I want to join ISRO?

There are two pathways to joining ISRO as a scientist or engineer. One route involves appearing for the IIST exam conducted by the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST), Trivandrum, either after completing or during your 12th grade. Detailed information about this examination can be found on the IIST website:

How to join NASA or ISRO after the 12th?

There are no openings at ISRO or NASA directly after 12th grade. ISRO requires a bachelor’s degree, preferably a master’s, for employment. For NASA, you need a valid US work visa, residence, and a suitable bachelor’s degree while already being in the United States.

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