Media Coverage: Indian Express 24th June 2013

In first year, South Asian University gets 1,000 applications for PhD

By Naveed Iqbal

In its first year of announcing doctoral programmes, the South Asian University (SAU) in the capital has received more than 1,000 applications for the 40 seats on offer for all SAARC countries.

The doctoral programme for biotechnology received more than 500 applications against 10 seats on offer. The university received for this academic session a total of 4,133 applications for its Masters and PhD programmes from eight South Asian countries. In its third academic year, the number is almost double, compared to that of the previous year.

Vice-president of the university and the Dean of Faculty of Life Sciences and Biotechnology Professor Rajiv K Saxena said: “While we witnessed about 56 per cent increase in the total number of applications received this year for all courses, Masters programmes in biotechnology, development economics and international relations in particular are more popular among students.”

MSc in Applied Mathematics, introduced last year, saw a whopping 158 per cent jump in the number of applications, he said.

This year, the maximum applications for Masters and doctoral programmes were received from India. For seven Masters programmes, 2,516 Indian students applied for India’s quota of 105 seats. Last year, 1,796 students from India had applied.

Established by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), admission to the university is governed by a quota system under which each member country of the regional body gets a specific number of seats in every programme.

President of SAU, Professor GK Chadha, said: “I will attribute the upward swing in the number of applications to the robust academic environment that SAU has created in a short period of its existence.”

The university also attributes its popularity to “rare” courses and its faculty members.

SAU offers seven Masters and seven PhD programmes. It aspires to have 11 post-graduate and research faculties and a faculty of undergraduate studies.

At full strength, the university, whose campus is being constructed at Maidan Garhi in New Delhi, is expected to have about 7,000 students. Every year, SAU conducts SAARC-wide entrance test in all the major cities in South Asia. While admission to Masters programmes is based on the entrance test, PhD aspirants have to go through thesis proposal presentation and personal interview as well.