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Updated on: July 15, 2010  

How long is an MRC interview and why?

Materials Science and Engineering is a diverse field. Please read the article on "What are Materials?" to help you understand MRC better. We at MRC realize that a student cannot be well versed in all areas relevant to materials, when we, the faculty ourselves, are not. Hence, a panel of faculty members tries to properly evaluate a student in as many areas as possible over a period of 30 to 60 minutes. The idea here is not to trouble the student, but to ensure that we have properly tried to understand all the strengths and weaknesses of individual candidates. For instance, while one student might be good in thermodynamics, another might be good at electronic properties. An attempt is made at the interview to understand these differences and test the candidate accordingly.

How is a candidate evaluated at the interviews?

While a student's knowledge of basic material physics and chemistry is tested during the interview, as much emphasis is placed on his/her ability to think and analyze. We also prefer some knowledge of basic mathematics.

How should a student prepare for the interview?

While there are no hard and fast rules, it is recommended that the student should try and acquire a basic knowledge in some of the following areas. See the MRC entrance exam syllabus for more details on each of these individual areas.

  1. Structure of solids
  2. Thermodynamics and kinetics
  3. Solid-state physics.
  4. Inorganic and organic chemistry
  5. Basic quantum mechanics
  6. Semiconducting, dielectric, magnetic, optical, thermal and mechanical properties of solids
  7. Characterization of materials
  8. Basic mathematics

Sample Questions:

Here are some sample questions. Please do not just confine your preparation to just these questions only.

  1. Explain how you will use x-ray diffraction to determine the structure of solids?
  2. Draw the phase diagram of water and explain why the solid-liquid equilibrium has a negative slope?
  3. Explain the variation of free energy with particle size during homogenous nucleation?
  4. Explain the variation of specific heat of solids with temperature.
  5. How would you synthesize BaTiO3?
  6. What is the oxidation state of Cu in YBa2Cu3O7?
  7. Why is there a blue shift in the energy of light emitted with a reduction in size of nanoparticles?
  8. How does the Fermi level vary with doping?
  9. What crystal systems exhibit ferroelectricity?
  10. Why does one need a TEM and a SEM when the optical microscope is available?
  11. Plot y = A(1-e-x)

Suggested Reading:

Here are some standard textbooks to follow. Title, authors and publisher names have been provided. A cheap Indian edition is available for most of the books listed.

Basic Introductory Texts:
  1. Introduction to Materials Science for Engineers, L. F. Shackelford, Pearson
  2. An Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering, Callister, Wiley Eastern
  3. Materials Science and Engineering, Raghavan, PHI
Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Phase transformations, Thermodynamics and Kinetics:
  1. Physical Chemistry, G. M. Barrow, Tata-McGraw Hill.
  2. Physical Chemistry of Metals, L. S. Darken and R. W. Gurry, CBS Publishers, Delhi.
  3. Inorganic Chemistry, D. F. Shriver and P. W. Atkins, OUP.
  4. Phase Transformations in Metals and Alloys, D. A. Porter and K. E. Easterling.
Structure and Properties of solids:
  1. Solid State Chemistry and its applications, A. R. West, Wiley Eastern Edition
  2. Introduction to Solids, L. V. Azaroff, Tata McGraw Hill
  3. Introduction to Solid State Physics, C. Kittel, Wiley India edition
  4. Solid State Physics, N. W. Ashcroft and N. D. Mermin, Thompson/Brooks-Cole, Indian edition
  5. Solid State physics, A. J. Dekker, Macmillan India Limited
  6. Electrical Engineering Materials, A. J. Dekker, Prentice Hall of India.
  7. Electronic Engineering Materials and Devices, J. Allison, Tata McGraw Hill.
  8. Electrical Properties of Materials, L. Solymar and D. Walsh, OUP.
  9. Mechanical Metallurgy, G. E. Dieter, McGraw Hill
  10. Physical Metallurgy Principles, Reed-Hill, Thompson.
Materials Characterization (The introductory texts also have sections on materials characterization):
  1. Elements of X-ray Diffraction, B. D. Cullity, Pearson
  1. Advanced Engineering Mathematics, E. Kreyzig, Wiley Eastern Edition

When will I know the result?

Interviews are held over a period of a week. Following completion, the performance of all the candidates are compared and the best candidates are offered a Ph. D. position. Candidates are informed by mail and the list is also displayed on the institute website.

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