The science of life
Biomedical engineering combines the best of medicine and engineering. So, if you have a flair for research coupled with a working understanding of life science systems, consider it.
Usha Albuquerque

Do you enjoy science and maths but are not sure if you want to work as an engineer? Are you interested in biology, but not in a career as a doctor? Have you often thought of a career that combines both medicine and engineering?

If your answer to any one of these questions is in the affirmative, then a career in biomedical engineering is probably what the doctor has ordered.

Biomedical engineering (BME) is a relatively new discipline that applies engineering principles and techniques to the medical field. It combines the design and problem solving skills of engineering with medical and biological sciences to help improve patient healthcare and quality of life of individuals.

If you consider the amazing difference prostheses (or an artificial limb) and the pacemaker and other diagnostic tools and imaging equipment — such as MRIs and ECGs — have made to the lives of so many patients, you can understand the widespread reach of biomedical engineering.

Biomedical engineers design new medical instruments and devices, applying engineering principles for understanding and repairing the human body, and for decision making and cost-containment using engineering tools.

They utilise the new and expanding technologies of electronics, communication, instrumentation, computer engineering and information technology to develop biomedical instruments — electronic, pneumatic and mechanical instruments that assist medical specialist in imparting quick, accurate and reliable diagnosis and therapy for patients.

Institute Watch
Institutes offering biomedical engineering courses

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

Dr B.R. Ambedkar Centre of Biomedical Research, University of Delhi, New Delhi.

Indian Institute of Technology, Biomedical Engineering, Powai, Mumbai.

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, West Bengal.

Banaras Hindu University Institute of Technology, Varanasi.

Osmania University Biomedical Instrumentation Centre, Hyderabad.

Centre for Biotechnology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

Dwarkadas J. Sanghvi College of Engineering, Mumbai.

Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur.

Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal.

St. Joseph’s College of Engineering, Bangalore.

The main objective of biomedical engineering is to bring about an improvement in the overall quality of healthcare. Today, with the use of a range of sophisticated equipment healthcare has advanced significantly and has enabled medical practitioners in monitoring and management of diseases in the healthcare system.

Biomedical engineers design prosthetics, artificial organs like kidneys, synthetic blood vessels, pacemakers, sophisticated therapeutic and surgical devices like magnetic resonance imaging machines, automated patient monitoring systems, blood chemistry sensors, laser system for eyes, artificial intelligence for clinical decisions and more.

Much of the work in biomedical engineering consists of research and development, and encompasses bio-instrumentation, bio-materials, bio-mechanics, medical imaging, image processing, physiological signal processing, genetic engineering, systems analysis, 3-D modelling, orthopedic surgery, cellular and tissue engineering. Some of the well-established specialty areas within the field of biomedical engineering include
Bioinstrumentation: The application of electronics and measurement principles and techniques to develop devices used in diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Biomechanics: Mechanics applied to biological or medical problems. It includes the study of motion, of material deformation, of flow within the body and in devices, and transport of chemical constituents across biological and synthetic media and membranes. Prosthetic organs such as artificial hearts, kidneys, and joints are examples of devices developed by biomechanical engineers.
Biomaterials: It describes both living tissue and materials with appropriate properties used for implantation. These may include alloys, ceramics, polymers and composites.
Systems physiology: It uses engineering strategies, techniques and tools to gain a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the function of living organisms ranging from bacteria to humans.
Tissue Engineering: It develops tissue substitutes to restore or improve functions of diseases or damaged human tissues, particularly in the cases of transplants.
Clinical engineering: It is the application of technology for healthcare in hospitals.
Rehabilitation engineers: They improve the quality of life for individuals with
physical impairments.

What it takes

Biomedical engineering can be chosen as a subject in engineering, or as a specialisation in postgraduation after a degree in engineering, or M.Sc or equivalent in biochemistry, biophysics, biotechnology, ceramics, chemistry, electronics, ergonomics, material science, mathematics, molecular biology, physics and physiology, or MBBS degree or graduate degree in occupational psychotherapy or BDS. So if you have majored in a traditional field such as electrical, mechanical, or chemical engineering, and are wondering what to do, you can consider a master’s specialty in biomedical engineering

To enroll in a bachelor’s degree course in biomedical engineering, you require to have completed higher secondary or 10+2 examination with science and math. The study of biomedical engineering integrates physical, chemical, mathematical and computational sciences and engineering principles to study biology, medicine, behaviour and health.

Therefore, a flair for research coupled with a working understanding of life science systems and terminology is essential for a career in this field. Good communications skills are also important, because the biomedical engineer provides a link among professionals with medical, technical, and other backgrounds.

Your workplace

Biomedical engineers are employed in medical research institutions, government regulatory agencies, hospitals, educational and medical institutions, in teaching, and academics. There are also job opportunities in diverse spheres of industry, working in medical equipments manufacturing, orthopedic and rehabilitation engineering, molecular, cellular and tissue engineering.

Research and development is possibly the most critical and sought after area of work for biomedical engineers. Today, huge strides are being made in the field of computational mechanics, physiology, medicine and in other cutting-edge technology, developing biomaterials to blend living cells and in providing a match for living tissues, and so on. Much of this work is being undertaken in hospitals and research laboratories abroad where there is great demand for biomedical engineers.

This is an extremely challenging career, as the biomedical engineer shares the responsibility of healthcare along with doctors and paramedical staff. Human life itself depends on the accuracy and calibration of medical instruments designed and developed by biomedical engineers. They are also required in hospitals to provide valuable advice on the status and maintenance of such medical equipments.

Moreover as healthcare advances, there will be an even greater dependence on specialised medical instrumentation, computerised medical devices, clinical technologies, orthopaedic hardware — in short, all tools that help improve the quality of life of patients. Biomedical engineering is a career of the future, and one best suited to those who are technically sound, enjoy research work and are deeply interested in developing cutting-edge technologies.

(The writer is a career counsellor)



Landing that job
You thought the job was yours the moment you saw the advert. Bur then it all went horribly wrong. Want to avoid falling flat in your next interview? R.C. Sharma offers some tips.

Curriculum vitae may be the very crucial first impression, but no matter how good you look on paper, it is the interview that dictates the hiring decision. How you treat each member of the interview team, what you wear, what you say or don’t say during the interview is noted and taken into account.

Of course, the interview is a direct judgment of your abilities and capabilities, but it is test of your self-confidence and nerves. It is, therefore, worthwhile to take a grip on yourself and prepare for the interview.

This preparation helps you a lot to appear poised and confident at this crucial meeting. Here are some useful tips to make your interview a great success.

Do your homework

As soon as you receive the interview call, begin gathering information about the company, its activities, goals and work culture. Knowledge is the best protection against the unknown. So, equip yourself with all information you can. First of all, know about the company you are applying to.

Never, ever...

... discuss personal philosophies, politics or religion.

... try to control the interview. Let it remain in control of the flow of questioning.

... bad-mouth your present or previous employer.

... cite money as the reason for leaving your current job, unless it’s much below the industry average or if there has been a freeze on increments.

... chew gum or smoke a cigarette during the interview.

Get hold of its annual report, sales brochures, and talk to some of its dealers, even current or old employees. Scan newspapers and magazines to gain knowledge about the company. Also reach its websites, if available.

Dress the part

On the day of the interview, make sure you are dressed appropriately. Keep your dress neat, sober and no-nonsense. Slippers and T-shirts are a big no. In winter, wear suit with a good necktie. Button up your shirt. Avoid loud contrasting colours.

Dress for Success was the title of a popular business book in the 70’s, and while the rules have relaxed somewhat, there is simply no excuse for wrinkled shirts, thigh-high skirts or tea-stained ties at an interview.

Your dress portrays your interest, but we are not talking designer labels here. Remember, your body language sends out signals to the observer, so make sure they are positive and optimistic.

Value time

Reach early, at least thirty minutes before the interview. For this leave home early, keeping a margin for traffic jams, flat tyres and parking woes. In case your vehicle breaks down, park on the side of the road and get back to it later. Best of all: Take a cab or ask a friend to drive you to the interview venue.

Reaching before time will help you compose yourself and run a last-minute check on your appearance. A cool and calm exterior not only presents a positive image, it also boosts self-confidence. Avoid a late night party or movie before the big day and eat sparingly. Be sure to take a couple of copies of your CV.

Let the games begin

The first few minutes of the meeting are very crucial. First impressions count — the way you walk in, exchange of salutations, introducing yourself – everything makes a difference. Begin well and try to better your performance during the interview: that’s the key. Be clear, precise and positive. Make short statements, but don’t answer in monosyllables.

Sound warm and eager. Keep comparing your experience with happenings in
the company from the information you have gathered. Try and avoid dropping
big names – that may end up making the interviewer feel small. But if you have
received recognition, praises, from big names, mention it discreetly, as though
it were an honour.

During the session, look directly at the person asking the question, and do not stare at anyone or anything. And if faced with a confusing question, don’t panic. If you do not know the answer, admit it, and go on from there. Trying to fudge will reflect negatively on you.

Mind your manners

Say “please” and “thank you” wherever necessary. Do not lean back in your chair and cross your legs while answering. You will be marked as over–confident and arrogant. Don’t sound casual or don’t joke unnecessarily.

If your discussion comes to salary, be sure to produce a sheet of paper that has all your salary details, including hidden perks and likely future increases. At the end of the meeting, thank the interviewers for their time and leave the room with dignity and grace. Don’t look back.

Don’t babble

Nervous and anxious to impress, many candidates end up talking excessively, trying to emphasise how smart and technically sound they are. In the process, they harm their prospects instead of bettering them. Develop clarity on your objectives. Be clear on your strengths. Do not use ambiguous terminology like ‘may be, ‘could be’, ‘I think’ or ‘I am not sure’. It reveals hesitation and a lack of confidence.

The ability to articulate is vital in an interview. It is useless to be knowledgeable about your subjects and have a long list of qualifications, if you are unable to answer a few simple questions about yourself and your work, without fumbling and mumbling. Offering cogent arguments and logical thinking are significant pointers of your personalities. Try having some practice sessions with your friends, rehearsing the answers before you appear for the interview.

In case you’ve been wondering why you didn’t get the offer for a job that
you’re otherwise qualified for, you may want to take a second look at the
impression you left with the people at the company you interviewed with.
Actions speak louder than words.

So, back up your skill set and experience with a first impression that leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that you are the right candidate for the job. A well-planned strategy, sound preparation, suitable dress, good grooming, self-confidence and poise will surely pave your way to success. All the best!



Indian varsities need quality boost: Experts

India has to invest more in quality staff and research for its higher education institutions to make a mark worldwide, according to British higher education experts.

The observation comes in the wake of two Indian institutions figuring in the 2008 list of top higher education institutions compiled by the Times Higher Education-QS World University Ranking Survey 2008. The details of the survey were released earlier this month.

Whereas no institution from India figured in the top 200 of 2007, two institutions broke into the 2008 list.

They are the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, ranked 154 and IIT, Mumbai, ranked 174, according to the Times Higher Education website.

William Lawton, a policy adviser at the UK Higher Education International Unit, said India was aware of its poor showing at the global level and was investing heavily to reverse the trend, but “it is less clear whether they’ll be able to fill these institutions with high-quality staff”.

Quality of research is another problem area for India, Tim Gore, director of the Centre for Indian Business at the University of Greenwich, pointed out. According to him, India’s major hurdle is its traditional method of keeping teaching and research separate in higher institutions.

Referring to India’s time frame of supplying world quality higher education in the next five years, Lawton observed: “I don’t think they will have solved the world-class excellence issue, and I know for a fact that they won’t have solved their widening-participation issue in that time frame. India gets there eventually, but they seem to get there more slowly than, for example, China does, probably because there are so many domestic political and ideological constraints.”

For the sake of comparison, China has as many as five universities in the top 200, with Peking University placed at 50 and Tsinghua University at 56. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Seoul National University are the two new east Asian entrants into the list this year. — IANS



aim CAT
CAT is not the tiger it is made out to be, writes Ranjeet Mohapatra, as the countdown to the big day begins

Tips from those who have been there, done that

The serious question: The CAT is the epitome of management examinations in the country. Any student worth his salt and serious about management education appears in it at some time or other. The big question here is “How do we approach this monstrous mountain?” The simple solution: Customise. Plan. Relax. Implement.


As far as the required preparation strategy goes, what you need to keep in mind is that there is no single strategy for success in CAT. No doubt hard work and meticulous planning do form the core of any preparation; but with no fixed pattern and practically no bounded syllabus, there is no “one strategy fits all”.

However the uncertainty associated should in no way demoralise you. Rather it is an aid to putting you on an equal footing with “the genius” next door. Hence, the planning of your entire CAT preparation should depend on your own strengths and weaknesses and not on any mass strategy.


With less than a fortnight to go don’t try to learn every new theory you hear. True, the CAT incorporates a lot of alien concepts; however, the fact of the matter is that you already know the basic concepts that apply to a vast majority of problems. The vital thing to do now is mock tests. Use them as a ladder to improve your examination effectiveness.

Missing out on easy questions, wrongly interpreting sentences and faulty time divisions are three most crucial mistakes that can be avoided by careful evaluation of these mock tests. Also try and get a feel of the diverse flavour of tests by coaching institutes. Develop on your strengths and use them to push your overall score while make provisions for your weaknesses by allotting more time and practise.


Remind yourself that the CAT is just an examination. Don’t give in to the
pressure of it being anything more. It’s just a path, like many else before you.
On the day before the exam, avoid studying at all. Try to keep your cool and
have faith on your competence.


ONE last crucial thing to remember is to be flexible with your plans to tackle the exams. One personal example is in CAT 2007 when I saw myself unable to crack the verbal section. Though I had initially planed to devote only about 35 minutes for verbal, I ended up spending around 55 minutes on it. The significant factor here is to motivate yourself to adapt and memorise the simple fact that if it’s difficult for you, it must be difficult for everyone else too.

Simple and effective planning, a flexible approach and a dash of confidence is
all you need to tame the CAT. And of course it always helps to have a truckload
of luck on your side. Best of luck and hope you have a delightful time on the day
of the result announcements!

To be continued

(The writer is a student of IIM Lucknow, batch 2008-10)



IIM-B, best B-school in Central Asia

The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM-B) has been ranked as the best business school in Central Asia by Paris-based agency Ed-Universal.

Making the announcement at the institute’s 35th Foundation Day function, IIM-B director Pankaj Chandra said, “The institute has been ranked number one business school in Central Asia (covering Central Asia, West Asia and South Asia).’’

IIM-B has also been ranked among the top 27 business schools in the world from a list of 1000, Chandra added. The award recognises the three best institutions within each of the nine Ed-Universal Geographical Zones — Africa, West Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Latin America, Northern America, Central Asia, Far Eastern Asia and Oceania.

The Deans of the 1000 best business schools from 153 countries have ranked IIM-B as the best business school in the Central Asia Zone, with a recommendation rate of 398 per 1000, followed by IIM-A (379) and IIM-C (321), classified under “internationally known.’’

According to the IIM-B, Ed-Universal selection endorses the institution’s
international reputation and influence defined as the capacity of a business
school to make a student valuable and thus to improve their employability in
domestic and international spheres.

The process of selection involved a global mapping system meeting, the criteria universality and the international reputation of each academic institution. — UNI



Pink slips bring blues
No matter what the Prime Minister says, India Inc is trimming flab. IT, automobile, real estate… every sector.
S.C. Dhall

Amex to layoff 200 people

Even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh exhorted India Inc to refrain from laying off staff as a cost cutting measure, there is news that American Express has handed out pink slips to about 200 members of its staff at their Bangalore and Gurgaon centres.

Those handed out letters are from the senior echelons of the two centres including some with as much as 15 to 20 years of experience. Sources in the company say that those who were asked to leave were given a month’s notice besides being offered assistance in finding alternate employment and career guidance from experts.

An agency report quoted the official spokesperson of the company to state that there would be a phased reduction in the manpower across Amex worldwide. The company source did not reveal the details of the layoffs in the India operations.

The economic slowdown has now reached the job market. The newest hit are the auto and real estate sectors, both of which have deferred hiring and capacity expansion plans.

While in the last two years both these sectors had been on a perpetual hiring-spree, they have no such plans for the forthcoming months. Severely hit by the credit crunch, these sectors not only plan to reduce their staff, but also reduce salaries and shun hikes.

A number of trade unions are of the opinion that the downturn has already forced companies to trim their workforce. Next in line could be temporary workers, according to the union leader of an automobile unit.

“We are expecting a steady outflow of temporary workers although it may not be in one go, like Tata Motors,” he says, not wanting to be named.

Casual and temporary employees form about 55 per cent of the total workforce in the automotive sector. This figure stood below 40 per cent in 80s and now only two lakh are permanent employees.

“Hiring is a function of demand and supply. Whenever there is a slowdown or cut in production, casual workers are laid off as per requirements,” says the senior executive of a Pune-based automobile company.

Reason to cheer
US IT firm to hire 2,000

At a time when many companies go for downsizing their workforce due to the financial crisis, the US-based IT services provider Computer Science Corp (CSC) said it will add 2,000 people to its India tally in next six months.

“In the next six months, we will add another 2,000 employees in India,” CSC (India) president Rajendra B. Vattikuti told reporters on the sidelines of a conference recently. In the next three years, we will recruit at the industry average, he added. This addition of 2,000 employees would take the company’s total workforce in India to 21,000. CSC has a total workforce of 90,000 as on July, 2008.

“The company has been immune to the global meltdown and rather it has offered more opportunities for the company to expand,” CSC chief executive officer and chairman Michel W. Laphen said.

Aegis to hire 1,000 a month

Ageis BPO has defied all talk of slowdown and retrenchments with the announcement that it will hire about 1,000 people every month taking the total employee strength 35,000 by this fiscal-end.

The Essar Group company which concluded the merger of PeopleSupport, Inc., a leading offshore BPO provider in the Philippines, through its wholly owned subsidiary Essar Services (Mauritius) on Friday said the company expects a 35% organic growth this fiscal.

“The current economic scenario provides a suitable situation for us, as organizations are looking at protecting their profits and this provides enhanced opportunities for us,” said Global CEO and Managing Director of Aegis, Aparup Sengupta.

“Yes, a large number of temporary workers would be relieved of their jobs for at least one to two months in the immediate future following less workload,” he adds.

General Motors has also deferred expansion plans that were to be launched in September to the next financial year. Similarly, Tata Motors has also confirmed that it had laid off temporary staff at its Jamshedpur plant owing to a slowing demand in commercial vehicles.

Besides, Ashok Leyland has also been cutting down on production to avoid a build-up of stock. According to industry reports, with limited availability of credit, high interest rates have hurt the commercial vehicle industry significantly with a steep decline in sales of medium and heavy commercial vehicles.

The mood in the real estate sector is also sombre due to the prevailing slowdown in demand and ongoing liquidity crunch. Parsvnath, which has over 1,400 people and nearly 30,000 indirect employees, has decided to cut salaries of some of executives by 15 to 20 per cent.

Further, the company is set to identify its non-performing staff. These steps were taken after sales plummeted by 40 to 50 per cent as compared to last Diwali.

Unitech, too, has scrapped its half-yearly hikes. Recently DLF, the country’s largest property company, has also planned to retrench around 300 staff members at various levels after deciding to slow down project execution, especially in tier II and III cities.

Meanwhile, HR departments of IT companies across all levels have been asked to go slow on hiring laterals for the coming quarter. Talent acquisition at large companies is now only for critical positions and not done unless absolutely necessary.

Large companies such as Infosys have put the brakes on lateral hiring because of their exposure to the financial sector. Most IT companies are now trying to do more with less.

Though there is no sign of slowdown in work inflow, companies are anticipating the same in two-three months. However, despite the slowdown, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) plans to meet its annual hiring target of 35,000.



Fortnightly Quiz-322

Viswanathan Anand
Making the right moves: Viswanathan Anand 

1. Name the Russian grandmaster whom Viswanathan Anand defeated in the match-play format recently to bag the world chess title?

2. Name the three Asian countries to have sent probes to the moon.

3. How many years of consecration of Guru Granth Sahib are being celebrated this year?

4. What are the symbols of the Democratic and Republican parties in the USA?

5. Which former political prisoner was elected President of the Maldives recently?

6. Name the four languages that have been given the classical status by the Government of India.

7. Which Indian batsman has the distinction of being the only player in the world to share 200-plus partnerships against Australia on four occasions in Test cricket?

8. Who recently became the youngest man to win the Formula One (F1) drivers’ world championship?

9. Who recently became the first Indian woman to win the World Junior Badminton championship?

10. Which highest wicket-taker in Test cricket for India announced his retirement recently?

— Tarun Sharma

Winners of quiz 321: The first prize by draw of lots goes to Deepali Arora, class XI-E, Moti Ram Arya School, Sector 27-A, Chandigarh, pin code-160019

Second: Janhvi Jindal, class IV-B, Convent of Jesus and Mary Chelsea, Shimla, pin code-171002

Third: Akshita, class VIII (Shivam), Bhawan Vidyalaya, Sector 15, Panchkula, pin code-160019

Answers to quiz 321: The White Tiger; Martti Ahtisaari; Paul Krugman; Cash Reserve Ratio; Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir and Rajasthan; Sister Alphonsa; 66; 100; IIT Delhi and Mumbai; Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Allan Border

Cash awards of Rs 400, 300 and 200 are given to the first, second and third prize winners, respectively. These are sent at the school address.

Note: Kindly mention the pin code of your place to facilitate the delivery of
the prize money.

Answers can also be sent at [email protected]



Class giving trouble?
10 minutes of pranayam, everyone

No more caning or beating, says a school in Agra. But wait. You will still be pulled up, though in a different way — by being asked to do yoga!

An initiative of John Fareira, principal of the 166-year-old St Peter’s College, the Dandasana package of yogic punishment includes postures such as anulom vilom, pranayams and kapal bharti.

Fareira is an ardent practitioner of yoga. When he joined the school last year, the church authorities were reluctant to introduce yoga in the school, as they thought it was a Hindu practice.

But against all protests John made it compulsory for the 3,000 students of his institution to join his yoga exercises in the morning assembly. He also rid the school canteen of all junk food and cola drinks.

“The results are now for all to see. The educational standards as also the level of extra-curricular activities and sports have gone up. The doubting Thomases have been satisfied. Yoga is yoga, neither Hindu nor Christian, just like the Gayatri Mantra,” Fareira said.

Any student found creating trouble, or failing to do assignments and homework is ordered to perform yoga.

“The yoga punishment does not have a side effects and only helps students improve concentration,” Fareira said.

The duration and nature of exercises depend on the gravity of the offence. If it is a routine matter a student will be asked to go back to a corner of the classroom and sit in a yoga posture to do anulom vilom.

Occasionally, when the whole class is creating some trouble, they all have to do pranayam for ten minutes.

“Caning or beating children doesn’t really help these days,” says Fareira. “We
want our children to be focussed and disciplined and therefore the emphasis on
yoga,” he adds.

Some of the students said they enjoyed the punishment as “this form of punishment was health-oriented and also gave us time to concentrate on the offence or whatever wrong we have done”.

The new form of punishment has drawn attention of lots of people who are averse to physical beating of children. Even yoga guru Ram Dev has spoken highly of Fareira’s technique.

“The new form of punishment started by St Peter’s College is unique. Children will learn and improve. In the Gurukul tradition, students were sent to fields to do physical work as punishment or go cattle grazing. This school has taken us back to our roots.” — IANS



Pervin Malhotra Career Hotline
Battle of nerves
Pervin Malhotra

Q. I want to become a neurosurgeon. How do I go about
becoming one?
— Priyank Misra

A. To become a neurosurgeon you first need to
pursue an MBBS degree followed by an MS (master
of surgery) degree.

After completing your MS you have to enrol for M.Ch in neurosurgery, usually a three-year super specialisation (some colleges do offer a two-year programme).

Alternatively, straight after doing your MBBS and completing your internship, you could opt for a direct five-year course leading to a Diplomate of the National Board of Examinations (DNB).

For this you must first qualify the Common Primary Examination, which is of the standard of the MBBS course.

After completing one year of postgraduate training in the general surgery department and four years in the neurosurgery department of an accredited hospital or postgraduate training institution, you can take the final examination of the board.

MBBS must for forensic medicine

Q. I am a B.Sc (physics) graduate. Can you please tell me whether I am eligible for a diploma course in forensic medicine?
— Rima Ghosh

A. All diplomas in forensic medicine require an MBBS degree (barring a couple that also admit those with an M.Sc degree). However, a number of universities offer PG diplomas in criminology & forensic science.

Typically these courses cover forensic investigation of the crime scene, forensic photography, forensic toxicology, forensic serology, fingerprint analysis, criminal profiling, drug detection, lie detection, firearm identification and cyber crime.

Punjabi University, Patiala, and Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Agra, offer M.Sc in Forensic Science to B.Sc graduates with an aggregate of 50 per cent. So does the University of Chennai as well as Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University’s LNJN National Institute of Criminology & Forensic Science (, Rohini, Delhi, which offers M.Sc in Forensic Science/ Criminology. The eligibility is B.Sc with 50 per cent aggregate.

The University of Delhi offers a Certificate and Diploma Course in Forensic Science besides a B.Sc in Forensic Science.

Besides these, there are other diploma courses in criminology and forensic science. While some are for sponsored police officers or those working in social welfare departments, the others require an LLB degree.

Legal services sector will boom

Q. I am a final-year student of LLB from Agra University. I’m very worried about the overall employment scenario in the country. So I’m thinking of doing LLM from a good university like DU. Could you please give me the details of this programme and how I can get enrolled for it?
— Mridul Goel

A. While the economic slowdown may impact most sectors of the economy and consequently affect new hiring and salaries, legal services is one sector that will witness a positive change. Happily, the demand for lawyers is going to increase, as the present situation would require a great amount of documentation with drastic changes taking place at the top-level in organisations.

As far as the LLM course at DU is concerned, it’s meant for law grads who are not working. You need to submit an affidavit to this effect, before you are allowed to be admitted to the two-year course. The LLM (three-year) course is open to all.

Eligibility: LLB (50 per cent)

Selection: Entrance Test in June

The test paper last year comprised of 175 objective type questions with multiple choice answers in the following areas, viz. Constitutional Law of India, Jurisprudence, Law of Contracts (General Principles), Law of Torts, Criminal Law, Family Law of Marriage and Divorce and Public International Law (Law of Peace).

The LLM programme is taught at the Faculty of Law, Chhatra Marg (North Campus), University of Delhi, Delhi. For more details, log on to www.du.

Tough to change boats midstream

Q. I’m doing B.Sc electronics. After finishing this, can I do M.Sc in biophysics? Could you please suggest other courses that include biology as a subject? Am I eligible for such courses? (In 12th I got 94 per cent in PCB).
— Yashika Gupta

A. The eligibility for all M.Sc Biophysics courses, as far as my database shows. is a B.Sc (H) degree in the relevant subject (biology/ life sciences/ veterinary science / medicine). However, I’m listing those based in the North, so you can confirm from their websites directly:
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi.
Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand.
Panjab University, Sector 14, Chandigarh.

You can look at related fields such as bioinformatics or biomedical engineering.

Planning a media blitzkrieg

Q. What does one have to do to specialise in media planning?
— Jaydeep Sinha

A. If you thought that the unprecedented publicity blitz for Saawariya or Om Shanti Om termed by some media critics as `carpet bombing of the senses’ was madness, there was certainly a well-planned method to it. In fact, an entire team of professionals burnt the midnight oil diligently crafting the perfect marketing strategy for the films.

In the advertising industry, the media planner is responsible for placing advertisements in the right place at the right time, so that they reach the desired audience at the most economical cost. You will spend a lot of time looking at graphs and balance sheets, calculating how much a client needs to spend to see a change in profits.

You will study the viewing, reading and web-browsing habits of consumers to determine, which medium (newspapers, magazines, TV radio, Internet, hoardings) is best suited to get the client’s message across. You will then study the number and types of people reached by different media and calculate the total reach.

With a boom in the media industry there is a great demand for media planners and analysers. Since crores are at stake taking informed decisions on the right media or a combination of media platforms is the media planner’s job. A master’s degree preferably with a specialisation in marketing, advertising or math/stats is considered ideal for a media planner.

MBAs who have specialised in marketing are also in demand. Successful media planners tend to be diagonal thinkers — they use both sides of their brain — business sense is important, as is numeracy. And as with most media careers, you’ll face competition.

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