The academic programmes at NISER are deemed to be conducted through the Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, which is affiliated to Homi Bhabha National Institute (HBNI, a deemed to be university), Mumbai and is a grant-in-aid institution, under the Department of Atomic Energy. This arrangement will be in place until the formalities, of granting NISER the Constituent Institution (CI) status of HBNI are completed. NISER offers the following programmes in the Schools of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics.
All the academic degrees (5-year Integrated M. Sc and Ph. D) for NISER are awarded by HBNI.
The Institute will see the addition of new Schools in Computer Science, Earth, Environment and Planetary Sciences in the next few years. First year students in the Masters program undertake common courses in the sciences and the humanities. From the second year of the programme individual students specialize in their chosen stream and their primary course load will reflect their disciplinary focus. However there are a wide variety of Elective subjects offered which could be from within their school or from one of the other schools. As long as the compulsory pre requisites, in terms of courses from the School of their specialization, have been satisfied, the students are free to opt for elective courses from other science streams. It needs to be emphasized that a substantial part of the curriculum will be taken up by Laboratory courses.
Institute talks, workshops, seminars and colloquia are an indispensable part of the academic structure at NISER and students are expected to actively participate during such events. Students will have to quickly adapt to a context where they have to take responsibility for knowledge acquisition. Students are encouraged to think in terms of making a qualitative difference in their learning outcomes rather than merely attend classes. The Institute wishes to strongly dissuade prospective students who are not committed to the spirit of scientific inquiry, ideational rigour and collaborative generosity.
NISER insists on student evaluation of each course and the concerned instructor at the end of each semester. This is an important part of a self-correcting process whereby both student and teacher can consistently work towards a better learning environment.
The graduate research programme leading to the doctoral degree occupies a pivotal position in the academic space of the Institute. While their own research will occupy a lot of their time, as part of their training for the academic position they will be expected to help faculty in course management and tutorial instruction. The doctoral programme has an in-residence requirement and part time positions are not an option at NISER. The graduate student can only embark upon research work leading to a doctoral degree on satisfactorily completing course work and additional qualifying examinations and presentations as required by the respective school. The Graduate student is treated as a future colleague with expectations to match when considering research insights and collegiality.