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History

The School of Natural Sciences (SNS) started in May 2004. It had already been mentioned in the Megaproject for NUST and given its name in it. A preliminary PC-1 had been prepared for it by Drs. M. Rafique and Azad A. Siddiqui of the Basic Sciences Department of the College of Electrical & Mechanical Engineering. It had then been left pending for implementation much later. However, when Prof. Asghar Qadir of the Department of Mathematics of the Quaid-i-Azam University, who also works as a physicist, took early retirement from his University in March 2004 and became available to take other employment in May 2004, he was appointed as Director of SNS.

Admission to the MPhil leading to PhD was advertised and the PC-1 for the School was prepared and submitted to the Higher Education Commission right away. The PC-1 consisted of three phases: the first just had an MPhil leading to PhD in Mathematics; the second, to start four years later, an MPhil leading to PhD in Theoretical Physics; the third (three years later) to extend into Experimental Physics and to start a 4-year BS programme, in at least Mathematics. The intention was to have 20 students admitted to each of the graduate programmes and 40 for the BS. It took two years before the PC-1 was approved. In the mean time SNS had already got 5 PhD students and awarded an MPhil to one more. A second batch of some 7 students had also been admitted. The second phase was started after 4 years (2 years after the PC-1 had been approved) and the third phase after another 2 years. Prof. Siddiqui took over as Principal SNS in 2011.
 
Though the School had only one faculty member at the time, Dr. Khalid Saifullah came as visiting faculty from the Quaid-i-Azam Univeersity and Drs. Rafique and Siddiqui. The faculty built up reasonably fast but the growth of the student body was more sporadic (see tables below) and the research issuing from SNS increased rapidly (see graphs in the research section of webpage). Despite the original plan, the Mathematics students admitted for the MPhil/PhD increased to 30. While some Physics faculty was inducted early on, there was no attempt to hire a lot of physicists at that time, the concentration being on Mathematics. With more Physics faculty being inducted from 2011 it was decided to separate the Departments of Mathematics and Physics. Though the same faculty taught and supervised in both departments they were administratively counted in only one. The increase in the faculty strength in Mathematics and Physics at SNS is given in the table below. As such, Mathematics and Physics are shown separately for 2011 and 2012.

Table 1. MPhil/PhD Students in Mathematics at SNS


Year / Batch​ ​Total Students Joined ​MPhil Course Work ​PhD Course Work ​MPhil Research Work ​PhD Research Work ​MPhil Complete ​PhD Complete
​2004 (PhD-1) 8​ ​- ​- ​- ​- ​1 ​5
2005 (PhD-2)​ ​7 ​- ​- ​- ​- ​1 ​5
2006 (PhD-3)​ ​8 ​- ​- ​- ​- ​2 ​2
2007 (PhD-4)​ ​10 ​- ​- ​- ​2 ​4 ​2
2008 (PhD-5)​ ​11 ​- ​- ​- ​6 ​3 ​-
2009 (PhD-6)​ ​9 ​- ​- ​- ​1 ​5 ​-
2010 (PhD-7)​ ​22 ​- ​1 ​- ​5 ​13 ​-
2011 (PhD-8)​ ​30 ​- ​2 ​3 ​- ​16 ​-
2012 (PhD-9)​ ​27 ​7 ​- ​15 ​1 ​- ​-
2013 (PhD-10) ​43 39
​3 ​- ​- -​ -​
Total 176 46 6
18 11 ​45 14
 


 Table 2. BS in Mathematics at SNS



​Year / Batch ​Total Students Joined ​Current Strength ​BS Completed
​BS Mathematics-I (2010) ​18 ​13 ​-
BS Mathematics-II (2011)​ ​37 29​ -​
BS Mathematics-III (2012)​ 33 ​30 -​
BS Mathematics-III (2013) ​41 ​32 ​-
Total 129 104 0
 

 Table 3. MPhil/PhD Students in Physics at SNS


Year / Batch​ Total Students Joined​ MPhil Course Work​ PhD Course Work​ MPhil Research Work​ PhD Research Work​ MPhil Complete​ PhD Complete​
2008 (PhD-1)​ ​3 ​- ​- ​- ​- ​2 ​-
2009 (PhD-2)​ ​7 ​- ​- ​- ​- ​4 ​-
2010 (PhD-3)​ ​6 ​- ​- ​- ​2 ​1 ​-
2011 (PhD-4)​ ​18 ​- ​- ​4 ​- ​2 ​-
2012 (PhD-5)​ ​16 ​3 ​1 ​7 ​- ​- ​-
2013 (PhD-6) ​28 ​24 ​1 -​ -​ -​ -​
Total 78 ​27 2
11 2 9

0

 


Table 4. Faculty per year at SNS



​Year ​Maximum Faculty Strenght ​Mathematics Faculty ​Physics Faculty ​Left
​2004 ​1 ​-
2005​ ​9-1 ​1 Postdoc
​2006 ​12 ​2
​2007 ​14 ​2
​2008 ​15 ​2
​2009 ​16 ​1
​2010 ​14 ​3
​2011 ​19 ​12 ​7 ​1
​2012 ​28 ​17 ​11 ​2
 

At the time no clear rules about the number of courses or credits, or a core, had been formulated by the HEC. These were proposed and implemented first at SNS and were later adopted by the HEC for general implementation. A total of 8 courses, yielding 24 credits, of which there was a core of 5 courses with 15 credits along with a dissertation of 6 credits, were approved for an MPhil, and an extra 6 courses with 18 credits were required for the PhD, apart from a thesis of 30 credits. Two courses with 6 credits could be taken by students who wanted to continue for the PhD without bothering with an MPhil. There were to be two Comprehensive examinations, one on the core and another on 4 optional courses. In addition, the students have to deliver (and pass) three seminars: one in the research area (outside the research topic); one in the broader area outside the research area and one in some area outside the broad area but at a graduate level. They also have to attend the weekly seminars throughout their studies. The next year the core was increased to 6 courses. This programme was more rigorous and extensive than at any other Pakistani university.