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All About the Indian Statistical Institute

Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) is an academic institute of national importance as recognized by a 1959 act of the Indian parliament. It grew out of the Statistical Laboratory set up by Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in Presidency College, Kolkata. Established in 1931, this public university of India is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions focused on statistics. Its early reputation led it to being adopted as a model for the first US institute of Statistics set up at the Research Triangle, North Carolina by Gertrude Mary Cox.

ISI Kolkata


Mahalanobis set up the Statistical Laboratory in the Presidency College sometime in the 1920s. On 17 December 1931, the Indian Statistical Institute was founded as a learned society and housed in the Statistical Laboratory. The Institute was registered on 28 April 1932, as a non-profit distributing learned society under the Societies Registration Act (XXI of 1860). It is now registered under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act XXVI of 1961 and amended in 1964. Sir R.N. Mookerjee accepted the office of the President of the Institute and held this it until his death in 1936.

During the 1920s and until the mid-1930s, all or nearly all the statistical work in India was done single-handedly by Mahalanobis. The early statistical studies included analyses of data on the stature of Anglo-Indians, meteorological data, rainfall data, data on soil conditions, etc. Some of the findings of these early studies were of great impact in control of floods, development of agriculture, etc., and led to the recognition of Statistics as a key discipline.

How to enroll?

The entrance exam is conducted by the Indian Statistical Institute. The ISI is one of the popular exams among the students who want to take admission in various degree courses. Every year, thousands of candidates appear in this examination, which is conducted in the month of May.

The steps for the application process are listed below:

  • Access the official website of ISI,; here you need to click on the highlighted ‘application form.’
  • Register for ISI by creating a login.
  • Fill in all the necessary fields like name, age, date of birth, course, and address of center. Upload the scanned copy of your signature along with a photograph.
  • After registration, candidates receive an SMS on their registered mobile number with the registration number and transaction ID.
  • Then all applicants in the general category need to pay a fee Rs. 600.00/. All applicants in the SC/ST/OBC/Physically Challenged category have to pay Rs. 300 for all programs excluding JRF programs.
  • The application fee has to be paid to the State Bank of India in cash after taking a printout of the Challan form.
  • Candidates are advised to keep a copy of the application form and Challan after the fee payment.

Admission is based on the merit of the candidates, which includes the performance in admission tests and interview rounds. Their past academic records may also be taken into account.


ISI has its headquarters and the main campus in Kolkata. It has other centers in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and smaller units in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Giridih, Pune, and Vadodara. Tezpur, the 4th centre of ISI, was inaugurated in 2011.

Since the 1940s, ISI has pioneered in research and application of Statistical Quality Control (SQC) in India. Walter A. Shewhart, the statistician known as the father of SQC, and other experts in this field visited ISI over the years. The first Statistical Quality Control and Operations Research (SQC & OR) unit of ISI was set up in Mumbai in 1953, followed by the Bangalore and Kolkata units in 1954. In 1976, this unit was transformed into the SQC & OR Division, which now operates eight units, located in various industrial centres in India – Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai, Coimbatore, and Vadodara. These units partake in technical consultancy with public and private organizations, in addition with performing research and training activities.


The list of programs offered at ISI are as follows:

Academic Programmes Duration Venue
B.Stat. (Hons.)  3 years Kolkata
B.Math. (Hons.)  3 years Bengaluru
M.Stat. 2 years Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata
M.Stat.  2 years Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata
M.Math. 2 years Kolkata, Bengaluru*
M.S. in Quantitative Economics 2 years Kolkata, Delhi
M.S. in Library and Information Science 2 years Bengaluru
M.S. in Quality Management Science [MS (QMS)] 2 years Bengaluru and Hyderabad
M.Tech. in Computer Science 2 years Kolkata
M.Tech. in Quality, Reliability and Operations Research  2 years Kolkata
Ph.D.   Kolkata, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai


Programme Duration Venue
P.G. Diploma in Statistical Methods and Analytics 1 year Tezpur(Assam)
P.G. Diploma in Statistical Methods with Applications#  1 year Tezpur(Assam)
Post-Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications 1 year Giridih
Part-time Certificate/Diploma course in SQC and OR ** 1+1 years Mumbai, Chennai

# This course is not being offered this year.

**This course will be notified separately.


Alumni of ISI, including the recipients of Ph.D. degree, are employed in government and semi–government departments, industrial establishments, research institutions in India and other countries. There is a placement cell in ISI Kolkata that organizes campus interviews by prospective employers in various campuses of ISI. In the recent past, a high percentage of ISI alumni got absorbed into jobs in analytics, banking, finance and software industry.

Notable Alumni

Many students and research scholars of ISI pursued a career in academics. They have excelled in the fields of statistics, mathematics, probability theory, computer science and economics. Notable names include:

C. R. Rao, Anil Kumar Gain, Samarendra Kumar Mitra, S. R. S. Varadhan, Debabrata Basu, K. R. Parthasarathy, Jayanta Kumar Ghosh, Bimal K. Roy, Sankar Kumar Pal, B. L. S. Prakasa Rao, G. Jogesh Babu, Thiruvenkatachari Parthasarathy, Gopinath Kallianpur, Rajeeva Karandikar, Ravindra Khattree, Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, Palash Sarkar, J. S. Rao, Kesar Singh, Ranajit Chakraborty, Partha Pratim Majumder, Anil Bera, Probal Chaudhuri, Arup Bose, Sundaram Thangavelu, Subhashis Ghosal, Nilanjan Chatterjee, Sudipto Banerjee, Moulinath Banerjee, Debopam Bhattacharya, Sourav Chatterjee, Jean Drèze, and Sucharit Sarkar

ISI alumni for non-academic career include politicians like Subramanian Swamy and Dipankar Bhattacharya. There are many ISI alumni who have successfully established themselves in the field of Management Science including Ram Kesavan, R. Palani Velu, Chemuduri Narayana, and G.M.Naidu.

Indian Statistical Institute is one of the top colleges in India for basic sciences. Read about another such college, Indian Institute of Science, here.

That’s all for now, folks. All the best!

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