Choosing between Dual degree (BTMT) and B. Tech. (BT) at IIT Kanpur

Firstly, I would like to state some information that one should know. During IIT admission, IITK only have intakes of btech/bsc disciplines. It doesn’t offer direct admit to integrated (bachelor + masters) dual degree program. All the students get admitted in the undergraduate program only. After completion of roughly 2.5 years, information is floated by each department about conversion from btech program to dual degree program . Each department has its own criteria for allowing btech students to convert to dual degree program. For example, EE department sets the criteria which is based on CPI and it varies from 6.5 to 8 generally.

This is probably better system as compared to the other IITs where they offer dual degree program at the time of JEE counselling itself. I support it because, in this case the student spends considerable time in college’s academic system then decides upon his/her interest that whether he/she should go for integrated mtech program or he/she is satisfied with the btech degree only.

Towards the end of third year, students get option for academic program conversion at IITK. There is quite a lot of questions among students whether to opt for dual degree or continue with their undergraduate degree. So I would like to highlight the positives of both side. I would be writing my personal experience and the ones that I observed from my fellow mates.

I personally favour dual degree because of following points:

  1. Placement: Irrespective of your department, everyone prepares for the placement. So one needs to give a fair amount of time for its preparation as well. If you are in btech degree, so you’ll need to prepare for the placement in the 7th semester along with your course load (probably 5 courses) which will be very hectic and time management will be a major issue.  There would be midsems, endsems, quizzes, etc which might build unnecessary tension and especially towards the end of semester, it might become worse due to placement tests showing up everyday. During mtech period, you will have ample amount of time in 9th semester to prepare for placement as there would be maximum of one/two courses and you could easily manage time between research work and placement preparations.
  2. See the whole process: This will be probably the first time you would face stress based interview on which your initial career depends. So if one converts to a dual degree program, then it would be worth if you could experience the whole placement process while sitting back and see your fellow students preparing for the same. It is also very helpful for your friends who will prepare for their placement with your help and that would be a good exercise for you too. You’ll get to know the total inside & out of process and glitches that would come along right from preparation days to end of placement process. This will help you to prepare you better for the next (your own) placement season.
  3. Knowledge: After you complete your courses by 9th semester, you would have done few of the PG courses of your department as well and it will certainly pour more knowledge in you. Most of the PG courses involve projects as well, so one will have more good/quality project and more in-depth knowledge by the end of 9th semester. Also you would have your thesis project which will weigh a lot if it is relevant to the job profile.
  4. Maturity: After a student completes one more year in campus, you will observe placement season where you’ll see ups and downs, you’ll different phases of difficulties which your friend faced, etc. Also you will be doing your course work seriously. In the thesis work, you will see days when your result are not coming and you will find instances where you will have a few tough days and finally you will cope up with the problem. I mean to say that in short span on this one year, you will come across few certain things which will make you strong and mature. So confidence level will be high and you will tend to take more informed decision.
  5. M. Tech. degree: At the time of placement, the companies screen/shortlist students. Each year I have observed that dual degree student get shortlisted in more companies than btech students (probably due to blend of above factors). And the end of academic program (BTMT) it does feel good to have a higher degree, it might not have immediate monetary effect though. Just for information, dual degree student gets stipend of 12400 INR for the 11 months and academic fees for 8th, 9th and 10th semester is reduced to about 16000 INR only. So your extra one year would be fully funded.
  6. Research: If the student has inclination towards research but he/she is unsure whether to go for PhD or not, then dual program is best way to get glimpse of research life and how does it work. So next year the student will take informed decision. It will also add a thesis work in your resume which will help in getting good admit.
  7. Easy life for one year: You’ll be a bit relaxed all the time and one could also go for internship in winters and summers of 4th year. So time space will increase.

These are points which highlight why one should continue with the btech program.

  1. Save one year: If ageing is your concern or you want to go for some business schools/plans. There is no much point of spending one more year in campus. It’s better to move early and start working on your future.
  2. Current practice: Although I said mtech part would provide ample time to prepare for the placements. But few times it happens that when a person is under pressure then his/her performance is best. So if you are in 7th semester and you have placements in December, then you would also be doing 4-5 courses along with it. So you’ll be in running practice of the courses and there will be no need of revision as quizzes and test would anyway force you to do that. So doing courses properly and preparing for placement could have a lot of overlap which would help.
  3. Financial constraint: It might be the case that one has dire need of money which may arise due to many factors, so one can’t afford to loose out one year salary. Hence if there is urgent need of money, one could get away with btech.
  4. DON’T WANT TO STUDY: This is the worse reason one would consider for continuing with btech. The mtech at IITK only demands sincerity from your side for one more year. It will not tiring as your course work and research work totally depends on your time management. So if you have a few bits of zeal to study and aptitude left in your heart/mind, then I guarantee that you’ll be able to complete dual degree program successfully. So this naive reason shouldn’t be determining your decision.

Altogether I would say that the conversion to dual degree will certainly improve (>=) your placement, earn good experience and also get you a degree. Graduating at the age of 22 (dual) instead of 21 (btech) doesn’t harm much. There is a lot of years still left to do/prepare for any job.

One could opt for btech only when he/she is sure that his/her interest certainly lies in other future aspects or the factors mentioned above.

Shorthand used:
btech – B. Tech.

mtech – M. Tech.

bsc – B. Sc.

(dual degree ~ integrated program) – both program are almost same and they are 5 year program which gives B. Tech. and M. Tech. certification.

Contact me if anyone needs help.

APPEND 1: Dual and integrated are different in some sense. In integrated, you will get a combined CGPA and in dual degree you will get two different gradesheets for Btech and Mtech. (information suggested by Ishan Prashant)

Advertisements

Silvaco – a quick start

Note: This post is sort of quick tutorial to start building TFT device in the Silvaco software without going much in detailed physics behind.

Silvaco is device simulation software which is used to obtain device characteristics like IV, CV, CF, etc for the simulated devices which could be diode, MOSFET, TFT, organic devices and a lot of other devices which are listed in the manual. The software comes with set of examples which can be used to build your device based on it. Basically it solves all set of complex equation (Poisson’s equation, etc) for the device which you build and gives you back the required characteristics.

Here I am going to build a simple organic TFT and guide you over the statements. At the end of this session one should be able to understand the basic workflow of writing code and build their own structure whenever required.

  1. This command gives that how many servers you’d be using for solving the Silvaco file.
    • go atlas simflags=”-P 1″
  2. Now one can set variables to some value so that it can be reused again. So following command instantiates following variables. All dimensions are in micrometer.
    • set Channel_L = 20
      set ContactLength_SD = 5
      set Semiconductor_t = 0.05
      set Dielectric_t = 0.35
  3. Before defining the structure of your device one should be aware of the dimensions of the device and where the boundaries occurs. This commands helps to define meshing points where the simulator will solve for the physics based equation.
    • mesh     width=220x.mesh loc=0.0 spacing=0.1
      x.mesh loc=$ContactLength_SD – $ContactLength_SD/2 spacing=0.1
      x.mesh loc=$ContactLength_SD spacing=0.1
      x.mesh loc=$ContactLength_SD+$Channel_L/2 spacing=0.1
      x.mesh loc=$Channel_L + $ContactLength_SD spacing=0.1
      x.mesh loc=$Channel_L + $ContactLength_SD + $ContactLength_SD/2 spacing=0.1
      x.mesh loc=$Channel_L + $ContactLength_SD + $ContactLength_SD spacing=0.1
      y.mesh loc=0.000 spacing=0.1
      y.mesh loc=$Semiconductor_t/2 spacing=0.01
      y.mesh loc=$Semiconductor_t spacing=0.01
      y.mesh loc=$Dielectric_t-0.2 spacing=0.1
      y.mesh loc=$Dielectric_t spacing=1
  4. This part defines the material present at different rectangular regions that you’d define. The material properties are taken as default. It can be specifically changed later as you’ll see.
    • region num=1 x.min=0.0 x.max=$Channel_L + $ContactLength_SD + $ContactLength_SD y.min=0.0 y.max=$Semiconductor_t material=pentacene
      region num=2 x.min=0.0 x.max=$Channel_L+ $ContactLength_SD + $ContactLength_SD y.min=$Semiconductor_t y.max=$Dielectric_t material=oxide
  5. This defines the electrode location through which you would probe/apply any external quantities (i.e voltage). In our TFT case we have source, gate and drain.
    • elect num=1 x.min=0.0 x.max=$Channel_L + $ContactLength_SD + $ContactLength_SD y.min=$Dielectric_t y.max=$Dielectric_t name=gate
      elect num=2 x.min=0.0 x.max=$ContactLength_SD y.min=0.0 y.max=0.0 name=source
      elect num=3 x.min=$Channel_L+$ContactLength_SD x.max=$Channel_L + $ContactLength_SD + $ContactLength_SD y.min=0.0 y.max=0.0 name=drain
  6. For sake of simplicity you can save the structure file here via save command.
    Now we have defined the structure of the device, so we will further go inside to explicitly define the every fine details (you might call it simulation parameters) of the device.
    There are large number of material parameters through which you would like to make it resemble to a real fabricated device but most of the time one would change only few of parameters to do so and keep others as default. There are a lot of other commands/variables which needs to be added individually like Defects, Mobility, etc. The physical property specification is the crucial part of the simulation. In the current example I have used few of the material parameters which you would also find realistic.

    • save outf=OTFT_Diel300nm_L20u.str    master
      material region=1 material=pentacene permittivity=3 nc300=1e22 nv300=1e22 affinity=3.3 eg300=1.8
      material region=2 material=oxide permittivity=7.4
      mobility region=1 material=pentacene mun=1e-6 mup=0.5
      defects region=1 numd=180 ntd=1.1e20 wtd=0.115 cont
      contact name=source workf=5.1
      contact name=drain workf=5.1
      contact name=gate workf=4.1
  7. After defining all these, one needs to activate models as per requirement to include the effect of particular model while solving the equations. I mean to convey that let’s say you have defined poole frenkel variable in the material statement above but it won’t cause any effect until you specify PFMOB keyword in the MODELS. Few of the physics models are activated by default like constant mobility model, Boltzmann Distribution, etc. So one should think it as if one wants to have his device realistic then try to specify the material parameters as real as possible and activate its corresponding model so that the effect could be seen in the simulation. I have used fermidirac distribution for solving the equations, but one can include more model as per need.
    • models fermidirac
      Till now there has been specification of the device.
  8. Method statement specifies the process by which it solves these complex heavy equation corresponding to the models that you have activated above and it is solved by numerical methods. I have chosen newton method to solve and maximum iteration steps of 100.
    • method newton maxtraps=100
  9. First we would solve at all 0 volt bias to get the initial solution which is done by ‘init’ statement and save this structure file.
    • solve init
      save outf=Ox300nm_Gworkf4.1eV_Id-Vgs_L20u_Equilb.str
  10. Now one can solve at different bias voltage and save structure file at that particular bias. You can sweep only one particular voltage at a time (which is also practically done). So reload that structure file (at particular bias point) and a particular node is swept as shown below (point 11).
    • solve vdrain=-1 outf=Ox300nm_L20u_Gworkf4.1eV_Vsd01
  11. Before each sweep statement you would to like to measure current and voltage through each electrode. so surround the solve statement with log statement as shown.
    • load infile=Ox300nm_L20u_Gworkf4.1eV_Vsd01
      log outf=Ox300nm_Gworkf4.1eV_Id-Vgs_L20u_Vsd01.log
      solve vgate=0 vstep=-0.1 vfinal=-40 name=gate
      save outf=Ox300nm_Gworkf4.1eV_Id-Vgs_L20u_Vsd01.str
      log off
      The above example shows that the gate voltage is driven from 0 to -40 volts with source at 0 volts and drain at -1 volts. so it’s basically Id-Vg sweep at constant drain voltage of -1 volts
  12. Finally you can use tonyplot statement to plot any of the saved plot/structure as shown below.
    • tonyplot Ox300nm_Gworkf4.1eV_Id-Vgs_L20u_Vsd01.logOx300nm_Gworkf4.1eV_Id-Vgs_L20u_Vsd01
  13. Finally quit statement.
    • quit

Hope this helps. Contact back for more.

No dues IIT Kanpur

Here I would explain steps required to get NO-DUES for B.Tech.-M.Tech. dual degree students (EE specifically).

  1. Visit No Dues form online at DOAA website (www.iitk.ac.in/doaa) few days before the thesis submission (although it is variable). If it shows your old UG roll number then get it changed from the OARS office, they will change it to your new PG roll number.
  2. After verifying the correctness of the form, click on submit button and wait for a day. Automatically “NO DUES” will be shown from all the unnecessary places where you don’t have any dues. Meanwhile following steps are needed for thesis submission.
    1. Finalize your thesis and defense committee with your supervisor. All the required forms are available here (http://www.iitk.ac.in/doaa/spgc-forms). Your supervisor would ideally send “List of Suggested Examiners for M.Tech. Thesis” to department office after which that form is translated to DOAA office.
    2. Get X thesis certificates signed by supervisor/s depending on number of examiners. (X=number of supervisor/s + 2 (#examiners))
    3. Print X copies of your thesis and replace the certificate page with the ‘signed’ certificate page. (no need of hard binding, soft binding/folder would work)
    4. Submit the printed thesis to DOAA UG section. (they should have already received the “List of Suggested Examiners for M.Tech. Thesis” form sent by your supervisor).
    5. DOAA office person will put a dated stamp on the certificate page. Now you can have thesis defense atleast 7 days to 4 months from the mentioned date.
    6. Also ask for the ‘thesis aid’ form, that would reimburse 750 INR for printing thesis.
    7. After thesis defense, correction may be suggested. Act upon the changes and take Y copies of the final thesis (hard binding). (Y=number of supervisor/s+1 (for EE dept. library)+1 (for yourself if you wish))
  3. After submitting the thesis, your supervisor is expected to clear NO DUES online from his/her side.
  4. Take the department No Dues form from your department office and get the signatures of necessary people at labs/offices and submit it back. Ask dept. office person to clear no dues online.
  5. Pay the Hall Dues which includes payment of mess bill, canteen & xerox shop bill, room rent and clearance from the Hall secretaries. After all the process, ask  hall office person to clear no dues online.
  6. Go to DOSA office and get online no dues from SC/ST book bank, student gymkhana and SBF.
  7. Go to ID cell (near computer center) with your ID card and health booklet where they will punch your ID card and clear no dues online.
  8. After your thesis defense, update your thesis defense date at DOAA office.
  9. Go to “http://172.28.64.70:8080/jspui/password-login” and submit your thesis online. And again you have to go physically to library to get it accepted and pay the the library fine if any. (there are various mode of payment for paying fine like do the payment at account section and show the receipt at library, etc.).
  10. Look if there is any dues left on the online form, and contact required offices accordingly. Now, you must have ‘No dues’ in every row of the online NO DUES form. click on submit.
  11. If you have completed the no-dues process before convocation then one has to fill convocation consent form (released each year on convocation website http://www.iitk.ac.in/doaa/convocation/)
    1. Pay 1000 INR (if you are NOT attending convocation) OR
    2. Pay 1100 INR   (if you are attending convocation)
  12. The DOAA person will give you 3 scanned copy of the stamped no dues form (they will keep the original stamped no-dues copy).
    1. One copy has to be submitted to the Dept. office for the release of last month stipend.
    2. One copy has to  be submitted to the DOSA office along with the caution money refund form. (http://oa.cc.iitk.ac.in/Oa/Jsp/Main_Frameset.jsp)
    3. One copy has to be submitted to Alumni office at Outreach 206. They will create Alumni card and hand over the souvenirs to you if you have applied for Permanent membership (it costs 2000 INR). Also take soft copy of your photo to create your online alumni profile before going to alumni office.

Done!

Perks of language

The day before yesterday, I was returning from Delhi to Kanpur after my failed IES attempt. The scheduled departure of the train was at 11.50 pm, and I guess I arrived railway station at 9.00 pm, so I had around 3 hours to spend. I had a 3-AC ticket, so I directly went to upper class waiting room. Soon I got indulged in listening to music and chatting. An hour passed by and I felt a bit hungry but I resisted to walk down to the canteen as I was tired and feeling a bit lazy. One more hour passed by, but now it was really getting unbearable, so I went out looking for the railway canteen. As it was getting late, most of the shops were about to close and they were turning off lights. Meanwhile I found one particular Chinese restaurant which was still serving. I went up to that shop and I ordered noodles along with a chicken gravy. While the cook was preparing the same, I was looking shops nearby for water but I was unsuccessful. Not a single shop had mineral water at that time. The canteen manager was watching me while I was roaming in the search of water. I returned back to take my food but I was bit disappointed. While paying the money I said, “Kya bhaiya!, humko to paani hi nhi mila kahin pe” in the lower tone. On this, he consolidated that it has already been quite late for the shops to be open. In the initial conversation also I was using a mixture of UP and Bihari language. On that note, I took the parcel, paid the amount and went to cafeteria in front of that shop to dine. After few bites I took, the manager came to me with a bottle of water and handed it to me. I was overwhelmed by his gesture and thanked him. He went on further to ask me where I came from. I said, “hum to patna bihar se hain, aur abhi kanpur me padhai kar rhe hain”. I could see a bit of assurance in his eyes and he replied back that he is manager of that shop, pointing towards his ID card, and he is not supposed to do such work but he did it purposefully for me. I was a bit taken aback and didn’t know how to respond. I thanked him and said, “bahut dhanyawaad bhaiya”. Then he left and I continued with the meal.

It was heart warming and I believe that it all happened due to the way I talked to him. I was happy and I had peaceful journey back to Kanpur.

Internship Hunt

Among engineering college students there is always a fuss about third year internships. Everyone wants to get a lucrative offer and good place to work during summer. I also had high expectations in fifth semester during my third year. In IITK, the internship process starts in early August when the companies come and take various rounds like GDs, written tests, interviews, essays, etc to shortlist the students. Initially [till Sept. 2013] I couldn’t make it to any of the reputed companies like DB, ITC, etc. After which, I decided I would go for academic internships.

I already did a research project during summer 2013 in IITK under a EE professor, which helped to prepare my application and molded my interest. There had been a lot of sessions by our seniors about how to apply for university internships. Here, I would explain the options that are available to avail university internships.

  1. Internship program – One can check for university website for International scholars program and apply in it. Most of the good universities have internship programs for foreign students. One can google something like “CMU summer internship”, “IITK summer program”, etc. (Keywords: “college name”,”summer”,”internship”, “fellowship”, “research”) So you can prepare your application according to instructions on the website and wait for the results. The general requirement is good GPA, previous project and research experience, good recommendation and personal essay. Each program has their own criteria of selection, so go through every aspect to make your application strong.
  2. Contacting Professors personally – One can directly contact professor of your interest and ask if there is any position for internship student. This is very cumbersome task. As per my understanding one needs to follow these instructions to increase her/his probability of selection.
    1. Write down all of your previous projects, research experience and interest, that you have done in undergrad. This should be extensive.
    2. Filter down your interest to few topics in which you would like to pursue research.
    3. Make a good academic resume.
    4. Look for professors across the world who are working in your field on interest. Suppose you want to on image processing, then google something like “image processing XYZ university computer science department”. Other way is to read recent research papers on that topic and contacting the authors. So after few iterations, it will give the list professors who are working in that specific area. Scroll through the profile/webpage of each professor and spend at least 30 minutes/1 hour to understand what he/she is currently working on. This can be done through reading his/her recent paper, looking onto the webpage thoroughly, may be talking to current graduate students, etc. This will give you the insight of the group. Once you investigate few papers, that will definitely create curiosity (or a new idea itself!) in your mind.
    5. After this background research, you can email the professor (prefer to email from your college email ID not gmail, yahoo, etc).
    6. There is no fixed email format but please do follow all the etiquette and be precise in your words. In my case I used to first introduce myself and my purpose of sending the email. From the background study that you have done before, try to explain your interest and how did you develop it. Why are you emailing that particular professor only (here you can cite his papers and elaborate upon the results which fascinated you and which topic would you like to explore more) and talk about the current research. Then you can write about your previous experience and it would be wonderful if you have your own idea for the project. If that is the case then, attach total description of the proposal in a separate PDF file. This increases your chances manifolds. Also attach a copy of your resume. 
    7. As professors might be busy, so you should wait at least a week for the reply. If you still don’t get the response, you might want to send a gentle reminder. If there is still no response then you can assume the professor is not interested and don’t send any further emails. Many times it happens that a professor is willing to take you as intern but there is no funding to support you, then you have to arrange funding on your own (you can mention it in your email if you are self sufficent).
    8. Please don’t spam the inbox of professors, as it deteriorates the college’s reputation and it is timewaste for both. Write to each professors personally and spend time on your email. This might be time taking, but fruitful. Most of the professor would reply if you have written the email genuinely.
  3. Contacting companies: You can directly contact the companies where you would like to intern and follow the HR instruction afterwards. This process might be time taking due to delayed response of the company but it could be escalated if someone from inside the company could refer you. Don’t contact the the companies who are already being invited by your placement team.

I got offer through amalgam of first and second mode to HKUST [program link].

Other useful resources:

[1] – Quora link for Internships

[2] – Quora link for cover letters

Duke – IIT Kanpur Internship

A lot of juniors have asked me about the internship process for Duke University. So here I would explain my case and experience.

In the early January [1st January] an email was sent to all EEUG [electrical engineering undergraduate] students to apply for the internship program at Duke. We had to send two documents to a mentioned an email address provided in the email itself. The list of professors was also given who were interested in taking the students along with description of their project. It required two documents.

  1. CV
  2. Personal statement

So I wrote resume which was inclined towards academics including course project and internships. For the personal statement, only one professor was working the my area of interest/work so I wrote the essay focusing on his area of work. In the statement I wrote about my previous work related to his project in detail along with my future plans.

After a month [20 February], I received a direct internship offer letter from Duke internship coordinator. She asked me to confirm the offer along with some other formalities for acceptance. In a week they started the visa process. Subsequently  I received another email where they created my account in Duke visa services where I had to fill in all my personal details. It is a very long and multi-page form so fill it patiently and accurately because they would be using these details to prepare visa documents [ds2019] for you.

After extracting all the details from me, I guess the university applied for my J1 visa status. It took about one month to get my visa document prepared i.e. ds2019. They sent ds2019 to me via post and I received it by March end. I also received email about insurance policy. Duke had a tie up with Garnett Powers and Associate for Intern students. It gave us option to either take their policy (costing $724 for three months) or find any policy which fulfills their insurance criteria (a criterion list was given). After inquiring here and there, I couldn’t find any policy which met their terms so I went for the GPA insurance plan and paid $724.

After ds2019 in hand, I applied for US visa in Delhi office. During my time we had to pay a visa fee, sevis fee and schedule an appointment for the same. The visa appointment is a two consecutive day process.

After scheduling the interview, the website would create a list of documents and procedure. In the interview you one just have to take the documents they have asked for in document. It clearly mentions all the steps one needs to follow to get the visa. My interview was scheduled on 14th and 15th April. On day 1, they verified my documents and took essentials things like photographs, thumbprints, etc. On the day 2, there is one to one interaction with an american visa officer. The visa officer asks for purpose of your visit [IMP], who is sponsoring your visit [IMP], where you would live [IMP], details of project, etc . He is practically in-command of issuing visa to you, so treat this personal interaction seriously. Like in my case, the research project was on transistor fabrication so it didn’t matter much and interview was friendly but I have heard cases when a project is based on some security issues like atomic energy, any other sensitive topics which raises eyebrows and they tend to investigate more about it. So try to explain your case truthfully & clearly and make it sound like a academic project (which is indeed your purpose). If the visa officer finds anything suspicious then he may put your visa on hold and ask for more document from you to clarify your project/things which the officer finds suspicious. After visa being issued, one can collect it from the office. I got my visa issued after two days itself i.e. on 17 April 2015

After a week [21 April], we got an email from Duke internship coordinator asking about my flight preferences which I confirmed instantly. So my flight tickets were ready by 27th April. Now I just had to wait for departure on 24th May.

These are the few things that I would suggest you to keep ready before you travel.

  1. Ready to eat packed foods [MTR, haldiram, etc]- Take about at least 20-30 packets of these as it is cheaper here.
  2. Daily use things like soap, shampoo, medicines, etc.
  3. A foreign travel card, $500 cash, etc.

There is generally a lot of email exchange before day of journey, where they would make you aware of all the planning like details of your stay, campus map, etc. I had flight from Delhi to Newark and then Newark  to Raleigh-Durham Airport. The coordinator had already booked a cab to receive us at RDU airport and take us to our campus apartments.

The housing [at central campus apartment CCX] was provided by the university itself. It was more like two bedroom flat as per Indian standards and it was well furnished. They also provided a whole set of utensils and dining dishes. So if one knows how to cook, they he/she can buy raw materials to cook food everyday. The CCX is well located with all the facilities nearby like washing machines, bus stop, grocery shop, etc.

 

US tax refund – Part 1

Disclaimer: It is completely based on my personal experience. It should be just taken as an observation, NOT as directive.

I was selected for summer internship 2015 Duke University, and I was expected to get $4200 as stipend from the university.  After my internship, I got to know that I had to pay taxes as well, due to which I got reduced stipend of $3370. Since I was unaware of the taxation system, so I asked the HR administrator if there was any way to get the paid taxes back. She directed me to get my SSN ready and leave a copy of that to her. She told that they would manage the rest of the case and will contact me back in March.

[fast forward to March 2016]

I got an email from HR  administrator about 1042-S form, which would enable me to claim for tax return. She also couriered me 1042-S documents and now I had to proceed on my own to claim my refunds.

As far I could understand the tax were cut from two authorities:

  1. Federal govt. ($588)
  2. North Carolina state govt. ($242)

From the various sources I got to know that I could either do all the tax refund process on my own or I could opt for numerous tax services which help the non-resident people (like me) to prepare tax documents and we just have fill out details and do rest of formalities.

So going the easier way, I opted for Sprintax services. They charge you for filing tax to federal and state tax individually. I was fortunate to get free access code for federal tax from Duke International office which waived about $36, so I just had to pay $24 for state tax.

After the payment, Sprintax prepares set of document for you instantly [federal tax] and state tax document preparation takes about 2-3 days. Right now I am expected to fill out those documents and send it to US tax revenue department, after which they will refund my money. I will update about rest of the process later.

[UPDATE, August 8 2016]

I kept checking my refund status once in week from this website. The status was pending till now, but when I checked today, they have approved the refund and it says they would dispatch my refund by August 12 and I should receive it by September 9.

Untitled

[UPDATE, August 13 2016]

I also checked state tax today and it says “Your refund check has been written. Please allow additional time for delivery.”. You can check state tax from this website.

Also the federal tax refund has been mailed to me and the website says “Your refund was mailed on August 12, 2016. If you do not receive your refund, please wait until September 9, 2016 to contact us as we are unable to take any further action until then.”.

So I hope to receive money soon.

[UPDATE, September 21 2016]

Finally I have received my check on this day. It was supposed to be delivered before September 9th 2016 (as it said on the IRS website) but it might have got delayed due to postal services. The check is issued from “United States Treasury” on my name and address which is valid for one year.

Just incase one doesn’t receive the refund for long period of time then the person can fill a form 3911 available on IRS website to track the status of the cheque.

  • The helpline number of the IRS is very supportive and it might take a lot of waiting time ranging from (0.5-1 hrs) but they would certainly clear your doubts.
  • One can call US for free via google hangout dialer.