PhD: UGC revises eligibility, admission & evaluation norms

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A draft notification has been issued, revising the regulations for awarding Doctor of Philosophy, i.e., PhD, by institutions under the University Grants Commission (UGC). These would come into effect from the date of publication in the Union Gazette. This would modify the May 5, 2016, Regulation and its subsequent two amendments.

The proposals on the criteria for admission, eligibility, programme duration and evaluation are the following:

A) Proposed admission norms
Admission should be given via the National Eligibility Test (NET) of the UGC or similar recognised test.

Each year, the universities and colleges can determine the number of seats while taking into account the number of available research supervisors, basic facilities and the student-teacher ratio.

Relevant information such as the number of seats, subject-wise list, admission criteria and procedures should be published on the website in advance. If there is an entrance test, details of that should also be included. Details should also be published in two newspapers, including one in regional language.

The central/state reservation policy should be adhered to.

Sixty per cent seats to be filled from NET/JRF, while 40 per cent seats from the university/common entrance and the interview conducted by the institution. In case of vacant slots in one category, these can be filled from the other category.

Only those candidates with 50 per cent marks in the entrance exam should be considered. For SC/ST, OBC and differently-abled, 45 per cent.

Candidates in the NET/JRF categories should be ranked on the basis of their interview, and the others on their performance in the written test (70) and interview (30).

If retired professors get appointed as an emeritus professor at the same university, they can continue as supervisors till the age of 70.

B) Proposed eligibility norms
One-year/two-semester Master’s degree with 55 per cent marks in aggregate or equivalent grade, after a four-year under-graduate degree.
Two-year/ four-semester Master’s degree with 55 per cent marks or equivalent grade
Four-year/ eight-semester 'bachelor’s degree with research' with a grade point average of at least 7.5/10.

Applicants should have completed MPhil course work, with 55 per cent marks in aggregate or equivalent grade. Candidates pursuing MPhil but have not completed viva voce and final defence can be given admission to PhD on a provisional basis.

Candidates in the SC/ST, OBC and differently abled categories and the economically-weaker section need only 50 per cent marks. The minimum marks/grade should be considered without including the grace mark.

C) Norms on programme duration
The programme duration should be 2 to 6 years, excluding course work. If the duration is extended as per the special rule of a particular institution, it should not be more than 2 years.

For women and the differently abled, the duration can be extended up to 2 years. Women can also avail maternity/ childcare leave for 240 days. Women who have to relocate due to marriage or any other reason can be allowed to transfer the research study to a new centre, subject to conditions.

There is also a provision to take leave for a few weeks to take part in a student-exchange programme in the country or abroad that would help in preparing the thesis.

D) Evaluation method
An anti-plagiarism software report also needs to be submitted along with the draft dissertation or thesis on the satisfactory completion of the course work. It is recommended to present the research work in the journal or present it in the conference, with the permission of the institution. But not mandatory.

No university or college should conduct the PhD programme in the distance education mode or online mode. Those in service should also follow the above-mentioned provisions while pursuing PhD.

Even though there is no MPhil programme from 2022-23 academic year onwards, the already earned MPhil degree would remain valid. On the satisfactory completion of the programme, the PhD provisional certificate should be given to the research student.

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