According to revised norms proposed by the University Grants Commission, holders of four-year undergraduate degrees with a minimum CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average) of 7.5 will be eligible for admission to PhD programmes.
In its recent draft of amendments to the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of Ph.D Degree) Regulations, 2016, the UGC also proposed that 60 percent of available seats in all higher education institutions be reserved for National Eligibility Test (NET)/ Junior Research Fellowship (NET-JRF) qualified candidates.
During the 556th commission meeting on March 10, the draft UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of Ph.D. Degree) Regulations, 2022, were approved. The changes are in line with the National Education Policy, 2020 (NEP 2020).
According to UGC officials familiar with the situation, the proposed regulations will be released for public comment on Thursday.
While the admissions procedure would remain same, the draft guidelines revised the eligibility criteria following the discontinuation of the MPhil degree under NEP 2020 and the introduction of four-year undergraduate programmes (FYUP), according to the document.
Universities and colleges will now be able to provide 4-year undergraduate degrees with several exit and entry options under the NEP 2020. Several universities, notably Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University, have already made the decision to implement similar programmes beginning this year. Students will receive honours with a research undergraduate degree after finishing a four-year degree programme.
Candidates with a four-year bachelor’s degree in research with a minimum 7.5 CGPA, as well as first and second-year postgraduate students (after completing a four-year programme), will be eligible for admission to PhD programmes under the new proposed rules.
“The four-year undergraduate programme is beneficial to students in several ways,” UGC chairperson Jagadesh Kumar confirmed the development. Those interested in research in their final year have the option of doing multidisciplinary research or focusing on a single discipline. Those who excel in the four-year undergraduate degree are entitled to apply for a PhD programme. This, I believe, will enhance our country’s research ecosystem.”
Candidates who have completed their M.Phil with at least a 55 percent aggregate will also be eligible. “The MPhil degree shall be de-specified from the Academic year 2022-23 onwards. MPhil degree awarded till the date of notification of these regulations shall remain valid,” the document stated.
The document also stated that NET/JRF qualified students would fill 60% of the total unfilled seats for the academic year. “The remaining 40% qualified students on the basis of interviews conducted by the concerned institute through the university/common entrance test,” it stated.
The minimum duration for completing a PhD has been reduced from three to two years under the new regulations, while the maximum duration has stayed fixed at six years. The UGC has also allowed research researchers to take time off to participate in research expeditions, research missions, and exchange programmes.
The proposed laws also grant the financially deprived groups a 5% waiver in eligibility standards (EWS). The document went on to underline the need of research topics that are “socially relevant, locally need-based, and nationally essential” in terms of delivering value to society.
Several amendments to the role and obligations of research supervisors and co-supervisors have been proposed, the most significant of which is that they will be able to supervise two overseas students on a supernumerary basis.
Furthermore, under the modified regulations, higher education institutions will be responsible for assessing the quality of PhD degrees, and they will be permitted to develop guidelines in this regard.