UGC mandates NET scores for PhD Admission starting from the 2024-25 academic session

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced a significant change in the PhD admissions process, eliminating the need for multiple entrance exams and making National Eligibility Test (NET) scores mandatory starting from the 2024-25 academic session. This decision, made following recommendations from an expert committee during the 578th meeting on March 13, aims to simplify the process and alleviate the burden on students.

The NET exam is conducted biannually in June and December, serves the dual purpose of awarding Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) and selecting Assistant Professors among master’s degree holders.

Under the new directive, from June 2024 onwards, UGC NET qualified candidates will now be eligible for PhD admissions in three categories:

  1. Admission to PhD with JRF and appointment as assistant Professor.
  2. Admission to PhD without JRF and appointment as assistant professor.
  3. Admission to PhD programme only and not for the award of JRF or appointment as assistant professor.

According to UGC chairman Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, “From the academic session 2024-2025, all universities can use NET scores for admission to PhD programmes, replacing the need for separate entrance tests conducted by individual universities or Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs)”.

The National Testing Agency (NTA) is expected to launch the NET application process for the June 2024 session soon on its official website. The NET result will be announced in percentile along with the marks obtained by each candidate, facilitating their use for PhD admission.

According to the UGC official release, candidates who qualify for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) undergo an interview for admission into PhD programs. For students falling under Categories 2 and 3, PhD admissions 70 per cent weightage will be given for test scores and 30 per cent weightage for the interview. Admission to PhD programs will be determined by the combined merit of NET marks and interview/viva voce performance. The validity of NET marks obtained by candidates in Categories 2 and 3 for PhD admissions will be one year.