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NET JRF – National Eligibility Test for Junior Research Fellowship

NET JRF (National Eligibility Test for Junior Research Fellowship) is one of the most popular schemes started by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Earlier conducted by the CBSE, NET JRF is now conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency) on behalf of UGC twice in a year, i.e., during the months of June and December/January. This exam determines the candidates’ eligibility for the award of Junior Research Fellowship. It encourages postgraduate students to undertake advanced studies and research work leading to M.Phil/PhD Degrees in Humanities and Social Sciences including Languages and Sciences.

Here in this article, we have covered the scope of NET JRF. The eligibility conditions required to get admitted into M.Phil/PhD programme, the rewards offered to students under JRF, the tenure of the fellowship, application procedure and more are described in the detail. Find below the overview of UGC NET JRF.

UGC-NET December 2020 Update: The UGC NET December 2020 exam dates have been announced. The examination will commence from 02nd May 2021 onwards. CLICK HERE.

Also, the applications for UGC-NET December 2020 cycle will start from 02nd February 2021 to 02nd March 2021.


Overview of NET JRF

S.No. Particulars Details
1. Tenure of JRF 2 years
2. Financial assistance The fellows receive a monthly fellowship amount of up to INR 28,000 along with contingency grant, HRA and escort/reader assistance.
3. Eligibility
  • To get admitted/registered in M.Phil/PhD, a candidate needs to qualify NET JRF. And, the eligibility conditions for appearing for NET JRF exam are as follows:
  • The applicants who have obtained master’s degree or equivalent with 55% marks are eligible for NET JRF. The candidates belonging to reserved categories are eligible for 5% relaxation in the marks.
  • The upper age limit is 30 years for the award of JRF (NET), which is relaxed up to 5 years for SC/ST/PWD/female candidates and 3 years for OBC category candidates.
4. Application procedure Online application through the official website of NTA (National Testing Agency)
5. Key dates* Application announced twice a year, during the month of June and December

* The key dates mentioned above are tentative and subject to change as per the discretion of exam conductor.

UGC NET – December 2020 – Key Dates

S.No. Particulars Important Dates*
1. Application start date 02nd February 2021
2. Application closing date 02nd March 2021
3. Last Date of fee submission 03rd March 2021
4. Correction in particulars of application form 05th March 2021 to 09th March 2021
5. Downloading of admit cards

To be announced later

6. Examination date 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 14th and 17th May 2021
Declaration of results on NTA website To be announced

*The dates mentioned above are tentative and may change on the discretion of the provider. 

NET JRF – Financial Assistance

The candidates who get admitted in the M.Phil./PhD degree courses after qualifying UGC NET become eligible to receive financial assistance under JRF scheme for 2 years. After the completion of two years as a Junior Research Fellow, the candidate’s research work is evaluated by experts. Upon satisfactory results, the fellow’s tenure is extended for a further period of 3 years under the increased emoluments of the Senior Research Fellow (SRF). Therefore, the total period of Fellowship, which includes JRF & SRF, is 5 years with no provision of further extension. Find below the complete details about the assistance provided to fellows under UGC NET JRF.

  • Fellows working as Junior Research Fellows (JRF) receive INR 12,000 per month for initial 2 years.
  • As Senior Research Fellows, the candidates receive INR 14,000 per month for the remaining 3 years.
  • The candidates pursuing M.Phil./PhD in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences receive a contingency grant of INR 10,000 per annum for initial two years and INR 20,500 per annum for remaining 3 years.
  • The candidates pursuing M.Phil./PhD in the field of Science get a contingency grant of INR 12,000 per annum for initial two years and INR 25,000 per annum for remaining tenure.
  • Departmental assistance of INR 3,000 per annum per student will be given to the host institution for providing infrastructure.
  • Additionally, the physically handicapped and blind candidates become eligible to receive escort/reader assistance grant of INR 2,000 per month.
  • The candidates also get Housing Rent Allowance (HRA) as per the categorisation of cities by the Government of India.

NET JRF – Eligibility Criteria

NET JRF score is used by the candidates to get admitted into M.Phil./PhD degree courses to undertake research activities. Only after getting registered in any recognised institute for M.Phil./PhD, the candidates receive financial assistance under JRF scheme. So, to be eligible for UGC NET JRF exam, the aspiring applicants need to fulfil certain eligibility conditions. Given below is the detailed account of eligibility criteria required to pursue JRF and SRF.

  • The applicants must have completed master’s degree or equivalent with at least 55% marks (without rounding off) in Humanities (including languages) and Social Science, Computer Science and Applications, Electronic Science, etc., from UGC-recognised universities/institutions.
  • The candidates belonging to reserved categories like SC, ST, OBC and PwD are eligible for 5% relaxation in marks (without rounding off).
  • The applicants who have appeared for the final exam of master’s degree or equivalent course are eligible for provisional admittance. These candidates are considered for the award of JRF only after passing the exam with a minimum of 55% (50% for reserved category students). The candidates must complete their master’s degree within two years from the date of UGC NET result with the required percentage of marks, failing which leads to the disqualification of the candidates.
  • The candidates belonging to the transgender category are eligible to draw the same relaxation as is available to SC/ST/OBC/PwD candidates.
  • Those PhD degree holders who passed their master’s degree by 19th September 1991 (irrespective of the date of declaration of result) get a relaxation of 5% in total marks.
  • The age of the applicants must not be more than 30 years. The applicants of reserved categories and women candidates get a relaxation of 5 years in age.
  • The candidates having research experience are also eligible for maximum 5 years of age relaxation, provided they must have spent a certain period of time on research in relevant subjects of postgraduation degree. The applicants with L.L.M. degree are given 3 years of exemption in age.

NET JRF – Application Procedure

The candidates who wish to receive financial assistance under UGC JRF scheme first need to appear in the UGC NET examination conducted twice a year and the candidates who qualify UGC NET become eligible for JRF allowance. Given below a detailed description about how to apply for UGC NET which is used for admission into M.Phil/PhD programme.

  • First, the applicants need to visit the official website of NTA and scroll down to go to ‘Quick links’ and click on ‘UGC NET’ which takes you to the link – https://ugcnet.nta.nic.in/webinfo/public/home.aspx.
  • Now, fill in the online application form of UGC NET with all the required information and note down the system generated application number for future reference.
  • Upload the scanned image (between 10 kb to 200 kb) and signature (between 4 kb – 30 kb) of the applicant in JPG/JPEG format.
  • Now, the candidate needs to pay the fee through SBI_MOPS and keep the proof of payment.
  • The candidates must take 4 printouts of the Confirmation Page after successful remittance of fee.

After qualifying this exam, candidates need to apply against the advertisement of universities, institutes or colleges for admission into M.Phil/PhD. Upon getting registered into these courses, candidates become eligible for NET JRF funding.

Note: The application fees payable by General/Unreserved category candidates is INR 1,000. For candidates belonging to Gen-EWS/OBC-NCL category, the fee payable is INR 500, and for candidates belonging to SC/ST/PwD category, it is INR 250. 


NET JRF – Exam Pattern

Now that you know all about awards detail, eligibility conditions and application process, you must be wondering about the exam pattern of UGC NET. Find below the detailed exam pattern of NET conducted by NTA.

  • The candidates appear for two papers – Paper 1 and Paper 2, conducted as Computer Based Test (CBT).
  • Paper 1 comprises of 50 questions and Paper 2 consists of 100 questions. So, in total, the candidates need to attempt 150 questions.
  • It is mandatory for the candidates to attempt all the questions of both the papers.
  • Objective type of questions is asked in both the papers, in which Paper 1 is of 100 marks and Paper 2 is of 200 marks.
  • Questions in Paper 1 are of general nature and they aim to evaluate the teaching/research aptitude of the candidate. These questions also assess the reasoning ability, comprehension, divergent thinking and general awareness of the applicant.
  • The questions of Paper 2 cover the subject selected by the candidate.

NET JRF – Terms and Conditions

There are certain terms and conditions that the applicants must keep in mind before/while/after filling the application form for UGC NET. Find below the list of terms and conditions that candidates must look after.

  • The applicants do not need to send any of their certificates/documents in support of their eligibility or printout of completed application form to NTA.
  • The applicants who have completed their postgraduate diploma/certificate from an Indian university/institution or any foreign university/institute must make sure that their diploma/certificate is equivalent to the master’s degree of recognised Indian universities from Association of Indian Universities (AIU), New Delhi.
  • The candidates must submit just one application form as more than one leads to cancellation of candidature.
  • The admit card for UGC NET needs to be downloaded from the official website of NTA.
  • To be eligible for JRF, the candidates need to score at least 40% aggregate marks in both the papers of UGC NET.
  • The validity of the JRF Letter of Award is only two years after the declaration of the result.


✔️ What is NET exam?

NET - National Eligibility Test is a national level test of the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to eligible candidates. Postgraduate students, who want to undertake research studies in the field of Humanities and Social Sciences can apply. The exam is conducted twice in a year by the National Testing Agency (NTA) i.e. in the month of June and December. The fellows selected through this exam are required to get admitted to an M.Phil/PhD programme at a UGC recognised University/Institution.

✔️ What is JRF?

The award of JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) is given to postgraduate students who are admitted to an M.Phil./PhD programme and after qualifying the UGC-NET/CSIR NET exam. The fellowship is tenable for 2 years in which the fellows receive a monthly stipend of up to INR 28,000 along with contingency grant, escort/reader assistance and HRA. Once the duration of JRF is completed, the fellows are promoted as Senior Research Fellows based on their performance and the fellowship gets extended for another three years.

✔️ How to apply for NET exam?

The students who fulfil the eligibility criteria to appear for the exam can apply for it within the stipulated time duration at the official website of NTA. Since the exam is conducted twice in a year, the applications are also invited twice. The students need to register on the NTA website and proceed with application procedure as specified.

✔️ Who is eligible for UGC NET exam?

To appear for the UGC NET exam, the candidates are required to have obtained a master's degree or equivalent with 55% marks. The upper age limit for this exam is 30 years (relaxable up to 5 years for SC/ST/PWD/Female candidates and 3 years for OBC candidates).

✔️ What is the age limit for NET exam?

The upper age limit to appear for NET exam is 30 years which is relaxable up to 5 years for SC/ST/PWD/Female candidates and 3 years for OBC candidates.

✔️ How many times the NET exam is conducted in a year?

The NET exam is conducted twice in a year, i.e., in the month of June and December.

Also, read the article ‘UGC Scholarship – All You Need to Know‘.

Shruti Pandey

Published by
Shruti Pandey

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