UGC’s New PhD Regulations to Bar Universities from Separate Admissions

New Delhi, 22 March 2022 – The University Grants Commission (UGC) has come up with new regulations that will stop all universities from admitting PhD students on their own. As per the proposed regulations, universities will now have to provide PhD admissions on the basis of two central entrance tests that are fixed by UGC and individual tests – with separate eligibility criteria – will not be carried out for admissions into doctoral programmes. This move is expected to strip individual universities from the right to decide the specific requirements a student should meet to gain admission into their PhD courses. 

As per UGC’s new draft regulations, a single PhD entrance test will be conducted for all universities (and colleges), which will be used to fill 40 per cent of the university’s PhD seats in every subject. The remaining 60 per cent of seats will be filled on the basis of a student’s marks in the UGC-conducted National Eligibility Test (NET), which is mainly held to select eligible candidates for assistant professorship.

The Draft UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations, 2022, which will replace the earlier regulations of 2016, state that, “Sixty per cent of the total vacant seat(s) of the academic year shall be filled from NET/JRF-qualified students and the remaining forty per cent through the university/common entrance test-qualified students on the basis of interviews conducted by the concerned institute.” 

Changes Proposed in the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations, 2022

PhD Duration

  • The new proposed regulations have fixed a PhD’s minimum duration at two years – excluding course work – and set the maximum duration at six years 
  • Students can complete their course work in one or two semesters. 
  • Those with an MPhil degree – who have already done the course work – will be exempt from repeating it during the PhD course.
  • This means, students can now complete a PhD programme within two-and-a-half years if they have completed the course work in a single semester. If they have an MPhil, they can complete the programme in two years.

Note: Under the 2016 regulations, PhD programmes had a minimum duration of three years – including course work – and a maximum duration of six years.

PhD Eligibility

  • Students with bachelor degrees who have completed a four-year undergraduate course with a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 7.5 out of 10 will be eligible for PhD admission. 
  • Earlier, only MPhil and master’s-degree holders were eligible for PhD programmes.

PhD Cut-off

  • The draft regulations have raised the cut-offs to 55 per cent (for general category) and 50 per cent (for reserved categories). 
  • Under the 2016 regulations, general category candidates needed to have scored 50 per cent in their master’s to be eligible for PhD admission, while SC, ST, and OBC students required 45 per cent.
  • The proposed regulations have also extended a five per cent relaxation to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category students, bringing them into the same category as Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and the Other Backward Classes (OBC) students.
  • In case of bachelor’s-degree holders, the regulations have relaxed the CGPA requirement from 7.5 to 7 for the reserved categories, which will be including the EWS category as well.

Note: These regulations are not yet applicable to PhD admissions. At this point, the UGC has only proposed the new regulations. A decision on their implementation is yet to be taken.

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