As we enter 2023, several changes in the academic policies are slated to come into effect. The admission process and criteria for higher education including college degrees, and PhD has been revised by the University Grants Commission (UGC). These changes and revisions, which were notified in 2022, will be fully implemented from this year onward. All higher educational institutes have been directed to enrol and award degrees as per the revised UGC guidelines. FE Education Online brings you a detailed understanding of how PhD admissions will change in 2023
What are the key changes that will be implemented this year?
The first major change that has been introduced is discontinuation of Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) as a mandatory criteria for admission into PhD programmes. This means students can directly apply for a doctorate degree after completing one-year masters and four-year- undergraduate (UG) programmes or two-year masters and three-year UG. UGC has also relaxed the compulsion of mandatory publication of research in peer reviewed journals before the submission of PhD thesis. The step has been taken to curb the practice of researchers paying to get their papers published in ‘predatory’ journals’. Predatory journals are those that publish articles for money. Furthermore, UGC has allowed part-time PhD- a practice which was discontinued under the 2009 and 2016 regulations. As per the new regulations, students or working professionals can pursue PhD on a part time basis provided they have no-objection certificate (NOC) from their employer which states that they will be given time for studies.
Other changes include the duration of PhD coursework; a minimum duration of two years and a maximum of six years. In case of women and persons with disabilities, a relaxation of two years will be given to complete the degree. Additionally, women candidates will be provided maternity leave and child care leave for up to 240 days. UGC has further changed its rule to fill seats. Now, a common/ university entrance test will be held to allot 40% seats while 60% will be reserved for applicants who have qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) or Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). Candidates who clear the entrance test will be evaluated on a 70:30 ratio wherein 70% weightage will be accorded to the entrance test scores and 30% to the performance in the interview or viva-voce. On the other hand, selection for NET/JRF qualified students will be based on interview/viva-voce. The merit list for both the categories will be released separately. It must be noted that faculty members with less than three years of service before superannuation shall not be allowed to supervise new research scholars, under the revised norms.
What was the previous process?
Previously, M.Phil dissertation for admission to PhD programmes was mandatory along with several other above mentioned criterias. However, under the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) UGC has set them aside and reworked the structure of undergraduate courses to remove additional years of study (in the face of M.Phil) and encourage students to pursue research.
What about students who have already cleared M.Phil?
Candidates who have already completed M.Phil will also be eligible to apply for PhD programmes. However, they should have at least 55% marks in aggregate or its equivalent grade in a foreign educational institute.
What is the new eligibility criteria for PhD admissions?
1- Candidates with a one-year (or two semester) master’s degree programme after a four-year (or 8-semester) bachelor’s degree programme with a minimum 75% marks or its equivalent grade will be eligible for a PhD.
2- Candidates with a two-year (or four-semester) master’s degree programme after a three-year bachelor’s degree programme with at least 55% marks or its equivalent grade will also be eligible.
3- In other words, first and second-year post-graduation students will be eligible depending on their selected UG programme.
4- Further, candidates who are pursuing or have completed MPhil will also remain eligible for admission to PhD programmes.
A relaxation of five percent marks has been provided to students who belong to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Castes communities. Five percent relaxation will also be given to differently-abled, and Economically Weaker Section (EWS) students.
What is the admission process for PhD enrolment?
Every university has its own enrolment process and timeline for admissions into PhD programmes. Students need to check the official website of the desired university and apply accordingly. Higher education institutes have been allowed to decide their own selection procedure for PhD admission of international students. However, it has to be in line with the guidelines/norms set by the regulatory bodies.