From this academic session, universities and higher educational institutions will be able to offer graduate, postgraduate and diploma programmes online, with the University Grants Commission (UGC) today approving regulations for such degrees. "In a landmark reform in the field of higher education, University Grants Commission has approved the UGC (Online Courses) Regulations. There was no such regulations earlier," Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted. "Today's decision will help top rated institutions to offer certificate, diploma & degree programmes in full-fledged online mode in only those disciplines in which it has already been offering the same or similar programmes or courses at graduation level in regular mode," he added. Under the UGC (Online Courses) Regulations, 2018, any higher education institution will be able to apply for permission to offer such online programmes if they have been in existence for at least five years and are accredited by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, with a minimum score of 3.26 on a four-point scale to maintain quality. The institutions can offer online programmes in those disciplines in which it is already offering the same or similar programmes in regular or open and distance learning. Institutions will be able to offer online degrees in all fields, except engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture and physiotherapy.