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You can start a PhD after undergrad, or even do it part-time, say new rules on doctorate study

UGC rules notified Monday are applicable with immediate effect; notification also says any PhD registered after 1 July, 2009 shall be governed by regulations of 2009 or 2016.

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New Delhi: Students who have completed a four-year undergraduate course will be eligible for direct admission to a doctorate programme, the University Grants Commission (UGC) said in its revised PhD regulations notified earlier this week.

The new PhD regulations — “University Grants Commission (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations, 2022” – says a candidate should have a minimum of 75 percent marks in “aggregate or its equivalent grade on a point scale wherever the grading system is followed”.

In case the candidate does not have 75 percent marks in a four-year undergraduate program, she has to pursue a one-year master’s programme and score at least 55 percent.

The new admission rules further say, “A 1-year master’s degree programme after a 4-year bachelor’s degree programme or a 2-year master’s degree programme after a 3-year bachelor’s degree programme or qualifications declared equivalent to the master’s degree by the corresponding statutory regulatory body, with at least 55% marks in aggregate or its equivalent grade in a point scale wherever grading system is followed.”

No more publishing in peer-reviewed journals 

The UGC has removed the clause, “publishing paper in a peer-reviewed journal”, as mandatory for a PhD.

PhD regulations of 2016 had said that PhD scholars “must publish at least one (1) research paper in a refereed journal and make two paper presentations in conferences/seminars before the submission of the dissertation/thesis for adjudication”.

Talking about this, UGC chairperson Professor M. Jagadesh Kumar said, “Publication of research papers in peer-reviewed journals may not be mandatory anymore, but it does not mean PhD scholars should stop doing that altogether.”

He added: “Focussing on high-quality research will lead to publications in good journals, even if it is not mandatory. It will add value when they apply for employment or post-doctoral opportunities.”

Part-time PhD allowed with clause 

For a PhD, individual institutions can also hold their own entrance tests to admit students, the new rules state. The candidate then need not write the National Eligibility Test (NET) or similar exams. The “entrance test shall consist of 50 percent research methodology and 50 percent subject specific,” the rules say.

The commission was planning on reserving 40 percent seats for students who qualified through NET, but that clause did not make it in the final notification as there was no consensus.

Apart from this, the commission has also allowed candidates to pursue a PhD through part-time mode, “provided all conditions are fulfilled”.

As per the rules, the institute will require a “No Objection Certificate (NOC)” from the appropriate authority in the organisation where the candidate is employed.

The NOC should clearly mention that she is permitted to pursue studies on a part-time basis. “His/her official duties permit him/her to devote sufficient time for research; if required, he/she will be relieved from the duty to complete the course work,” the new rules say.

The regulations are applicable with immediate effect from the date of notification. Any PhD registered after 1 July, 2009 shall be governed by the regulations of 2009 or 2016, the notification further adds.

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