The University Grants Commission (UGC) has notified new regulations on PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) degrees. The new regulation has introduced a set of sweeping changes in eligibility criteria, admission procedure and evaluation methods governing doctoral programmes in college and universities.

 

Details

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) announced new regulations on PhD degrees called “University Grants Commission (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations, 2022“.
  • These rules will replace the rules notified in 2016.

 

Status of PhD admission in India

  • Over the years, annual enrolment figures in PhD have risen, but it still accounts for a very small share of the higher education pie.
  • Between 2015-16 and 2019-20, the enrolment at PhD level increased from 1,26,451 to 2,02,550 (0.5 per cent of the total enrolment in higher education), according to the latest available All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report 2019-20.
  • Also, most PhDs in India are in the field of engineering and technology, followed by natural sciences.

 

Highlights

  • Eligibility criteria for admissions —
    • Anyone with a four-year/eight-semester Bachelor’s programme degree with a minimum 75 per cent marks in aggregate or its equivalent grade will be eligible for a PhD.
      • So far, a Master’s degree with at least 55 per cent marks in aggregate was mandatory for doctoral aspirants.
      • Many universities also insisted on using M.Phil as the gateway.
    • Those joining PhD programmes after a four-year UG programme can do so after a one-year Master’s degree.
    • Graduates with conventional three-year UG degrees need to have completed two-year Master’s degrees.
  • M. Phil programme to be discontinued — The new Rules discontinue the M.Phil programme altogether. However, that will have no bearing on those holding or pursuing M.Phil degrees currently.
  • Mandatory requirement of publishing research papers has been scrapped —
    • The mandatory requirement of publishing research papers in refereed (Peer-reviewed) journals or presenting in conferences has been scrapped.
    • Part-time PhDs have been launched for working professionals.
      • The eligibility conditions are the same for both full-time and part-time candidates.
      • Their PhD work will be assessed in the same way as is done for the full-time PhD students.
      • However, in addition to meeting the regular criteria, the part-time PhD candidates will also have to produce a No-Objection Certificate or NOC from their employer.
  • Relaxation for EWS candidate — Apart from reserved category applicants, those falling under the EWS bracket will also be granted five per cent relaxations.
  • No major changes in the procedure for admissions —
    • As was the norm so far, universities and colleges will be free to admit students through the NET/JRF qualification route as well as entrance exams at the level of the institutions.
    • The proposed common entrance test for PhDs has been left out of the new Regulations.
  • Functioning of research supervisors —
    • Eligible professors, associate professors, and assistant professors can continue to guide up to eight, six, and four PhD candidates respectively at any given time, as earlier.
    • However, earlier, professors, associate professors, and assistant professors could also guide three, two, and one M.Phil scholars respectively over and above their PhD candidates.
    • Now they cannot do so as the MPhil programme has been scrapped under the new regulation.
    • The new Rules also bar faculty members with less than three years of service left before superannuation from taking new research scholars under their supervision.
  • Quality of doctoral education and research —
    • It has introduced a new requirement for PhD scholars, irrespective of discipline, to train in teaching/education/pedagogy/writing related to their chosen subject during their doctoral period.
    • They may also be assigned four to six hours per week of teaching/ research assistantship for conducting tutorial or laboratory work and evaluations.
    • Earlier, to ensure the quality of their output, research scholars had to appear before a Research Advisory Committee once in six months and present the progress of their work for evaluation and further guidance.
    • They will now have to do this every semester.