PhD Student Weighs In On NET Score Adoption For PhD Admissions

PhD Student Weighs In On NET Score Adoption For PhD Admissions

Starting from 2024-25, universities can use NET scores for PhD admissions, reducing the burden of multiple entrance tests. Learn more about the benefits and concerns from a student's perspective.

Krisha V BhattUpdated: Friday, March 29, 2024, 03:03 PM IST
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Starting from the academic year 2024-25, universities will have the option to use the National Eligibility Test (NET) scores for PhD programme admissions.

"From the academic session 2024-2025, all universities can use the NET score for admission to PhD programmes in place of entrance tests conducted by the different universities/HEIs. NTA is working on launching the NET application process for the June 2024 session sometime next week," UGC Chairman M Jagadesh Kumar made this announcement on X on Thursday, Mar 28.

NET exams are conducted twice a year in June and December. In line with the National Education Policy 2020, UGC formed a committee to review NET provisions. Following its suggestions, UGC decided in its 578th meeting on Mar 13, to use NET scores for PhD admissions from 2024-25.

Talking about the development, Kumar stated, "Firstly, it eliminates the need for students to prepare and appear for multiple entrance tests conducted by different universities, thereby reducing the burden of exam logistics and expenses. Additionally, the biannual administration of the NET provides students with increased opportunities to secure admission to their desired PhD programmes."

"By leveraging the NET, which is conducted biannually, universities can offer greater flexibility to students, allowing them to utilise their scores from either session to apply for PhD programmes across various institutions," he further added.

Earlier, NET scores were used for Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) and Assistant Professor eligibility. From June 2024, NET candidates will fall into three categories for PhD admission eligibility: with JRF and Assistant Professor, without JRF and Assistant Professor, or only PhD admission.

NET results will be released in percentile to facilitate PhD admissions. JRF-qualified candidates will go through interviews per UGC regulations.

NET scores for Categories 2 and 3 will be valid for one year for PhD admissions.

The UGC chairman urged the universities to adopt the NET exam scores for PhD. He said, "We strongly encourage all universities to adopt NET exam scores for PhD admissions starting from the 2024-25 academic session. This will undoubtedly contribute to fostering a more conducive environment for academic pursuit and scholarly advancement in our nation."

Neha Saptagiri, a physics PhD student at IIT-Delhi, analysed the development from a student's perspective, outlining both advantages and concerns. 

Saptagiri emphasised the necessity for all universities to embrace NET scores for the initiative to be beneficial. "If all colleges don’t accept the UGC NET score then the students will have to anyway take other entrance exams," she stated. Regarding the benefits, she further added, "This step will surely save time and money for the students." 

Saptagiri also underscored the need for UGC to establish guidelines to mitigate the mental stress caused by competitiveness in percentile rankings and high cutoffs. She suggested provisions to accommodate students of varying academic performances of the students. 

"The UGC will have to come up with a set of guidelines to ensure that the competitiveness in percentages and high cutoffs does not affect students mentally and provisions are made for students of all percentages," she told The Free Press Journal.

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