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NET/SET Mandatory For Admission in PhD

Last Updated - January 12, 2018

New University Grants Commission regulations make it impossible to pursue PhD for students who fail to qualify National Eligibility Test (NET), State Eligibility Test (SET) or State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) in most of the universities. According to the new draft regulations by UGC NET, institutions which come under –

“Category III”, can enroll only those candidates who have qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) or SLET or States Eligibility Test (SET) examinations for their PhD courses

What do the New Regulations Mandate?

  • Category 1 Institution: According to UGC, a university comes under ‘Category 1 Institution’ if it is accredited with a score of 3.5 or above or if it has achieved a ranking among the top 50 universities of the NIRF ranking for two years continuously.
  • Category 2 Institution: According to UGC, a university comes under ‘Category 2 Institution’ if if it is accredited with a score between 3.01 and 3.49 by NAAC or if it has achieved a ranking from 51 to 100 in the NIRF ranking in the category of universities for two years continuously.
  • Category 3 Institution: According to UGC, a university comes under ‘Category 3 Institution’ which does not fit under the above-mentioned category 1 and category 2 institutions.

NET is an examination to determine UGC NET Eligibility for college and university level lectureship and for award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) while SET is a state-level test accredited by UGC for eligibility of assistant professors. The UGC has sought feedback from all stakeholders to the proposed regulations by end of this month. Linking autonomy with ranking, norms on hiring foreign faculty and opening new campuses are among the key regulations highlighted in the draft.

Introduction of New UGC NET Guidelines

Earlier, candidates who have completed masters’ degree or M. Phil in the relevant discipline can directly apply for admission to PhD programs or appear for entrance test conducted by the concerned university. In certain cases, candidates who have qualified NET/SLET were exempted from taking the examination and were directly admitted in the PhD program.

However, after the new mandate issued by UGC, candidates who have qualified NET/SET are only eligible to appear for the exam in institutions classified in category III as per UGC guidelines. Check UGC NET Qualifying Marks


Both NET and SLET are entrance tests meant to obtain for Assistant Professor and Junior Research Fellowship. NET is conducted separately by CBSE and CSIR (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research) for different academic disciplines.

  • UGC NET is conducted by CBSE and is a qualifying exam for the posts of Assistant Professor or Junior Research Fellowship or both.
  • UGC NET also serves as eligibility criteria for admission to PhD degree program as many universities exempt NET qualified candidates from appearing in written test and call such candidates directly for the interview.
  • The test is conducted twice in a year specifically in the months of June and December.
  • The concept of SET, i.e., State Eligibility Test for Lectureship Eligibility was born when the state governments and union territories were, therefore, given the option of conducting their own test for eligibility for Lectureship at the state level.
  • It is conducted both in English and the vernacular.
  • This state level Test is based on the pattern of the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by UGC for Humanities, Social Science and UGC/CSIR for Science subjects.
  • Presently, SET is being conducted in the following states-
  1. Maharashtra & Goa
  2. Tamil Nadu
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. Andhra Pradesh
  5. Himachal Pradesh
  6. Jammu & Kashmir
  7. Rajasthan
  8. West Bengal
  9. NE-SLET (For North Eastern States and Sikkim)
  10. Karnataka

UGC NET 2018

The results of UGC NET November Exam 2017 have been released by the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE). All the candidates who appeared for the CBSE UGC NET November Exam 2017 can check their scores at

  • Subject-wise and category-wise merit list has been drawn for those candidates who meet the cut off scores.
  • Merit list was prepared using the aggregate scores of candidates in all the three papers.
  • Top 15% candidates was declared qualified for eligibility for Assistant Professor only.
  • Separate merit list for JRF was prepared from amongst 15% UGC NET qualifiers.

As per the latest news, UGC NET exam will be conducted only one time for the year 2018. Any official dates of UGC NET 2018 exam have not been released yet. Students must check our website regularly to stay updated with the latest news of UGC NET 2018. Click here to check UGC NET last year Question Papers



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