Is Ph.D. mandatory for Assistant Professorship?

Are you aspiring to be an assistant professor in college or in university then this article is for you. University grant commission had issued in their notification that from 1st July 2021 onwards Ph.D. would be the minimum eligibility criteria required for the direct recruitment for the post of assistant professorship in the Universities. But now, Ph.D is not mandatory as per latest UGC Update.

So for now, UGC-NET will remain minimum eligibility criteria for assistant professorship till further notice.

As per the Previous UGC update – ‘Ph.D. degree shall be a mandatory requirement for Direct Recruitment to the post of Assistant professors in university with the effect from 1st July, 2021. However, Master’s degree with NET or Ph.D. will continue to be the minimum eligibility requirement for Direct Recruitment to the post of Assistant Professors in colleges.

But as per latest UGC guidelines Ph.D will not be the minimum eligibility criteria for the direct recruitment to post of assistant professor in any university or college. Now, the eligibility criteria will remain to be UGC NET. Although for the promotion from assistant professor to associate professor, PhD will be must in both colleges and universities.

If Ph.D is made mandatory, What options do you have then?

If we assume that you have just completed your masters and you are confused weather you should do PhD or UGC NET.  In such case the most important point to mention here is that you should identify your goal. For instance, you can either go for research or in a job of assistant professorship. Here also, you have two options. First is a job of assistant professorship in a college and second is in a university. If you want to join in a college then you need to qualify UGC-NET as PhD is not required for assistant professor job now. But here too, PhD will be minimum eligibility for promotion from assistant professor to associate professor.

What you should do Ph.D. or UGC-NET?

Assume, there are two candidates, and both are planning for the job of assistant professorship. One of them passed PhD entrance test and started pursuing PhD and another one started preparation for UGC NET. After two attempts he cleared UGC NET with JRF and started his PhD with fellowship (JRF).

Over here, 1st candidate is not eligible for job either in college or in university at this stage. He will be eligible for the same after 4-5 years, once he completes his PhD (if Ph.D is made mandatory by then). Furthermore, he is not availing any scholarship while pursuing his PhD unless he is given any project fellowship by his guide (which is not so common).

So, during all this PhD duration of 5 years (that too without fellowship) he is trying to become eligible for assistant professor job in any Indian university.

The 2nd candidate who qualifies UGC NET/JRF, and currently pursuing PhD and receiving fellowship, is eligible for the assistant professor both in universities and colleges. But eventually Ph.D will be needed for further promotions.

So, here we recommend to first qualify UGC NET so that your eligibility for job as assistant professorship is fulfilled. After that you can start your Ph.D.

So over here, you can understand with following three situations:

  1. You are only UGC NET qualified but not PhD.: Here you are eligible for assistant professorship both in colleges and universities).
  2. You have done PhD only but have not qualified UGC NET: Here you are not eligible for assistant professorship (till further UGC notice).
  3. You have done PhD and also qualified UGC-NET: In this case also you are eligible for both colleges and universities. This is best combination.

Which is better UGC or Ph.D.

University Grant commission may eventually make PhD mandatory for direct recruitment in universities later (may be from 2023 -24). But now UGC NET is the minimum criteria for that. In future, any candidate with PhD (& UGC NET qualified) will be given preference over a candidate who is only UGC-NET qualified. So, you should consider Ph.D. in your to do list along with UGC NET. 

The students who are inclined towards research should qualify UGC NET with JRF so that hey can receive scholarship while pursing PhD. If we make comparison of these two, PhD alongwith UGC-NET, definitely have advantage over UGC NET only.

Is Ph.D. necessary after clearing UGC NET

PhD is not necessary to become assistant professor as per latest UGC notification but eventually, it may become mandatory for assistant professorship from 2023 or 2024, even if you have qualified UGC NET. So if you are considering an assistant professor job then UGC NET is still minimum eligibility criteria over there.

PhD is essential for the promotion from assistant professor to associate professor both in colleges and universities. 

Is it important to clear NET for Ph.D.?

No, it’s not necessary. If you want to do PhD without qualifying UGC NET then you need to clear Ph.D. entrance test held by the university from where you want to do Ph.D. If you want to avail scholarship while pursuing PhD then you should qualify UGC-NET/JRF, with which you can get junior research fellowship for 5 years. But for that your age should be below the prescribed limit.

Is PhD necessary to become Assistant professor in India?

No, as per latest UGC notification Ph.D. is not mandatory for direct recruitment of assistant professors in universities or colleges. UGC NET is still the minimum eligibility criteria for assistant professorship.

Can I become assistant professor without Ph.D.?

Yes, off course you can become assistant professor without PhD by qualifying UGC NET. After qualifying UGC NET, you will be eligible for the job of assistant professor in colleges and universities. 

In nutshell, as per the new notification, UGC-NET is still minimum eligibility requirement for the direct recruitment for the post of assistant professor in Indian universities and colleges.