UGC-NET or Ph.D., Which one is Required 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 has 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. Till now, the minimum eligibility criteria was UGC-NET.

As per the UGC latest 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.

As per latest UGC guidelines Ph.D will be the minimum eligibility criteria for the direct recruitment to post of assistant professor in any university. Earlier the eligibility criteria in was UGC NET, but from 1st July 2021 it has been revised to PhD. however, for colleges UGC NET will continue to be the minimum criteria for the of assistant professor, Although for the promotion from assistant professor to associate professor, PhD will be must in both colleges and universities.

What options you have at this stage?

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 in a college. 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. 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, even now, in colleges as Ph.D. is mandatory in colleges.

So, if opportunity strikes before completion of their PhD, in that case, the candidate who qualifies UGC NET will be eligible for the job in colleges. We strongly recommend to first qualify UGC NET so that your eligibility for job in college is fulfilled. After that you can start your Ph.D.

After 5 years, when both will complete their PhDs, both will be eligible for assistant professor job both in colleges and universities.

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 in colleges only (not in universities).
  2. You have done PhD only but have not qualified UGC NET: Here you are eligible for both colleges and universities.
  3. You have done PhD and also qualified UGC-NET: In this case also you are eligible for both colleges and universities.

Which is better UGC or Ph.D.

University Grant commission has made PhD mandatory for direct recruitment in universities from 1ST July 2021. Earlier UGC NET was the minimum criteria for that. Any candidate with PhD will be given preference over UGC NET, as the new eligibility criteria for university has become Ph.D. 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, definitely have advantage over UGC NET.

Is Ph.D. necessary after clearing UGC NET

Yes, PhD is necessary to become assistant professor in universities, even if you have qualified UGC NET. but if you are considering assistant professor job in colleges 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 in below the prescribed limit.

Is PhD necessary to become Assistant professor in India?

Yes, from 1st July 2021, Ph.D. has become mandatory for direct recruitment of assistant professors in university. But for colleges, UGC NET is still the minimum eligibility criteria for assistant professorship.

Can I be 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.  For the job of assistant professor in any Indian university you must have completed your Ph.D. 

In nutshell, as per the new policy, PhD has become mandatory for the direct recruitment for the post of assistant professor in Indian universities. Any candidate who has been awarded a PhD degree as per the regulations of UGC, will be exempted from eligibility condition of qualifying UGC-NET/SET.