Decoding key features of UGC-NET Vs CSIR-NET Vs State Eligibility Test (SET)

Mumbai: National Eligibility Test is basically a screening test for determining the eligibility of the Indian National candidates for the award of Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) NET and for determining eligibility for appointment of Lecturers (NET). Hence, for aspirants who have career plan for joining as a faculty member in higher educational institutes or pursue career in research with government sponsored-fellowships qualifying NET is mandatory.

In India, broadly there are three types on NET: University Grants Commission (UGC)-NET, Joint CSIR-UGC NET and State Eligibility Test (SET). The UGC-NET, which is also being held twice a year, is conducted in 84 subjects, especially social sciences, Humanities & Arts Group subjects, commerce & management subjects. CSIR UGC – NET, which is also being held twice a year, is conducted in five core science subjects.  State governments also conduct the State Eligibility Test (SET) for Assistant Professor, provided, the SET is duly accredited by the UGC.


UGC-NET key features:  The next UGC-NET will be held on 05 November 2017. On behalf of the UGC, the Central Board of Secondary Education conducts the National Eligibility Test (NET) for the Eligibility for Assistant Professor only or Junior Research Fellowship & Eligibility for Assistant Professor both in Indian universities and colleges. CBSE will conduct NET November 2017 exam in 84 subjects at 91 selected NET Examination Cities spread across the country.  The test is conducted especially in social sciences, Humanities & Arts Group subjects, commerce & management subjects.

The previous UGC-NET was held in January 2017. Usually, the test is conducted twice a year: January & July. This year July test is being delayed and scheduled to be held in November 2017. Each year, more than six-seven lakh candidates apply to appear the test.  The validity of the NET score is two years. The historical pass rate for UGC-NET for Assistance Professor is 5-6% while for JRF is 1-1.5%.

Joint CSIR-UGC NET : CSIR UGC – NET is another popular competitive test in India. CSIR-UGC NET exams are conducted on the following five subjects: Chemical Sciences; Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean and Planetary Sciences; Life Sciences; Mathematical Sciences; and Physical Sciences.  The exam pattern is different from the UGC-NET exam as there is negative mark system for wrong answers at CSIR UGC – NET exam. This test is conducted by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) on behalf of the UGC.

The candidates who wish to join as a lecture in any university and colleges in the above five science subjects need to clear CSIR-UGC NET exam.  In June 2014 and December 2014 CSIR–UGC NET, 1,200 and 781 candidates qualified for the UGC-JRF and 2,793 and 2,097 candidates qualified for lectureship only. The next CSIR NET exam will be held on 17 December 2017 in 27 cities across India.

State Eligibility Test (SET): The UGC has authorised the State Governments or the State Agencies on behalf of the State Governments to conduct the State Eligibility Test(SET) for Assistant Professor, provided, the SET is duly accredited by the UGC. Recently, Gujarat and Telangana states have conducted their SET. Here, eligible candidates from all India can apply the test.  Unlike the NET/UGC-CSIR test the candidates who qualifies the SET is only eligible for being selected as Assistant Professor and not for the award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). As per UGC guidelines, after June 2002, SET qualified candidates shall be eligible to apply for the post of Assistant Professor only in the Universities/Colleges belonging to the same state whose SET Examination they have cleared.

In SET the subjects range from social sciences to humanities, science to management subjects, etc.  Currently, the application window for Uttarakhand State Eligibility Test (U-SET) is open while the online submission of application and fee payment is 22 September for the test.

For lectureship, there is no maximum age bar for appearing any NET, be it UGC, CSIR or SET.

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