New Delhi: Degree of Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is amongst top honoured degrees both in India and the global higher education system. PhD is a research oriented programme and is considered to be a lucrative qualification for professional career. In recent times, major changes have been brought in the admission process of PhD by various universities. The most significant is the notification of the UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of MPhil/PhD Degrees) Regulations 2016, which has been notified in July 2016 by the University Grants Commission.
The new regulations on MPhil and PhD study are aimed at streamlining admission process, improving quality research education and fixing administration system. The UGC (Minimum Standards and Procedure for Award of MPhil/PhD Degrees) Regulations 2016 will not bring transparency in admission process but also improve quality of education at research levels. Here, SkillOutlook presents the ten points and features under the new regulations that are relevant to PhD aspirants.
1. Applicable institutions: The new regulations on MPhil/PhD shall be applicable to all Universities established or incorporated by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act, or a State Act , all affiliated colleges, and Institutions Deemed to be a University under Section 3 of UGC Act, 1956.
2. Eligibility criteria for PhD admission: Candidates for admission to the PhD programme shall have a Master’s degree or a degree declared equivalent to the Master’s degree by the corresponding statutory regulatory body of this University, with at least 55% marks in aggregate or its equivalent grade ‘B’ in the UGC 7-point scale (or an equivalent grade in a point scale wherever grading system is followed). Further, a relaxation of 5% of marks, from 55% to 50%, or an equivalent relaxation of grade, is allowed for those belonging to SC/ST/OBC (non-creamy layer)/Differently-Abled and other categories of candidates as per the decision of the Commission from time to time.
3. Duration of the programme: The regulations have mandated the duration of the PhD programmes by mentioning minimum and maximum duration for completion of the course. PhD programme shall be for a minimum duration of three years, including course work and a maximum of six years since admission (i.e. enrolment). In a bid to increase enrolment of female candidates into PhD programmes, the UGC has relaxed a little in this provision. The women candidates and Persons with Disability (more than 40% disability) are allowed a relaxation of two years for PhD in the maximum duration. In addition, the women candidates may be provided Maternity Leave/Child Care Leave once in the entire duration of PhD for up to 240 days.
4. Procedure for admission: All Universities and Institutions Deemed to be Universities now will have to admit PhD students through an Entrance Test conducted at the level of Individual University/Institution Deemed to be a University. The University/Institution Deemed to be a University may decide separate terms and conditions for PhD Entrance Test for those students who qualify UGC-NET (including JRF)/UGC-CSIR NET (including JRF)/SLET/GATE/teacher fellowship holder or have passed MPhil programme. The entire admission will have broadly two stage process: Entrance Test & Interview.
An Entrance Test shall be qualifying with qualifying marks as 50%. The syllabus of the Entrance Test shall consist of 50% of research methodology and 50% shall be subject specific. An interview/viva-voce test will be conducted by the higher education institute where the candidates will have to discuss their research interest/area through a presentation before a duly constituted Department Research Committee.
5. Maintaining PhD students data base annually: The University shall maintain the list of all the PhD registered students on its website on year-wise basis. The data base should include the name of the registered candidate, topic of his/her research, name of his/her supervisor/co-supervisor, date of enrolment/registration.
6. Course Work: The credit assigned to the M.Phil or Ph.D. course work shall be a minimum of 08 credits and a maximum of 16 credits. All candidates admitted to the M Phil and PhD programmes shall be required to complete the course work prescribed by the Department during the initial one or two semesters. However, candidates already holding M Phil degree and admitted to the PhD programme, or those who have already completed the course work in MPhil and have been permitted to proceed to the Ph.D. in integrated course, may be exempted by the Department from the PhD course work. All other candidates admitted to the PhD programme shall be required to complete the Ph.D. course work prescribed by the Department.
The PhD students should pursue the Course seriously as a MPhil/PhD scholar has to score a minimum of 55% of marks or its equivalent grade in the UGC 7-point scale (or an equivalent grade/CGPA in a point scale wherever grading system is followed) in the course work in order to be eligible to continue in the programme and submit the dissertation/thesis.
7. Number of PhD scholars per supervisor: As per the notified regulations, only a full-time regular teacher of the concerned university/college can perform as a supervisor. Hence, an external, visiting, adjunct or part-time teacher in a university cannot be the core supervisor of a research scholar. However, Co-Supervisor can be allowed in inter-disciplinary areas from other departments of the same institute or from other related institutions with the approval of the Research Advisory Committee.
A Research Supervisor/Co-supervisor who is a Professor, at any given point of time, cannot guide more than Eight (8) Ph.D. scholars. An Associate Professor as Research Supervisor can guide up to a maximum six (6) PhD scholars and an Assistant Professor as Research Supervisor can guide up to a maximum of four (4) PhD scholars.
8. Research Advisory Committee and its functions: There shall be a Research Advisory Committee, or an equivalent body for similar purpose as defined in the Statutes/Ordinances of the Institution concerned, for each Ph.D. scholar. The Research Supervisor of the scholar will be the Convener of this Committee. This Committee will have the following responsibilities: to review the research proposal and finalize the topic of research; to guide the research scholar to develop the study design and methodology of research and identify the course(s) that he/she may have to do; and to periodically review and assist in the progress of the research work of the research scholar.
Further, per the new regulations, a research scholar shall appear before the Research Advisory Committee once in six months to make a presentation of the progress of his/her work for evaluation and further guidance. The six monthly progress reports shall be submitted by the Research Advisory Committee to the Institution/College with a copy to the research scholar.
9. Evaluation and Assessment Methods for award of the PhD degree: The overall minimum credit requirement, including credit for the course work, for the award of MPhil degree shall not be less than 24 credits. Upon satisfactory completion of course work, the MPhil/PhD scholar shall be required to undertake research work.
As per the new UGC Regulations, the PhD thesis submitted by a research scholar shall be evaluated by his/her Research Supervisor and at least two external examiners, who are not in employment of the Institution/College, of whom one examiner may be from outside the country. The viva-voce examination, based among other things, on the critiques given in the evaluation report, shall be conducted by the Research Supervisor and at least one of the two external examiners, and shall be open to be attended by Members of the Research Advisory Committee, all faculty members of the Department, other research scholars and other interested experts/researchers.
Further, the Institutions shall develop appropriate methods so as to complete the entire process of evaluation of PhD thesis within a period of six months from the date of submission of the dissertation/thesis.
10. Treatment of PhD through Distance Mode/Part-time: The new regulations have made it clear that no institute can provide PhD pgrogrammes via distance education mode. Notwithstanding anything contained in these Regulations or any other Rule or Regulation, for the time being in force, no University; Institution, Deemed to be a University and College shall conduct M.Phil and Ph.D. Programmes through distance education mode. However, part-time PhD will be allowed provided all the conditions mentioned in the extant PhD Regulations are met.
For more details on the new norms of PhD programme, interested candidates should refer the exact notification uploaded on the UGC website: http://www.ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/4952604_UGC-(M.PHIL.-PH.D-DEGREES)-REGULATIONS,-2016.pdf