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UGC rules turn strict on award of MPhil/PhD

By Vinod Nedumudy

Kochi, Aug 10: The University Grants Commission has effected some new regulations with regard to the procedure for the award of MPhil and PhD degrees, making the process more strict and uniform.

The notification published in the gazette says all universities, institutions, deemed to be universities and colleges/institutions of national importance shall be eligible for conducting MPhil and PhD  programmes. The UGC, however, has prohibited all bodies from conducting MPhil and PhD programmes through the distance education mode.

Enlisting the eligibility criteria for MPhil/PhD supervisor, the gazette notification says a supervisor shall not have, at any given point of time, more than Eight PhD scholars and five MPhil scholars.

As far as the procedure for admission is concerned, all institutions shall admit MPhil doctoral students through an entrance test conducted at the level of individual university or other institutions. The university may decide separate terms and conditions for those students who qualify UGC/CSIR (JRF) Examination/SLET/GATE or hold teacher fellowship or MPhil for the PhD entrance test. Similar approach may be adopted in respect of the entrance test for MPhil programme. It shall be followed by an interview to be organized by the institution concerned.

At the time of interview, doctoral candidates are expected to discuss their research interest/area. The admission to the PhD programme would be either directly or through the MPhil programme.

After having been admitted, each M.Phil/Ph.D student shall be required to undertake course work for a minimum period of one semester. The course work shall be treated as pre-MPhil/PhD preparation and must include a course on research methodology which may include quantitative methods and computer applications. It may also involve reviewing of published research in the relevant field. The individual institution shall decide the minimum qualifying requirement for allowing a student to proceed further with the writing of the dissertation.

If found necessary, the course work may be carried out by doctoral candidates in sister departments/institutes either within or outside the university for which due credit will be given to them.

EVALUATION: Upon satisfactory completion of course work and research methodology, the MPhil/PhD scholar shall undertake research work and produce a draft thesis within a reasonable time, as stipulated by the institution concerned.

Prior to submission of the thesis, the student shall make a pre-MPhil/PhD presentation in the department that may be open to all faculty members and research students, for getting feedback and comments, which may be suitably incorporated into the draft thesis under the advice of the supervisor.

PhD candidates shall publish one research paper in a referred journal before the submission of the thesis/monograph for adjudication, and produce evidence for the same in the form of acceptance letter or the reprint.

The thesis produced by the MPhil/PhD student in the institutions/departments and submitted to the institution shall be evaluated by at least two experts, out of which at least one shall be from outside the state.  Then the viva is held.

Following the successful completion of the evaluation process and announcements of the award of MPhil/PhD, the university shall submit a soft copy of the MPhil/PhD thesis to the UGC within a period of thirty days, for hosting the same in INFLEBNET, accessible to all institutions/universities.

The UGC has also reiterated that NET/SLET shall remain the minimum eligibility condition for recruitment and appointment of lecturers in universities/colleges/institutions.

However, candidates, who are or have been awarded PhD Degree in compliance of the "University Grants Commission (minimum standards and procedure for award of PhD Degree), Regulation 2009, shall be exempted from the requirement of the minimum eligibility condition of NET/SLET for recruitment and appointment of Assistant Professor or equivalent positions in Universities/Colleges/ institutions," the UGC notification said.

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