NET/SET Mandatory For Admission in PhD

Updated On -

Jul 10, 2019

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Anam Shams

Content Curator

New University Grants Commission regulations make it impossible to pursue PhD for students who fail to qualify National Eligibility Test (NET), State Eligibility Test (SET) or State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) in most of the universities. According to the new draft regulations by UGC NET, institutions which come under –

“Category III”, can enroll only those candidates who have qualified the National Eligibility Test (NET) or SLET or States Eligibility Test (SET) examinations for their PhD courses

What do the New Regulations Mandate?

  • Category 1 Institution: According to UGC, a university comes under ‘Category 1 Institution’ if it is accredited with a score of 3.5 or above or if it has achieved a ranking among the top 50 universities of the NIRF ranking for two years continuously.
  • Category 2 Institution: According to UGC, a university comes under ‘Category 2 Institution’ if if it is accredited with a score between 3.01 and 3.49 by NAAC or if it has achieved a ranking from 51 to 100 in the NIRF ranking in the category of universities for two years continuously.
  • Category 3 Institution: According to UGC, a university comes under ‘Category 3 Institution’ which does not fit under the above-mentioned category 1 and category 2 institutions.

NET is an examination to determine the eligibility of the candidate for college and university level lectureship and for award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF). SET is a state-level test accredited by UGC for eligibility of assistant professors. 

Check UGC NET Eligibility

Introduction of New UGC NET Guidelines

Earlier, candidates who have completed Masters’ degree or M. Phil in the relevant discipline can directly apply for admission to PhD programs or appear for entrance test conducted by the concerned university. In certain cases, candidates who qualify NET/SLET are exempted from taking the examination and get directly admitted in the PhD program.

However, after the new mandate issued by UGC, candidates who have qualified NET/SET are only eligible to appear for the exam in institutions classified in category III as per UGC guidelines. Check UGC NET Qualifying Marks


Both NET and SET exam are meant to test the eligibility of the candidates for the post of Assistant Professorship and Junior Research Fellowship. 

  • NET qualified candidates are exempted from appearing in written test for Ph.D. and are directly called for interview.
  • The test is conducted twice in a year specifically in the months of June and December.
  • The concept of SET, i.e., State Eligibility Test for Lectureship eligibility was initiated when the state government and union territories were given the option of conducting their own test for eligibility for lectureship at the state level.
  • The exams are conducted in both English and Hindi languages.
  • SET is based on the pattern of National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by UGC for Humanities, Social Science and UGC/CSIR (Science subjects).
  • Presently, SET is being conducted in following states-
  1. Maharashtra & Goa
  2. Tamil Nadu
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. Andhra Pradesh
  5. Himachal Pradesh
  6. Jammu & Kashmir
  7. Rajasthan
  8. West Bengal
  9. NE-SLET (For North Eastern States and Sikkim)
  10. Karnataka

UGC NET 2019

The results of UGC NET November Exam 2019 have been released by the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE). All the candidates who appeared for the CBSE UGC NET November Exam 2017 can check their scores at

Candidates apeearing for UGC NET examination can check their results at the official website –

  • Subject-wise and category-wise merit list is created for those candidates who meet the cut off scores.
  • Merit list is prepared using the aggregate scores of candidates in all the three papers.
  • Top 15% candidates are declared qualified for the eligibility for Assistant Professorship only.
  • Separate merit list for JRF is prepared from amongst 15% UGC NET qualifiers.

 Click here to check UGC NET last year Question Papers

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, please refer the official website of the exam.