Getting a PhD degree in India will not be a cakewalk anymore. Alarmed at a panel report citing malpractices in the process of getting a PhD, UGC has made entrance exams mandatory for PhD and MPhil aspirants.
The entrance will be followed by an interview where aspirants will discuss their research area. After admission to PhD, students will have to do course work for at least a semester. The course will be treated as pre-research preparation and universities will fix the minimum qualifying criteria to proceed with writing of dissertation.
At present there is no entrance examination for those wanting a doctorate degree. Central universities have set some basic standards, but in many state and deemed universities, Phds can be taken in bulk. The Mungekar Committee Report found that students with the poorest percentage can get enrolled and acquire a doctorate degree in 3-5 years. There were instances where research guides wrote theses for students and even stage-managed experts during viva-voce.
The new norms will ensure that before submission of theses, students make a pre-MPhil/PhD presentation in the department for feedback. It will also be mandatory for them to publish one research paper in a refereed journal. The thesis will be evaluated by two experts, including one outside the state, followed by a viva-voce examination.
UGC has exempted PhD holders who do their doctoral programmes under the new norms from clearing the National Eligibility Test (NET) for lectureship.
For others, NET/SLET (state level examination for lectureship) is a must for recruitment. UGC has also restricted the number of seats for PhD/MPhil in universities but it will be compulsory for them to advertise the seats to encourage students from other states. Also, supervisors cannot have more than eight PhD and five MPhil scholars at a time.
To check plagiarism, researchers will have to submit theses on a CD so that the content can be checked for duplication and cheating before handing out degrees. UGC has asked all state, central, private and deemed universities to prepare a database of research work and digitalise them.