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Eligibility criteria for UGC NET exam

In order to be eligible for UGC NET 2018 a candidate must fulfil certain criteria. It is must that the candidate qualifies minimum eligibility criteria required in both education qualifications and age limit. Candidates who are aspiring for a career in lectureship and research should check their eligibility before filling out the application form for UGC NET 2018.

Eligibility criteria for UGC NET

Educational Qualifications required for UGC NET

What are the minimum Educational Qualifications required to be eligible for UGC NET 2018?

Candidates who want to apply for UGC NET exam should be able to clear off all the academic qualification criteria. There are separate compensations and standards made for candidates belonging to SC, ST, PWD, OBC Category.

  • A candidate must have scored at least 55 % marks in their post-graduation from any UGC recognized university/college. The candidates who have completed their master’s degree in humanities (including languages), Social Science, Computer Science and Applications, Electrical Science, etc.will be eligible for UGC NET 2018.
  • Candidates who are still pursuing their master’s or equivalent degree or are in their final year course can also apply for this examination.
  • Such candidates whose results are awaited will be admitted provisionally and shall be considered eligible once they have completed their master or equivalent degree with the required percentage of marks (55 % in case of general category).
  • Candidates should be able to complete their master’s degree within 2 years of applying for UGC NET. Failing to do so they will be exempted from the exam.
  • Candidates holding a Ph.D. degree will be given a special relaxation of 5 % in the qualifying marks provided they have completed their PHD degree by September 19,1991.
  • Those candidates having post graduate diploma/certificate awarded by Indian university/Institute of foreign degree/diploma, certificate awarded by foreign University should ascertain their certificate/degree/diploma with master’s degree of recognized Indian Universities from Association of Indian Universities (AIU), New Delhi.

Age Criteria and Relaxation

What are the minimum age criteria for the post of Junior Research Fellow (JRF)?

For JRF (Junior Research Fellow): Candidates who qualify for this post will be awarded a junior research fellowship of UGC and should be able to find placement in various government universities/colleges/IIT’s, etc.

  • For a candidate to be eligible for the post of JRF (junior research fellow) thorough UGC NET he/she must not be more than 30 years of age as of January 1, 2018.
  • There is a special age relaxation of 5 years for candidates belonging to SC, ST, PWD, OBC-NC category and female candidates.
  • Candidates holding a degree in LLM will be given extra age relaxation of 3 years making them eligible for up to 33 years of age.
  • Candidates with a prior research experience will be given a maximum of 5 years age relaxation provided they bring a letter from the authority of the institution from which the research had been conducted.
  • A maximum relaxation of 5 years is provided to aspirants who have served into the armed forces subject to the length of service in the armed forces.

Assistant Professor

  • There is no upper age limit for the post of assistant professor.

EXEMPTION (eligibility for assistant professor)

  • Candidates who have cleared UGC NET-LS/ NET-JRF, CSIR prior to 1989 will be exempted from the UGC NET Exam in 2018.
  • Candidates who are holding a degree of Ph.D. in accordance with University grants commission will be exempted from minimum eligibility criteria for the post of assistant professor.
  • For candidates who have qualified SET (State Eligibility test) for eligibility as assistant professor prior to June 2002 will be exempted from UGC NET. They can apply for the post of Assistant professor anywhere in India. Candidates who have qualified SET after 2002 can apply for the post of assistant professor only in the colleges situated in the state from where they had cleared SET.


What special concessions are provided by NTA for candidates belonging to OBC-NCL, SC, ST, Transgenders, PWD?

Special relaxations for female candidates or belonging to SC/ST/PWD/OBC-NCL and transgenders.

  • A minimum of 50 % marks are required in masters for these candidates to be eligible for UGC NET Exam 2018.
  • Special age relaxation of 5 years is given to candidates belonging to these categories as per the notice provided on the official website. The maximum age till which a candidate may apply for the post of JRF is 35 years in this case.
  • Recently NTA had introduced a new category i.e. Transgenders. Candidates falling under this category would be given the same exemptions and privileges as provided to SC/ST, OBC-NCL and PWD candidates.

Note that age relaxation cannot be exceeded from 5 years through single or multiple clause under any circumstances.

Candidates belonging to SC/ST, PWD, OBC (Non-creamy layer) are required to submit a copy of their category certificate in order to avail special relaxations provided to them. General category candidates need not to submit any documents to UGC.

Category Age Limit
General 30 years
SC/ST/PWD/OBC-NCL 35 years
Women 35 years
Transgenders 35 years
LLM Degree 33 years
Ph.D. Degree Period spent on research (Max age=35 years)
Served in Armed forces Max age =35 years


CUT off and selections:

What are the minimum Selection Criteria for NET?

Following the above-mentioned guidelines and rules a candidate could be declared eligible or ineligible for the exam. In case of any false information or reports the candidature’s, application will be cancelled and necessary legal actions will be taken against him/her.

The above rules were for the eligibility of taking the UGC NET Exam 2018. There are again certain criteria and eligibility once you clear off the exam.

  • For being able to be selected as qualified a candidate need to score a minimum of qualifying marks in both the papers. There are different cut off’s and merit list for the post of Assistant professor and Junior Research Fellow.
  • A minimum of 40% marks is mandatory to score (General Category) in order to be eligible for the post of Assistant professor.
  • Candidates belonging to SC, ST, OBC-NCL, PWD and transgenders have to score a minimum of 35% marks.
  Paper 1 Paper 2
General 40% or 40 marks 40% or 80 marks
SC/ST/PWD/OBC-NCL/Transgenders 35% or 35 marks 35% or 70 marks


  • From among the qualified candidates only top 6% are declared eligible for the entry level post of Assistant professor. Total slots from among this 6% are allocated according to the reservation policy of India.
  • Candidates who are termed as qualified and have applied for both the post of JRF and Assistant professor shall be considered as eligible for the post of JRF.

Note: A candidate should clearly mention in their application form that whether they are applying for the post of assistant professor or both assistant professor and JRF.

FAQ’s on eligibility criteria

What are the eligibility criteria for doing PHD from IIT’s?

A candidate should have a masters degree from a recognized Indian University. Minimum marks required is same as prescribed in the eligibility criteria (55% for General and 50% for reserved groups). Candidates should qualify GATE or NET JRF exam in order to pursue PHD from any IIT. Some IIT’s have additional qualifications but overall, it’s the same.

What Subjects can an MBA student opt for in UGC NET?

It is advised for students to choose the same subject for UGC NET paper from which they have completed their post-graduation. In some cases, if the subject of master’s is not available a candidate can choose related subjects. In case of MBA a candidate can go for subjects related to their course including commerce, Business Economics, marketing, Personnel management, finance, HR, etc.

Can I apply for UGC NET JRF again if I have qualified for Assistant Professor earlier?

Yes, a candidate may apply as many times for the post of JRF until 30 years of age as per the latest changes.

Can Engineering graduates take UGC NET Exam?

An undergraduate degree holder cannot take up this exam. For a candidate to be eligible he/she must at least be in final year of their master’s or should have completed it. Science stream and engineering students can take CSIR Exam for admission in various Ph.D. programs.

Can a candidate take UGC NET Exam in any subject?

No, You can’t. A candidate needs to select only the subject that they had chosen in their post -graduation. If that subject is not present in UGC NET a candidate may choose any related subject. For example, a candidate having a masters’ degree in any language (English, Sanskrit, French, etc.) can choose their subject easily. The candidates with Master’s Degree in Humanities (including languages) and Social Sciences are eligible to appear in the subject Women Studies.

A candidate holding a degree in chemistry cannot choose history as their subject in the exam. The subject should be related to the post-graduation course.

Is a person with master’s in geography eligible for population studies in UGC NET?

Yes, a candidate having master’s degree in geography or in mathematics/ statistics are both eligible for population studies in UGC NET. Candidates having a degree in operational research are also eligible for the same.

These were the most common questions that candidates have regarding UGC NET Eligibility. Contact for any queries regarding UGC NET Exam Eligibility and Courses.

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