As per the UGC regulations 2016 for MPhil and PhD degrees, the maximum duration to complete an MPhil course is two years and for PhD it is six years. Women candidates and persons with disability (more than 40% disability) can be allowed a relaxation of one year for MPhil and two years for PhD in the maximum duration. Women will also be eligible for maternity leave/child care leave once in the entire duration of MPhil/PhD for up to 240 days.
All universities and institutions, including deemed to be universities, will admit MPhil/PhD students through an entrance test. They have been authorised to outline separate terms and conditions for PhD entrance test for students who qualify UGC-National Eligibility Test (including Junior Research Fellow)/UGC-Council of Scientific and Industrial Research NET (including JRF)/State Level Eligibility Test/Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering/teacher fellowship holders or those who have passed MPhil programme. A similar approach can be adopted in case of entrance test for MPhil programme.
The guidelines also state that there will be a Research Advisory Committee, or an equivalent body, for each MPhil and PhD scholar. The research supervisor of the scholar will be the convener of this committee. This committee will review the research proposal and finalise the topic of research. It will also guide the research scholar to develop the study design and methodology of research and identify the course(s) that he/she intends to do. Besides, it will periodically review and assist in the progress of the research work of the scholar. The scholar will have to appear before the committee once in six months to make a presentation of the progress of his/her work for evaluation and further guidance.
Currently, both conventional and open learning universities for MPhil/PhD programme follow the same process for shortlisting candidates for admission to the MPhil and PhD programmes.
A candidate is usually allowed to join the programme once her/his research acumen is tested, either through a written examination or oral examination. A research supervisor is allocated and the topic of research is defined. Hereafter, the interaction is essentially between the researcher and the supervisor, though occasionally fellow researchers and other faculty members also get into the picture and interact with the researcher. Once the work is completed, essentially to the satisfaction of the researcher and the supervisor, it is subjected to evaluation by independent examiners followed by viva-voce examination. The award is declared after the researcher has successfully cleared the evaluation.
With the new regulations in place, now there is no question of comparison between MPhil and PhD in conventional and ODL modes, says Professor Ravindra Kumar, vice chancellor (incharge) Ignou. “The universities, whether conventional or open learning, have to abide by the UGC regulations,” he says.