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PhD students can’t pursue two degrees at same time: UGC

By, New Delhi
Oct 03, 2022 04:50 AM IST

The commission on Friday wrote to all higher education institutions to devise mechanisms through their statutory bodies for allowing students to pursue two academic programmes simultaneously. However, it clarified that “guidelines shall be applicable only to the students pursuing academic programmes other than PhD programmes”.

Students pursuing PhD programmes will not be allowed to take two academic degrees simultaneously under University Grants Commission (UGC) new regulation, M Jagadesh Kumar, chairman of India’s higher education regulator, said on Sunday.

Students pursuing PhD programmes will not be allowed to take two academic degrees simultaneously under UGC new regulation. (ANI)
Students pursuing PhD programmes will not be allowed to take two academic degrees simultaneously under UGC new regulation. (ANI)

However, students from all other courses, including diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, will be able to pursue two academic programmes either in physical mode or open or distance mode under guidelines issued in April, Kumar said.

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The commission on Friday wrote to all higher education institutions to devise mechanisms through their statutory bodies for allowing students to pursue two academic programmes simultaneously. However, it clarified that “guidelines shall be applicable only to the students pursuing academic programmes other than PhD programmes”.

“These double degree programmes are not applicable to PhD students as they have to focus on their research work to create unique knowledge in their chosen discipline,” Kumar said.

The UGC allowed students to pursue two academic programmes simultaneously keeping in view the proposals envisaged in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which emphasises the need to facilitate multiple pathways to learning involving both formal and non-formal education modes.

In its letter to all higher education institutions, the UGC said a student can pursue two full-time academic programmes in physical mode provided that in such cases, class timings for the programmes do not overlap. “Besides, a student can pursue two academic programmes — one in full time physical mode and another in open and distance learning (ODL)/online mode; or up to two ODL/online programmes simultaneously,” it added.

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“With this new reform, anyone who is doing an undergraduate programme or a post-graduate programme can take advantage of two degree programmes,” Kumar said. “For example, a BSc (mathematics) student wants to do a BA in languages with a goal to study natural language processing later, that is a possibility. Or an MA in Physics may like to do a BA (economics) with a goal to branch out into econophysics, that is a possibility. Econophysics is an emerging area where the physics models are used to study problems in economics.”

“The idea of a two-degree programme is to encourage multi-disciplinary education among students who have the interest and necessary background to pursue higher studies,” he added.

Meanwhile, UGC also clarified no retrospective benefit can be claimed by the students who have already done two academic programmes simultaneously prior to the notification of these guidelines.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Fareeha Iftikhar is a Special Correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. She tracks the education ministry, and covers the beat at the national level for the newspaper. She also writes on issues related to gender, human rights and different policy matters.

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