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Are NET and JRF the same?

 UGC NET Exam is one of the most prominent national-level exams conducted to determine the eligibility of candidates applying for only Assistant Professor or both Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Assistant Professor post,  Ph.D. and higher research studies in Indian universities and colleges. While preparing for the UGC NET Exam, many candidates get confused between UGC NET and JRF. Here in this article, we have discussed the nuances of UGC  NET and JRF to help you understand both in detail.

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What is UGC NET?

UGC NET exam is a national-level eligibility exam for Assistant Professor post and JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) aspirants. The UGC NET Exams are conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency) twice a year in December and June.

After the successful completion of the UGC NET Exam, the candidates can opt for Assistant Professor post, Ph.D and M.Phil in various Indian Universities depending on their area of expertise and subject. The candidates will become eligible to apply for the Assistant Professor/ Lecturers post in various Indian Universities and Colleges while simultaneously pursuing their Ph.D./ M.Phil.

Candidates also become eligible for some lucrative jobs offered by PSUs (Public Service Undertakings). Some of the top PSUs that consider UGC Net Exam scores for their recruitment process. Candidates are considered for various disciplines such as management, human resource, corporate communication, finance, science, and R&D in some  PSU recruitment.

UGC NET Exam Date

Meanwhile, UGC NET Exams for December 2020 and June 2021 have been postponed until further notice. The NTA (National Testing Agency) and  UGC (University Grants Commission) have decided to merge the UGC NET December 2020 and June 2021 Cycles to be able to regularize the UGC NET Exam cycle. Earlier, UGC NET December 2020 Exam was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. UGC NET New exam Date will be released soon on the official website.

Eligibility criteria for UGC NET Exam

Before appearing for the UGC NET Exam, it is better to go through the eligibility criteria carefully. The eligibility criteria for UGC NET Exam are:  

Eligibility Criteria for UGC NET Exam December 2020 & June 2021

Educational Qualification Master Degree or equivalent degree with minimum 55% marks (5% is relaxed for SC/ST/others)
Age Limit 30 years for JRF

No age for UGC NET 

Nationality Indian
Subject Eligibility The subject of Candidate’s Post-Graduation


What Is Assistant Professor?

Once a candidate clears the UGC NET Exams, they become eligible to apply for the Assistant Professor posts in various Indian universities and colleges. Assistant Professor can teach undergraduate and/or post- graduate students in colleges and universities. Candidates can simultaneously pursue their Ph.D or research work. By completing their Ph.D candidates ensure promotions and career growth in future. A lectureship is an excellent career option for those candidates who enjoy a particular subject and wants to make their career as an assistant professor. Government Раy great pay band оf Аssistаnt Рrоfessоrs аt Gоvernment Universities begins with leаst СTС оf 6 Lаkhs.  Candidates can get promoted to Associate Professor, Professor, Head of Department and so on. 

What is the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF)?

JRF or Junior Research Fellowship is a certificate awarded by UGC to the top 5-7% of candidates who clear UGC NET exams. It is a scholarship program for candidates opting for research work and higher studies.

The cut-off marks of UGC NET and JRF differ every year. The factors that contribute to such difference in cut-off marks are:

  •  The number of candidates who opt for the UGC NET exam in a particular year.
  •  The difficulty level of the exam.
  •   The number of seats available for the positions.

Scope After Junior Research Fellowship (JRF)

  • Clearing UGC NET cut-off marks does not guarantee a candidate to be selected for JRF.  If you qualify for the UGC NET Exam then you are eligible for Assistant Professor or both Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Assistant Professor post in Indian universities and colleges. When you qualify the JRF Cut-off which is generally 5%-7% more than the UGC NET Cut off.
  • Candidates qualifying for JRF become eligible for a wide range of opportunities to choose from. JRF candidates are eligible for a two-year stipend of Rs. 25,000 for their PhD research work. Followed by an evaluation after the 2nd year of their Ph.D., they become eligible for an additional three-year stipend of Rs. 28,000 as SRF (Senior Research Fellow).
  • JRF candidates can apply for their Ph.D. at various universities like IIM’s, IIT’s, and other R&D institutes.
  • JRF Candidates are also qualified to work in other government Labs such as DRDO, SERB, ICAR, ICMR, and others.
  • Based on different Universities, JRF candidates can simultaneously take Temporary Lectureship / Assistant Professor jobs.

Is UGC NET and JRF the same?

As explained in the article, UGC NET is an exam conducted by NTA to test the eligibility of candidates aspiring to pursue higher studies and also eligible to apply for the Assistant professor post. On the other hand, JRF is a certificate awarded to the top 5-7% of candidates qualifying for the UGC NET Exam. JRF is a scholarship program/ scheme where the candidates are given a stipend to pursue their research work once they register with any recognized Indian University.


Q.What is the age limit for the UGC NET Exam?

  1. As per UGC NET Eligibility guidelines, there is no age limit for the assistant professor. However, the age of candidates for JRF should not exceed 31 years.
  2. Are there any negative markings in the UGC NET Exam?
  3. No, there is no negative marking in UGC NET Exam.
  4. What is the validity of the UGC NET JRF certificate/ award letter?
  5. The validity of the UGC NET JRF certificate is three years from the date of its issuance.
  6. What is the mode of the UGC NET Exam?
  7. The UGC NET Exam is conducted in Computer Based Mode (online) only.
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