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Difference between ICAR NET vs CSIR NET vs UGC NET vs SET

ICAR NET, CSIR NET, and UGC NET offer significant opportunities for those aspiring to excel in higher education teaching roles. The differences between these exams are frequently questioned by candidates. This article intends to dispel such uncertainties for individuals aspiring to pursue careers as lecturers, assistant professors, associate professors, and professors. Through this extensive piece, you can gain a thorough comprehension of these examinations, aiding you in making well-informed choices about your teaching career trajectory.


UGC NET (University Grant Commission National Eligibility Test) is the eligibility test conducted by NTA (national testing authority) twice in a year. It is mostly conducted in the month of June and December. Following are the major highlights of the exam:

  • UGC NET is conducted in 83 different subjects.
  • Conducted on PAN India basis
  • Only candidates having postgraduates can apply for the exam.
  • Candidates can choose to be assistant professor on clearing UGC NET or join the University as researcher after clearing JRF ( Junior Research Fellowship)


ICAR NET (Indian Council of Agricultural Research National Eligibility Test) is conducted by ASRB (Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board). Like UGC NET exam by qualifying ICAR NET Candidates become eligible for being selected as Assistant Professors in Agricultural Universities. ICAR NET is an Online exam conducted on computer-based mode at 32 Centres across India. Following are the highlights of the exam:

  • ICAR NET is conducted once in a year by ASRB (Agricultural Scientist Recruitment Board)
  • Candidates having Masters Degree in any of the subject related to agriculture can appear for ICAR NET exam.
  • Some relevant disciplines for this are: Agricultural Biotechnology, Nematology, Agricultural Science and Process Engineering, Animal Biochemistry, Diary Chemistry, Fish Nutrition and Agro forestry etc.


CSIR NET (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) is conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency). CSIR NET is a test for determining eligibility for lectureship and for the award of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) for Indian nationals in the fields of science.  Following are the highlights of CSIR NET:

  • CSIR NET is conducted twice a year
  • Candidates having post graduation in science stream are eligible to take the CSIR NET unlike UGC NET which is given only if candidates have post graduation.

SET Exam

SET stands for the State Eligibility Exam (SET) which is conducted by respective state agencies. Candidates qualifying for SET are eligible for the Assistant Professor post only in the universities and colleges belonging to the state in which they have passed the SET exam. Important highlights of SET exam are:

  • SET exam will provide State-level recognition and candidate become eligible to serve as a lecturer in the particular state
  • The application fees for the SET exam are generally lower than those for the UGC NET exam, which makes it a more cost-effective option for candidates.
  • It is more convenient since in the SET exam is candidates do not have to travel to different parts of the country to appear for the exam.

Difference between UGC NET vs ICAR NET vs CSIR NET vs SET

The candidates are always curious to know for which exam they are eligible. To get this point clear following are the major differences between the three examinations. Before applying for any of the exam candidate needs to understand these differences between UGC NET vs ICAR NET vs CSIR NET vs SET :

Differences between UGC NET vs ICAR NET vs CSIR NET vs SET
Basis of differences UGC NET ICAR NET CSIR NET SET
Conducting Authority NTA (National Testing Agency) ASRB (Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board) NTA (National Testing Agency) State academic authorities
Concerned Stream Social sciences and languages Agriculture Math and science All Subjects related to UGC NET and CSIR NET
Number of times exam is conducted Twice a year Once a year Twice a year Once a year
Total marks 300 150 200 300
Total Time 3 hours 2 hours 3 hours 3 hours
Eligibility Master’s degree with 55% marks in relevant discipline Candidates must have a master’s degree in any subject related to agriculture domain from a recognized university Candidates having a master’s degree in relevant discipline from a recognized university with a pass percentage of 55% Master’s degree with 55% marks for general category candidate in relevant discipline of social sciences and languages from any university
Age limit Maximum age to apply for JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) is 30 years and for Lectureship, there is no age limit. No upper age limit Maximum age to apply for JRF (Junior Research Fellowship) is 28 years and for Lectureship, there is no age limit There is no age limit.

Career Opportunities

Candidates who are curious to know that what are the career opportunities they can avail after cracking these exams must read the following points. After clearing these exams candidates can follow following career paths:

  • UGC NET certification will help candidate to opt lectureship as his or her career. They can even apply for PSU (public sector undertakings) and enroll for further research
  • The candidates having CSIR NET can work on research projects in research labs and also pursue teaching as career after doing masters
  • The ICAR NET exam helps candidate to work as lecturer/assistant professor in the field of agriculture in the state agricultural universities (SAUs) and other Agricultural Universities (AUs).
  • The candidates qualifying SET Exam can apply for lectureship in the universities and colleges which comes under the respective state government.

Career After UGC NET & JRF Exam

Hence, above points helps candidates know the major differences between the CSIR NET, UGC NET, ICAR NET and SET exams. All these are eligibility exams for teaching professional. Candidate must read above article to understand and gain information about these exams.


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Whether a foreign national can apply for UGC NET exam?

The answer is no. only the Indian citizen can apply for UGC NET exam.

Is SET valid all over India?

Ans: No, SET exam is valid only in the respective state in which it has been conducted.

In how many subjects UGC NET exam is conducted?

Ans: In 83 versatile subjects UGC NET exam is conducted.


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