In-Depth Jobs

Volume 47

How to Crack CSIR-UGC NET Exam

Usha Albuquerque & Nidhi Prasad

For those who have the natural flair, teaching can be a fascinating and challenging career.  Although there is today a huge shortage of trained teachers, it is one profession that attracts large numbers of young people who look upon teaching as a secure professional career with shorter working hours and regular annual vacations.  It is also a specialized field. Higher education requires trained and academically motivated individuals.
There are several areas of work in a teaching career. These include teachers at the elementary school level, trained graduate teachers and post graduate teachers at the Secondary and Senior Secondary school levels, as well as posts for lecturers in colleges, readers and professors in universities, as well as administrators, supervisors, consultants and researchers. In a college or university, a lecturer delivers lectures to a class of students, and devotes time to research and writing and publishing articles, while a reader or a professor in a university spends a considerable amount of time on research activities and guiding students in research projects.
To select the brightest and the best in the field, the Government conducts tests the NET (National Eligibility Test) for determining the eligibility for college and university level lectureship and for awarding the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to Indian nationals for pursuing their Ph.D or research.
What is CSIR –UGC NET?
CSIR and UGC are two different governmental departments and both conduct their respective  entrance exam. The former is conducted for the Science stream, whereas the latter is conducted for all the other streams.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) initiated a research fellowship scheme to recognize young talent with passion for scientific research. With this objective, the CSIR started a national level competitive exam - National Eligibility Test (NET) to provide financial assistance in the form of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to candidates interested in pursuing PhD in academic and scientific institutions across the country.
Let’s understand the difference between the two, in a detailed manner:
UGC (University Grants Commission) is a statutory organisation, which was established by the Union Government in 1956. Its main objective is to provide recognition to the Indian universities, and provide funds to such recognised universities and colleges.
CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) now conducts this exam, on behalf of UGC for the post of Lecturer and for providing the JRF for Indian nationals in order to ensure minimum standards for the entrants in the teaching profession and in research.
The exam is conducted in streams such as Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Commerce, etc.
CSIR or Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) is a premier national Research & Development  (R&D) organisation and is among the world’s largest publicly funded R&D organisations. CSIR conducts the Joint CSIR UGC NET, which is a national level entrance examination in the field of Science including Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences and Earth Atmospheric Ocean and Planetary Sciences.
CSIR-UGC NET is conducted twice a year in June and December.For further details visit (CSIR website:
Fellowship and Lectureship
Candidates qualified in the above test are grouped into two separate merit lists viz. – JRF List and NET List. Candidates who get into first merit list will be awarded Junior Research Fellowships, along with eligibility for Lectureship. Those who make it into the second merit list would be awarded only eligibility for Lectureship (NET), except in Engineering sciences. The NET candidates will be given preference to other schemes and projects, in which JRFs are available.
Age Limit
For JRF–NET, 28 years is the age limit and there is no age limit for NET Lectureship. A five-year age relaxation is given to candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), Physically Handicapped (PH) and women candidates.
Eligibility for CSIR NET
The interested candidates must have acquired their Masters’ degree in Science stream. They should have scored 55 percent and above in the eligibility exam and should have done the course from a
recognised university.
Eligibility for NET
Candidates who have secured at least 55% marks in Master’s Degree OR equivalent examination from universities/institutions recognised by UGC in Humanities (including languages) and Social Science, Computer Science & Applications, Electronic Science etc. are eligible for this Test. The Other Backward Classes (OBC) belonging to non-creamy layer / Scheduled Caste (SC) / Scheduled Tribe (ST) / Persons with disability (PWD) category candidates who have secured at least 50% marks (without rounding off) in Master’s degree or equivalent examination are eligible for this Test.
Candidates who have appeared or will be appearing at the qualifying Master’s degree (final year) examination and whose result is still awaited or candidates whose qualifying examinations have been delayed may also apply for this Test. However, such candidates will be admitted provisionally and shall be considered eligible for award of JRF/Assistant Professor eligibility only after they have passed their Master’s degree examination or equivalent with at least 55% marks (50% marks in case of OBC (Non-creamy layer)/ SC/ ST/ PWD (Persons with disability) category candidates). Such candidates must complete their P.G. degree examination within two years from the date of NET result with required percentage of marks, failing which they shall be treated as disqualified.
Junior Research Fellowship or JRF is a fellowship of Rs 25,000 per month, which is offered by both CSIR and UGC to the eligible and selected candidates through written exams, held twice a year. The fellowship is given to students to pursue their doctoral studies.
Paper pattern of CSIR -UGC NET
The exam is conducted for the following subjects:
*Chemical Sciences
*Earth Sciences
*Life Sciences
*Mathematical Sciences
*Physical Sciences
The duration of the exam is  three hours.
CSIR exam is highly competitive and prestigious one and is the dream of most of the students. Mostly science PG students  go for CSIR exam with sincere commitment, dedication and hard work to achieve their goal. Once a student clears the exam it is his/her choice to select the university/ R&D Lab and guide. Many of the R and D labs are currently running short of scientists in this country, so opportunities in this field are good.
Success Mantras to crack UGC NET CSIR EXAM
Everyone wants success in life, especially if it is about their entrance exams. So what is that real success mantra - give your 100% as you will not get many chances. What really matters in the preparation of a competitive exam is probably not conceptual knowledge, but the ability to solve questions. Ultimately the competition lies in the number of questions you are able to correctly solve in the stipulated time.
Is practicing questions enough?
Of course it is! Practising the questions again and again makes all the difference. If you really want to succeed, you need  to get into the practice of solving questions. Candidates preparing for the CSIR UGC NET exam are probably already familiar with their subject material, so they only require to work on cracking the exam. The more questions you solve and practice, the better your grasp will be of the subject and you will be more confident when you appear for the exam. So if you are preparing for any competitive exam, practice is the only mantra.
Make a Study Plan!
In addition to practicing questions, one needs to make a study plan and strictly following it  helps you manage your time better.
Career opportunities after clearing CSIR –NET
Following are the sectors:
*Assistant Professor in any college.
*Junior Scientist
*Technical Staff
*Besides the labs of CSIR one can join the labs of DRDO, ISRO, BARC, IGCAR and others, depending on your subject field.
Many private firms also hire candidates based on the CSIR net score.
Usha Albuquerque is Director & Nidhi Prasad is Sr. Counselling Psychologist at Careers Smart Pvt. Ltd. e-mail: