University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar has said that under the four-year undergraduate degrees, graduates can directly join PhD programmes. They will not require a Master’s degree to join PhD programmes.
He further said that three-year undergraduate courses will not be discontinued till the four-year undergraduate programme is fully implemented.
Earlier this week, a new credit and curriculum framework for undergraduate (UG) courses was announced.
It defines Honours degree courses as a four-year programme. However, Kumar clarified that varsities can choose between the three and four-year programmes. “It is left to the universities,” he said.
Is a four-year pattern for Honours degrees mandatory?
“The current three-year UG programmes will continue whether they are called UG degrees such as BA, B.Com, or B.Sc or UG degrees with Honours such as BA (Hon.), B.Com (Hon.), or B.Sc (Hon.),” the University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman said.
Varsities can also take advantage of the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) curriculum framework and introduce new courses in three-year UG programmes, Kumar said.
On when the FYUP is expected to be fully implemented, he said that “there is no deadline but we will continue to work with higher education institutions to implement the FYUP as soon as possible” and assured the three-year courses will not be discontinued till the four-year programme is fully implemented.
Some universities, such as the Delhi University, have already implemented the FYUP. Many other universities are working on implementing it from the 2023 academic session. In a few years, many universities will adopt this. They need to do this to attract the best students to their programmes,” Kumar said.
Counting the benefits of the FYUP, the UGC chief said, “The first advantage is that they do not have to do a Master’s degree to join a PhD programme. They can also take a single or double major to gain a deeper knowledge of a given discipline.”
“Since multidisciplinary courses, ability enhancement courses, skill enhancement courses, value-added courses, and internships are embedded in the FYUP, it will enhance the opportunities for students to take up employment or go for higher studies,” he said.
New curriculum for UG programmes
The UGC on Monday notified the curriculum and credit framework for undergraduate programmes which will provide students with multiple options for entry and exit, a choice between single major and double major and interdisciplinary choices of subjects.
The framework has been developed by revising the existing Choice Based Credit System.
Under the programme, students will only be able to pursue a four-year honours degree rather than a three-year course like the present. Honours degrees will also be offered in two categories — honours and honours with research.