4-year UG course, faster PhD rules to be out today

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NEW DELHI: In a major restructuring which will impact lakhs of aspirants of higher education in the country, the University Grants Commission (UGC) on Thursday will notify the new four-year-undergraduate programme (FYUP) and the revised PhD regulations.

Accessed exclusively by the TOI, the FYUP of 160 credits will replace the present three-year choice based credit system (CBCS) at UG level and enable students to directly join PhD programmes on completion of the four-year degree programmes. The other notable reform approved in the Commission’s meeting on March 10 is enabling students qualifying a four-year undergraduate programme with research eligible for direct admission in PhD. Moreover, under the new credit system learners can move from one institution to another and switch to alternative modes of learning (face-to-face, ODL, online and hybrid).

As per the “Curricular Framework and Credit System for the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme” of UGC, the new undergraduate programmes will not have “hard separations between ‘arts’ and ‘sciences’, between ‘curricular’ and ‘extracurricular’ activities, between ‘vocational’ and ‘academic streams…” and “A rootedness and pride in India, and its rich, diverse, ancient, and modern culture and knowledge systems and traditions.”

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UG degrees would be of either three or four-year (preferred option as per the document) duration, with multiple entry and exit points and re-entry options within this period. This would also make the design and lengths/ duration of master’s and PhD degree programmes flexible as those qualifying FYUP will be eligible for a one-year master’s degree programme and direct entry to PhD.

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FYUP will comprise 20-22 credits per semester. Semesters one to three are dedicated to develop an understanding of all major areas of learning such as natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, mathematical and computational thinking among others. In semesters four to six students will choose a disciplinary or an interdisciplinary area of learning for specialization as major and minor. In the final two semesters a student will take up research projects along with advanced disciplinary/ interdisciplinary courses.

According to M Jagadesh Kumar, chairperson, UGC, “The existing CBCS though provides a flexibility for students to choose from a range of disciplines, it lacks multi/ interdisciplinary flavour. In its efforts to revise the CBCS, the UGC has developed FYUP by taking into account all relevant policy recommendations of NEP, 2020,” adding that the new structure will equip students with the capacities in fields across the arts, humanities, languages, natural sciences, social sciences; ethics of social engagement; soft skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, creative thinking, communication skills, along with rigorous specialization in a chosen disciplinary or interdisciplinary major and minor.

Other major reformative steps as envisaged in the NEP 2020 include enabling students qualifying a FYUP with research eligible for admission in PhD, credit-based courses in teaching/ education/ pedagogy/ writing related to their chosen PhD subject and teaching experience for all fresh PhD entrants.

As per eligibility criteria defined in the “University Grants Commission (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of PhD Degree) Regulations, 2022” to be announced on March 17, 2022, apart from the one and two-year master’s degree qualifiers, a FYUP degree with research and having a minimum CGPA of 7.5/10 is also eligible for the doctoral programmes.



The maximum duration of a PhD programme has been set at six years with no more than two years of extension. Sixty percent of the total vacant seat of the academic year shall be filled from NET/JRF qualified students and the remaining 40% through the university/ common entrance test qualified students on the basis of Interviews.

Socially relevant, locally need-based, nationally important, globally significant, creating value to the society or in cutting edge areas or contributing to new/ additional knowledge are the thrust areas of research.

Features of the Credit System:

* Flexibility to move from one disciplinary area of study to another within the duration of study by securing the required credits in the chosen disciplinary/interdisciplinary area(s)

* Opportunity for learners to choose the subject/learning area of interest

* Facilitating multiple entry and exit options with certificate/ diploma/ or degree depending upon the number of credits secured

* Facilitating switching to alternative modes of learning (face-to-face, ODL and Online learning, and hybrid modes of learning)

* Flexibility for learners to move from one institution to another to enable them to have a multi and/or interdisciplinary learning

Semester/ Credits

* A semester consists of 90 working days and an academic year is divided into two semesters. Each working week will have 40 hours of instructional time

Credit-hours for different types of courses:

* Taught courses: The total learner engaged time for a one credit taught course would be 45 hours. The out-of- class activities may not be measured and quantified for purposes of grading of the credit

* Seminar: A minimum of 15 hours of participation in seminar activity per credit in a semester along with 30 hours of out-of-class activities such as preparation for the seminar, completing assignments, and independent reading and study

* Practicum: A course requiring students to participate in an approved project or practical activity that applies previously learned/studied principles/theory related the chosen field of learning

* Internship: A course requiring students to participate in professional employment related activity or work experience, or cooperative education activity with an entity external to the education institution, normally under the supervision of an employee of the given external entity

* Laboratory work/activity: 30 hours in the laboratory activities per credit in a semester along with 15 hours of out-of-class activities such as preparation for the practicum, completing assignments which form a part of the course work, and independent reading and study. The total learner engaged time for a one credit laboratory work/activity would be 45 hours.

* Studio activities: Studio activities involve engagement of students in creative or artistic activities. The total learner engaged time for a one credit-hour studio activity would be 45 hours.

* Workshop-based activities: Courses involving workshop-based activities requiring engagement of students in hands-on activities related to work/vocation or professional practice. 30 hours of workshop-based activities per credit in a semester along with 15 hours of out-of-class activities such as preparation for the workshop activity, completing assignments, and independent reading and study.

* Field practice/projects: 30 hours per credit in a semester along with 15 hours of activities such as preparation for the field projects, data analysis, preparation of reports etc., and independent reading and study.

* Community engagement and service: 30 hours of contact time per credit in a semester along with 15 hours of activities such as preparation for the community engagement and service, preparation of reports etc., and independent reading and study

* Hybrid courses involving a mix of taught courses and practicum: A 4-credit course involving 75% of face–to– face teaching and 25% field-based learning/project or lab work, or workshop activities will have a total of 75 hours of instructional time during a semester, and 105 hours of out-of-class activities such as preparation for the courses of study, completing assignments and independent reading and study. Thus, the total learner engaged time would be 180 hours for a 4-credit course

* Learner engaged time for a 4-credit course involving 50% practicum: A 4-credit course involving 50% face–to– face teaching and 50% field-based learning/project or lab work, or workshop activities will have a total of 90 hours of instructional time during a semester, and 90 hours of out-of-class activities such as preparation for the courses of study and practicum, completing assignments and independent reading and study. Thus, the total learner engaged time would be 180 hours for a 4-credit course.

Curricular components of the four-year undergraduate programme

* Common Courses: The course work during the first three semesters of the 4-year undergraduate programme will consist of a set of courses such as language education (two languages – Regional language and English language), understanding India, Environmental Science/Education, Digital and technological solutions, Mathematical and Computational Thinking and Analysis, Heath & wellness, Yoga education, and sports and fitness, that are common for all students. The coursework during the first three semesters will also include courses within disciplinary areas such as Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities; interdisciplinary learning areas, and vocational education courses that are required for a broad and well-rounded learning experience

* Language education (12 credits): (6-credit-hours courses relating to a Modern Indian Language (MIL) & English language focused on language and communication skills). Students are required to achieve competency in the use of a Modern Indian Language and the English language with special emphasis on language and communication skills

* Understanding India (3 credit-hours): The course aims at enabling the students to acquire and demonstrate the knowledge and understanding of contemporary India with its historical perspective, the basic framework of the goals and policies of national development, and the constitutional obligations with special emphasis on constitutional values and fundamental rights and duties

* Environmental science/education (3-credit course): The course seeks to equip students with the ability to apply the acquired knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values required to take appropriate actions for mitigating the effects of environmental degradation, climate change and pollution, effective waste management, conservation of biological diversity, management of biological resources, forest and wildlife conservation, and sustainable development and living. The course will also deepen the knowledge and understanding of India’s environment in its totality, their interactive processes, and effects on the future quality of people’s lives

* Digital and technological solutions (4-credit course): Courses in cutting-edge areas that are fast gaining prominence, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), 3-D machining, big data analysis, and machine learning with important applications to health, environment, and sustainable living that will be woven into undergraduate education for enhancing the employability of the youth

* Mathematical and Computational Thinking and Analysis (3-credit course): Courses relating to Mathematical and Computational Thinking and Analysis would focus primarily on the mathematical and statistical tools used to support the study of natural and social sciences, including subject areas such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, economics, the environment, geological sciences, physics, and sociology etc

* Health & wellness, Yoga education, sports and fitness (2 credits): Course components relating to health and wellness seek to promote an optimal state of physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual and environmental wellbeing of a person. Sports and fitness activities will be organised outside the regular institutional working hours

Introductory courses relating to disciplinary areas of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Vocational Education, and interdisciplinary studies: 24 credits. Students are required to complete nine credits in each of the following three areas:

* Natural Sciences (9 credit-hours)

* Social Sciences (9 credit-hours)

* Humanities (9 credits)

* Interdisciplinary courses: Interdisciplinary courses may form part of the basket of courses to be taken during the first three semesters. These may include, for example, courses relating to Cognitive Science, Environmental Science, Gender Studies, Global Environment & Health, International Relations, Political Economy and Development, Sustainable Development, Urban Women’s and Gender Studies, etc.

Disciplinary/interdisciplinary major (48 credit-hours): The major would provide the option for a student to pursue an in-depth study of a particular subject or discipline. Course requirements of majors offered would be 48 credits. The major may be chosen from a basket of courses such as, for example, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry,

Computer Science, Data Science, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics Anthropology, Communication and Media, Economics, History, Linguistics, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology, Archeology, Comparative Literature, Arts & Creative expressions, Creative Writing and Literature, language(s), Philosophy, etc

Disciplinary/interdisciplinary minors (32 credit-hours): Students will have the option to choose two disciplinary/interdisciplinary minors of 16 credit-hours each, including skillsbased courses relating to a chosen vocational education programme

Vocational Studies/Education: Vocational Studies/Education will form an integral part of the undergraduate programme. A total of 16 credits will be allotted to the ‘Minor’ relating to Vocational Studies/Education

Field-based learning/project (4 credit-hours): The field-based learning/project will attempt to provide opportunities for students to understand the different socio-economic contexts

Skills-based internship: A key aspect of the FYUGP is induction into actual work situations. Students will be provided with opportunities for internships with local industry, businesses, artists, crafts persons, etc. so that students may actively engage with the practical side of their learning and, as a by-product, further improve their employability

Advanced disciplinary/interdisciplinary courses required to support/undertake research, including research methodology courses, and a research project (20 credit-hours): At the beginning of the seventh semester each student will take up a research project along with advanced courses and research methodology courses

Research-oriented courses & internship, and research project (18 credits): All students pursuing a 4-Year Bachelor’s degree with Honours/Research will be required to take up research-oriented advanced courses, research methodology courses and a research project. A total of 18 credits shall be allotted for the research project.

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