Top PhD Entrance Exams

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JMI Entrance Exam

Whether one belongs to Science, Commerce or Humanities field, a PhD can be pursued in an array of fields and specialised domains. Usually, students interested in academics sign up for a doctoral program to acquire the knowledge and skills required to excel in their respective areas of study. While study abroad PhD pathways exempt students from appearing in entrance exams to pursue their chosen course, universities in India have specified several tests as one of the prime requirements to apply for a doctoral degree. Thus, PhD entrance exams hold great importance for the students willing to take on this road. Read this article to know about the leading entrance exams for PhD and some helpful tips to ace them with flying colours! 

Must Read: All You Need to Know About PhD in Physics [2021]

Ph.D. Admissions: Quick Updates

Name of University Commencement of Registrations Deadline 
18 August 2022 10 April 2023
Shiv Nadar University Ph.D. programMay 10, 2023July 2023
JMI New Delhi Ph.D.
Dec 22, 2022April 20, 2023
IIIT Sri City Ph.D. programJan 16, 2023
NIT Jamshedpur Ph.D.
April 12, 2023May 15, 2023
SGT University Ph.D.
May 2023July 15, 2023
IIIT Raichur Ph.D. in
Computer Science & Mathematics
May 31, 2023
JIPMER Ph.D. ProgramMarch 6, 2023April 6, 2023
IIT Dharwad Ph.D. ProgramMarch 29, 2023April 26, 2023
IIT Goa Ph.D. ProgramApril 13, 2023May 12, 2023
AIIMS Jodhpur Ph.D. ProgramFeb 2023March, 2023
NIFFT Ranchi Ph.D. programsMarch. 2023April, 2023
ANU Gujarat Ph.D. in
Architecture and Design
June 2023 (Tentative)
Calcutta University Ph.D.
in the Pure Mathematics program 
July 2023 (Tentative)
Noida International University Ph.D. program Jan 2023

Also Read: Part Time Ph.D.: Admissions & Best Ph.D. Programs

Ph.D. Specializations 

Before moving on to the top Ph.D. entrance exams, let’s first take a look at the plethora of specializations that fall under the domain of this degree. The following table elucidates some of the popular Ph.D. courses that are commonly pursued by graduates. 

  1. Education
  2. Police Administration
  3. Psychology
  4. Pharmacy
  5. Biotechnology
  6. Urdu
  7. Public Administration
  8. Renewable Energy
  9. Political Science
  10. Artificial Intelligence
  11. Mathematics
  12. Chemistry
  13. Finance
  14. Accounting
  15. Economics
  16. Computer Science
  17. Law
  18. Commerce
  19. Nursing
  20. English
  21. Physics
  22. Electronics
  23. Physical Education
  24. Total Quality Management
  25. Pomology
  26. Sociology
  27. Cosmetology
  28. Rural Development
  29. Sustainable Development
  30. Yoga
  31. Zoology
  32. Women Studies
  33. Social Work
  34. Technology Policy
  35. Statistics
  36. Agriculture
  37. Botany
  38. Geology
  39. Sports Science
  40. History
  41. Home Science
  42. Geography
  43. Mass Communication
  44. Labour and Social Welfare
  45. Mathematics
  46. Music
  47. Linguistics
  48. Management Studies
  49. Hospitality Management
  50. Library Science
  51. Nanotechnology
  52. Biochemistry
  53. Horticulture
  54. Bioinformatics
  55. Fashion Technology
  56. Fine Arts
  57. Business Administration
  58. Disaster Management
  59. Human Rights
  60. Entrepreneurship

List of Top PhD Entrance Exams

Whether you are opting for a PhD in IIT, IIM, or any other higher education institution in the country, there is generally a specified entrance exam that one needs to qualify. To help you understand some of these tests, below we have elaborated the top PhD entrance exams that you must know about:

  1. UGC Net Exam
  2. CSIR-UGC NET exam
  3. Joint Graduate Entrance Examination for Biology and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (JGEEBILS)
  4. DBT JRF Biotech  Entrance Test
  5. TIFR Graduate School Admission Entrance Test
  7. NIMHANS PG/PG Diploma/Superspeciality/PhD online entrance test
  8. JNU PhD Entrance
  10. NIPER PhD Entrance Exam
  11. University of Hyderabad PhD Entrance Exam
  12. GTU PhD Entrance Exam
  13. NBRC PhD Entrance Exam
  14. BITS PhD Entrance Examination
  15. AIIMS PhD Entrance Exam
  16. IISC PhD Entrance Exam
  17. NDRI PhD entrance exam
  18. Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar University Lucknow – PhD Admissions Test
  19. Guru Jambheshwar University GJUST – PhD Entrance Test
  20. BARC PhD Admission Test
  21. Combined Vidyavaridhi (PhD) Entrance Test – (CVVET)
  22. ISM Dhanbad PhD Admission Test 
  23. Indian Veterinary Research Institute Bareilly PhD Admission Test
  24. BINC Bioinformatics National Certification BINC  Examination
  25. RMAT Aligarh Muslim University R-MAT – PhD Entrance Exam
  26. Symbiosis PhD Entrance Exam
  27. Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi – PhD Admission Test
  28. Jamia Hamdard New Delhi PhD Admission Test
  29. Kurukshetra University PhD Entrance Exam
  30. PhD Entrance Exam of NMIMS University Mumbai
  31. TISS RAT
  32. DU PhD Entrance Exam
  33. IGNOU PhD Entrance Exam
  34. Pondicherry University Entrance Exam
  35. University of Pune PhD in Management Entrance Exam
  36. Symbiosis University Ph.D entrance examination

Must Read: How to get a Complete PhD Funding?


Many Indian universities ask candidates for their UGC NET scores in order to apply for PhD degrees. University Grant Commission (UGC) NET Exam is the national level exam, conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) twice a year (in the month of June and December). It is one of the major PhD entrance exams and aims to determine the eligibility of aspirants for the posts of Assistant Professor only or Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) or both.

The UGC NET syllabus table below shows the Exam Pattern of Paper 1 and Paper 2:

UGC NET PaperMaximum MarksNo. of Questions
Paper 150100
Paper 2100200


Another important mention in our list of PhD entrance exams is CSIR-UGC NET, i.e. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test. Commonly referred to as CSIR NET, it is a national exam conducted by NTA twice a year (in the month of June and December) to choose candidates for awarding JRF and determining their eligibility for appointment of lecturers in Indian universities and colleges. Further, those wanting to apply for the fellowship need to register for a PhD course at a recognised institution while one needs to have attained a doctoral degree in order to apply for the lecturership through this exam. CSIR-UGC NET Exam is conducted for the following subjects:

  • Chemical Sciences
  • Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean and Planetary Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Physical Sciences 

The question paper segments for this PhD entrance exam into 3 sections, i.e. Section A (considered common section and questions are related to General Aptitude, Graphical Analysis, Logical Reasoning, and Numerical ability), Section B (questions are for Engineering Sciences, questions from Mathematics and Engineering Aptitude included as well) and Section C (high stature questions which evaluate the candidate’s knowledge of scientific concepts and their application). 


Located in Mumbai, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is a deemed university which offers various PhD and various integrated programmes. Featuring amongst the popular PhD entrance exams, the TIFR GS (Graduate School) test is organised for the institute’s offered postgraduate programs in several specialisations in Science. The integrated M.Sc-PhD course offered by TIFR includes an array of specialisations such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics as well as research-oriented programs in the field of Computer science, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics. 

TIFR GS Exam Pattern for Mathematics

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TIFR GS exam pattern for Mathematics is divided into two parts. The total duration of the exam is 3 hours (1.5 hours each per section). Negative marking is there for each wrong answer in both sections.

Part Types of QuestionsNumber of Questions
1Objective (True/False)30

TIFR GS Exam Pattern for Physics and Chemistry

TIFR GS exam pattern for Physics and Chemistry is not prescribed by TIFR. As per the availability of information from the official website, both subjects will contain MCQs which students need to complete in 3 hours. Negative Marking is there for each wrong answer in both subjects.

TIFR GS Exam Pattern for Computer and System Sciences

TIFR GS Exam pattern for Computer and System Sciences will contain MCQs and students have to complete the exam in 3 hours. The paper will be divided into 3 parts

AMathematical Aptitude
BComputer Science
CSystems Science

Among these three sections, students have the choice of doing only one. Negative Marking is there.

Searching for PhD entrance exams? Don’t forget to check out PhD After MBA!

List of Universities in India Offering PhD

Name of the University Location 
All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS)New Delhi 
National Institute of TechnologyPunjab
Institute of Microbial TechnologyChandigarh 
IITsVarious Locations 
PEC University of TechnologyPunjab
Amity School Of Engineering And TechnologyUttar Pradesh
SRM UniversitySonipat 
Jamia Millia IslamiaDelhi 
Chandigarh UniversityChandigarh 
Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityDelhi 
Jamia HamdardDelhi 
University of Petroleum and Energy Studies Dehradun 
University of Delhi Delhi 
Birla Institute of Technology Science Pilani 
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Delhi
Symbiosis International UniversityMaharashtra
Osmania UniversityTelangana
ICAR Indian Veterinary Research Institute BareillyUttar Pradesh
University of Hyderabad Hyderabad 
Indian Institute of ScienceBangalore 
Vellore Institute of TechnologyTamil Nadu

Know About the Commonwealth Scholarship- UG, PG, PhD

How to Apply for PhD Course in India?

There are various universities in India where students can apply for a PhD and take PhD entrance exams. These institutes provide a variety of research degrees. Each university in India has a set number of seats available. Some of these universities make their selections based on PhD entrance exams, interviews, and research proposals.

  • The PhD application process is offered in both online and offline formats in India.
  • To apply to a university, applicants must obtain or download the application form and prospectus for their individual courses by writing to the institution or obtaining the same online from the university’s official website.
  • For some universities, the PhD application forms must be delivered to the university’s official address before the deadline, together with the relevant documentation.
  • When it comes to the fee structure for a PhD programme, the average or tentative course fee is between INR 20,000 and INR 90,000 every year (varies from course to course and university to university).

PhD Entrance Exams for Studying Abroad

There are two main entrance exams that all candidates have to give in order to get admission to top universities in the world- IELTS and GRE. Here are some common requirements that PhD candidates have to fulfil in order to admission-

[Bonus] Pursuing PhD Abroad 

Other than the top PhD entrance exams, we have compiled a list of our major blogs on pursuing PhD abroad that you must check out:

Universities in Australia for PhDPhD in FrancePhD in Germany
PhD in EuropePhD in CanadaPhD in Australia

PhD Scholarships for Indian Students in India & Abroad

  •  Maulana Azad National fellowship 
  • Prime Minister Fellowship for Doctoral Research
  • Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Scholarships
  • Physical Research Laboratory Junior Research Fellowship
  • Google PhD Scholarships
  • ICHR Junior Research Fellowships (JRF)
  • Raman-Charpak Fellowship
  • MEXT Scholarship
  • ICSSR Doctoral Research Fellowship

Know More About PhD Scholarships in UK for Indian Students

Syllabus for PhD Entrance Exams

PhD is offered a wide range of courses from Engineering to Natural Sciences to Fine Arts. Most Indian and foreign entrance exams have two papers- one for General Studies and Research and the other is subject specific. The subject-specific papers can either be objective or subject in nature depending upon the exam and conducting authority. Here are the syllabus and topics covered in the general studies and research paper for all PhD entrance exam-

  • General Knowledge
  • Research Methodology
  • English Comprehension
  • Quantitative Aptitude
  • Maths 
  • Reasoning
  • Environmental Studies 
  • Teaching Aptitude
  • Communication Skills

Job Prospects after PhD

Following the completion of a PhD, one should assess his or her potential and look for positions that match his or her specific talents and expertise. Following a PhD, candidates may pursue one of the following careers:

  • Editor & Critic
  • Human Services Worker
  • Independent Consultant
  • Philosophical Journalist
  • Industrial R&D Lab professionals
  • Senior Research Scientist
  • Researcher
  • Scientist
  • Lecturer & Professor
  • Author & Writer
  • Journalist


What is the syllabus of the PhD entrance exam?

The model PhD Entrance Test Pattern is divided into two parts: Part A comprises of study questions in numerical ability, language skills, and logical thinking. Part B consists of technical questions about the subjects.

Can I do PhD without entrance?

Yes, you can pursue a PhD without having to pass the NET or JRF if you pass the written tests and interviews at the various institutions or institutes.

Can I complete PhD in 2 years?

A small proportion of students earn their PhDs in two years, while a small percentage of outstanding students accomplish it in 12 months. It’s difficult to stress how unusual and impressive this is, but it’s always possible. The key to a fast-track PhD is to develop a solid academic CV before you begin.

Is there any age limit for PhD?

No, there is no age limit for seeking a PhD in general.

Can I do PhD with 50% marks?

In an official Notice from MHRD dated 27 August 2018, the applicants from SC/ST/OBC (Speaking from Non-Creamy layers)/University category shall be permitted to relax by a 5 percent mark (from 50 percent to 45 percent).

What is the syllabus of PhD entrance exam?

Two components are included in the PhD entrance test pattern: Part A: Research issues in numerical capacity, linguistic skills and logical thinking are generally addressed. Part B: Technical issues linked to disciplines are discussed.

Does 12th marks matter in PhD?

No, it does not. Your 12th class is important if you wish to take UG entrance examinations, certain colleges require admission tests. Although admittance is based on class 12 iare your post graduationn several universities. The issues in your PhD admissions are your postgraduation. In the postgraduate period, the qualifying standards for Phd have been 50%.

Cracking any of the above-mentioned PhD entrance exams can turn out to be a difficult task for many. An alternative option to these tests is to apply for a doctoral degree abroad which can further provide you with international exposure into your chosen field of interest. Reach out to our Leverage Edu experts and we’ll help you in finding a suitable course and university as per your preferences and aspirations. Not only for this, but our head coaches will also assist you in drafting a perfect application that can get you successfully shortlisted. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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    1. Hey Somani,

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  1. Thank you for such a amazing article. I want to do phd in chemistry. So please provide me more information about exam pattern and books. Once again thank you soo much.. looking forward to hear from you more about my concern.