Is UGC NET and CSIR NET the Same? Eligibility, Exam Pattern, and Career Scope

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Aspiring teachers and research fellows in India often come across two national-level exams, UGC NET and CSIR NET, conducted by the National Testing Agency(NTA). Both acronyms sound similar, and some might wonder if they are essentially the same test. While they share some common goals, UGC NET and CSIR NET cater to different academic disciplines and career scopes.

The UGC NET June cycle is expected to be conducted in June, however, the NTA will release the UGC NET notification soon on the official portal at ugcnet.nta.nic.in. This blog will help you with the details about these exams, providing a comprehensive overview of the UGC NET and CSIR NET in subjects, eligibility, exam pattern, and career opportunities. 

Before learning about the Difference between UGC NET and CSIR NET, let’s see the exam overview.

UGC NET vs CSIR NET Exam Conducting Body

Both the UGC NET and the CSIR NET are important exams for aspiring researchers and teachers in India, a main difference lies in who conducts them. Let’s break down the conducting bodies for UGC NET and CSIR NET exams.

UGC NET (University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test)

  • It’s conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  • NTA is a central government agency responsible for conducting various entrance exams in India.

CSIR NET (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research National Eligibility Test)

  • It’s conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) itself.
  • CSIR is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, promoting scientific and industrial research in the country.

UGC, with its broader focus on higher education, offers a wider range of subjects in the NET exam. CSIR, focusing on scientific research, offers subjects solely in the science domain.

Also Read: UGC NET Vs CSIR NET

Similarities Between UGC NET & CSIR NET

Even though UGC NET and CSIR NET are for different academic fields, they have some things in common that make them good choices for aspiring in India who want to become academics. Here is a list of these areas of shared ground.

Exam Purpose

Both exams act as a gateway to two prestigious academic opportunities:

  • Assistant Professor: Qualifying candidates become eligible for Assistant Professor positions in universities and colleges across India.
  • Junior Research Fellowship (JRF): This fellowship provides financial assistance to pursue research in their chosen field.

Exam Frequency

  • Both UGC NET and CSIR NET are conducted twice a year, typically in June/July and December/November.
  • This regular schedule allows candidates to strategize their exam attempts effectively.

Evaluation Method

Both exams assess candidates’ knowledge through a two-part structure

  • General Aptitude Test: This section evaluates reasoning ability, comprehension skills, data interpretation, and logical thinking, which are crucial for academic success.
  • Subject-Specific Test: This section delves deep into your knowledge and understanding of the chosen subject area within the respective disciplines of UGC NET and CSIR NET.

National Level Recognition

  • Both UGC NET and CSIR NET are recognized as national-level eligibility tests.
  • Qualifying in these exams demonstrates your academic competence and opens doors to various academic positions and research opportunities across India.

Qualifying Procedure

  • Candidates are chosen based on how well they perform on their tests.
  • The top 6% of applicants for Assistant Professor are deemed qualified, while the top 2% – 3% of applicants for JRF and Assistant Professor are deemed qualified.

Difference Between UGC NET and CSIR NET?

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) National Eligibility Test and the University Grants Commission (UGC) National Eligibility Test are both national tests in India, but they are not the same and test on different topics.

Exam Focus:

  • UGC NET covers a wider range of subjects across Humanities, Social Sciences, Commerce, Management, Law, Education, and more (around 83 subjects).
  • CSIR NET  focuses solely on science subjects including Chemical Sciences, Earth Sciences, Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Mathematical Sciences (only 5 subjects).

Conducting Body:

  • UGC NET is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  • CSIR NET is conducted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) itself.

Exam Pattern:

  • Both exams consist of two parts: General Aptitude (reasoning, comprehension) and a chosen subject-specific section.
  • Weightage for each section may differ slightly between the two exams.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Minimum qualifying marks or other criteria might vary based on the conducting body’s regulations.

Mode of Examination:

  • UGC NET: Conducted as a Computer-Based Test (CBT).
  • CSIR NET: Conducted in the offline mode (pen and paper).

Age Limit:

  • Both exams might have age limitations, particularly for availing Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) benefits.

UGC NET & CSIR NET Mode of Examination

While both UGC NET and CSIR NET assess your academic performance, a significant difference lies in how you tackle the exam itself – the mode of examination. Here’s a breakdown of this important difference in the mode of examination.

For UGC NET

  • Conducted as a Computer-Based Test (CBT).
  • You’ll use a computer interface to navigate the exam, read questions, and mark your answers.
  • This format was recently adopted, so familiarity with computer-based testing is beneficial.

For CSIR NET

  • Conducted in the traditional offline mode, also known as the pen-and-paper mode.
  • You’ll receive a paper question booklet and an OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) sheet to mark your answers.
  • Managing time effectively and strategically marking answers on the OMR sheet become crucial skills.

UGC NET & CSIR NET Eligibility Criteria

Both UGC NET and CSIR NET can help you get a job in your academic career, but there are some small differences in the requirements to be eligible for each. Here are the most important things you need to do to make sure you meet the requirements.

ParametersUGC NET 
CSIR NET
Educational Qualification Post-graduation in relevant streams such as Humanities, Social Science, Electronic Science,
Computer Science &
Applications, etc. with at least 55% marks aggregate.
Degree in BTech/BE/BPharma/MBBS/BS (4 years)/Integrated BS-MS/MSc with minimum 55% marks aggregate
Age LimitFor JRF, candidates should be a maximum of 30 years of age.
There is no upper age limit for lectureship.
For JRF, candidates should be a maximum of 28 years of age. There is no upper age limit for lectureship.
For Reserved CategorySecured at least 50% marks (without rounding off) in a Master’s degree or equivalent examination are eligible for this test. 50% for SC/ST, Persons with Disability (PwD) candidates.

UGC NET Vs CSIR NET Exam Pattern

The UGC NET and the CSIR NET both use an organized exam design to test how well you can do in school. Both exams are usually conducted for 3 hours. Here is a list of the most important elements to help you strategize effectively.

Two-Part Structure: Both exams consist of two parts

  • General Aptitude Test (50 Marks): This section evaluates your reasoning ability, comprehension skills, data interpretation, and logical thinking. It typically consists of 20-30 questions.
  • Subject-Specific Test (150 Marks): This section dives deep into your knowledge and understanding of the chosen subject. The number of questions and weightage might vary slightly between UGC NET and CSIR NET.

UGC NET Exam Pattern

ParticularsDetails
Mode of examComputer Based Test (CBT)
Total number of papers Paper 1 and Paper 2 
Marking Scheme +2 Marks for Correct Answer and No negative marking
Number of Question150 Questions in totalPaper 1: 50 Questions Paper 2: 100 Questions 
Time DurationPaper 1: 1 Hour Paper 2: 2 Hour
Language of Medium English and Hindi.
Total Marks Paper 1: 100 Marks Paper 2: 200 Marks 

CSIR NET Exam Pattern

ParticularsDetails
Mode of exam Offline
Total number of subjects5
Marking Scheme +2 for the correct answer;
Negative marking of 25 percent (33 percent for some sections)
Number of QuestionEarth Sciences: 75 MCQs
Chemical Sciences: 75 MCQs 
Life Sciences: 75 MCQs 
Mathematical Sciences: 60 MCQs 
Physical Sciences: 55 MCQs
Time Duration3 hours
Language of Medium English and Hindi
Total Marks 200

UGC NET vs CSIR NET Career Scope

If you pass either the UGC NET or the CSIR NET, you can go on to many exciting careers in science and academics. Here’s a plan to help you look at the possible chances that lie ahead.

ParticularUGC NETCSIR NET
Areas of functioningHumanities, Education, History, and more Science & Mathematics
Working atColleges, academic research institutesScientific Government Laboratories, academic research entities in Science
Appointment Academic institutes across India 
Research institutes across India 
PostsJRF (Junior Research Fellow),
SRF (Senior Research Fellow),
PF (Project Fellow),
SPF (Senior Project Fellow),
PA (Project Assistant/Associate), SPA (Senior Project Assistant/Associate),
Author Senior Author, and Project Manager Project Head
Scientist B,
Scientist C,
Scientist D,
Scientist E,
Scientist F,
Scientist G,
Scientist H,
Distinguished Scientist,
Secretary DRDO,
DG R&D and Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri (SA to RM),
Junior Research Fellow,
Senior Research Fellow, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor

FAQ’s

Which is better, CSIR NET or UGC NET?

If you pass the UGC NET test, you can work for UGC organizing schools. Candidates who pass the CSIR NET test, on the other hand, can work at CSIR Research Laboratories.

What is the salary of CSIR NET and UGC NET?

The CSIR UGC NET JRF grant amount for someone who passed the CSIR NET test is INR 31,000 for the first two years of the fellowship.

Can I get a job after CSIR NET?

If you pass the CSIR NET test, you can get a lot of different jobs in India and other countries, like Assistant Professor, Researcher, working in top research labs, and more.

UGC NET Admit Card
UGC NET Exam Date
Best Books for UGC NET
UGC NET Exam Analysis
UGC NET Mock Test List of UGC NET Participating Colleges and Universities

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