The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has scrapped its integrated MPhil/PhD programme, with the aspirants will now have to sit for a separate entrance examination to avail the varsity's PhD programme.
"Candidates who have applied for MPhil/PhD for the academic year 2018-19 will be considered for MPhil programme only. The MPhil programme will now be a terminal degree as per the decision taken in the 144th Academic Council (AC) meeting held on December 1," said a notification printed on admit cards for JNU Entrance Examination (JNUEE).
JNU Rector I Chintamani Mahapatra said the move would benefit a wide section of students.
"The new University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations allow even MA (postgraduate) students to compete for the PhD programme directly. Now, MA and MPhil students, from across the country, can apply for the JNU's prestigious doctorate programme," he said.
The varsity's integrated MPhil/PhD programme had allowed MPhil students with adequate pass percentage to pursue PhD without having to sit for an entrance examination. Even the MPhil students, from outside the varsity, could pursue the doctorate programme at JNU after clearing an interview. But the recent notification makes it compulsory for PhD aspirants to crack the varsity entrance examination.
Mahapatra said the integrated programme had restricted many students from taking up PhD at the prestigious varsity.
However, the JNU Teachers Association called it an "illegal move" and claimed that the Academic Council meeting had not taken any such decision.
"Rather it was the vice chancellor who announced that he would be setting up a committee to look into a proposal. It was not endorsed by any other member of the AC. It should also be noted that there was no discussion or even unilateral announcement regarding delinking the MPhil and PhD programme for the ongoing admissions," JNUTA president and an AC member, Ayesha Kidwai said.
The JNUTA demands immediate withdrawal of the announcement, she said.
The JNU Entrance Examination for 2018-19 academic session is scheduled between December 23 and December 27.