Career Options after UGC NET

Nidhi Mishra updated on : 02 Mar 2017

A UGC-NET qualification can be an asset when you want to go into the teaching or educational field as well as want to earn a high income and good research options in national-level organisations and educational institutions.

Career Options after UGC NET

About UGC NET:

Many of you may have heard of the UGC NET examination but may not know how to go about it. Some of you may know about the exam or may have taken it, but may not be aware of making use of this qualification. Here, we sort out every query related to the UGC NET exam, the process to appear for it, and career options after UGC NET. Let us make you aware of what this test means to your future career. NET refers to the National Entrance Test held by UGC or University Grants Commission. Nowadays, CBSE or Central Board of Secondary Education holds the exam on behalf of UGC.  

Eligibility and Selection Criteria for UGC NET:

Whether you want to take up a teaching job in a college or university or want to pursue your career after post-graduation in the field of research, you can go for UGC NET exam. There are numerous career options after UGC NET if you are an Indian national. Any Indian citizen residing in India is eligible to appear for this exam in order to be assessed for his/her suitability for the award of UGC/CSIR – NET/JRF fellowships. The exam judges the appearing candidates for their eligibility for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Assistant Professor in both Indian universities and colleges.

The candidates who qualify this exam can be awarded either a lectureship or JRF or both, based on their performance in all three papers that are part of this exam. Further, to appear for the UGC NET exam and especially be considered for JRF, candidates have to be below 28 years of age, and they should have passed a Master’s degree course in any subject with at least 55% marks from any UGC-recognised university. Otherwise, there is no upper age limit for consideration for the award of Assistant Professor. When qualified candidates seek career options after UGC NET, they can pursue research in their subject of post-graduation or in a related subject. However, they are also eligible for being the Assistant Professor.

On the other hand, candidates qualifying only for Assistant Professor are not considered for being awarded the JRF. Thus, such candidates will not be able to make use of their NET qualification for research career options after UGC NET. However, they can go for research by following other paths. CSBE conducts the UGC NET exam in more than 80 subjects. Usually, the exam is held in 90 chosen cities spread across India. Thus, you will have an exam centre close by when you appear for NET.

NET Examination Procedure and Pattern:

If you want to explore excellent career options after UGC NET, then you will first need to appear for the exam by following the below-mentioned procedure. Find out how you can go about qualifying this important test:

Procedure and Pattern to follow for NET Examination:

S. No.

NET Exam Procedure Steps



Application Process

After ensuring eligibility, you need to submit an online application form and exam fee through an e-challan at any of the allowed bank branches or through credit/debit card. No other certificates/documents are required at this stage.


Test Pattern

NET involves three papers with objective-type questions. These are mostly conducted on the same day, in different sessions.

  • Paper I: This paper is of 100 marks. You need to attempt 50 out of the given 60 questions in 1¼hours.
  • Paper II: This paper is of 100 marks. You need to attempt all the given 50 questions in 1¼hours.
  • Paper III: This paper is of 150 marks. You need to attempt all the given 75 questions in 2½hours.
  • 3.

Assessment Areas

The first paper assesses your research/teaching aptitude, as well as comprehension, reasoning ability, divergent thinking, and general awareness. The other two papers test your skills/knowledge in your chosen subject.



Based on candidates’ meeting the minimum marks criteria in each paper and aggregate marks in all three papers, a merit list of top 15% candidates for each subject/category is qualified for Assistant Professor. Per a special formula, JRFs are awarded to opting candidates.

Career Opportunities Awarded by NET:

While you are awarded a NET qualification by UGC, it does not mean your direct recruitment by any Indian college or university. Your will need to explore your research and teaching career options after UGC NET. Following are the major options before you:

  • Lectureship at Private Colleges/Universities: Whether you have done post-graduation in a language subject or a professionally oriented subject like management or engineering, you can take and qualify the NET examination. After clearing the exam, you can find excellent teaching job opportunities in your subject of post-graduation or in a related subject. You can go for positions like a lecturer and assistant professor. After gaining a few years of job experience, you may progress to become a professor in your teaching domain.

However, to explore these career options after UGC NET, you will have to apply for a particular position in a specific college or university department. Further, you will need to appear for a separate interview or meet selection criteria of that particular college or university department. NET does not offer a direct entry into any teaching department. You should keep a check on the open vacancies in private colleges. A lecturer’s post can fetch you a good salary, which may be around Rs. 40k/month, varying by the college rules.

  • Lectureship at Government Colleges/Universities: Similar to private colleges, you can apply for a lecturer, reader, or assistant professor position in the government colleges or universities too. You should follow their selection criteria while NET qualification adds to it. If you have also been awarded JRF, it is considered to be very prestigious at the time of recruitment in government colleges/universities in India. The jobs in the government institutions make you eligible for a salary per the Government of India pay commission rules for teaching and lectureship.
  • PSU Jobs: According to UGC’s 2013 announcement, NET-qualified candidates can now go for appealing jobs in the public sector or PSUs. These PSUs can utilise the NET scores while recruitment executives in various disciplines, such as HR, finance, corporate communications, management, research and development, etc. Thus, you have a great advantage in PSUs if you have cleared the UGC NET exam. It can fetch you higher salaries as soon as you get into a profession.
  • Research Opportunities: If you have also qualified for JRF and you are seeking good research career options after UGC NET, then it is required to first find a post in a national-level organisation like CSIR or in a university/institution like IIT. This can ensure you a fellowship under varied schemes. Your fellowship from UGC NET remains valid for two years from the date of the issuance of your award letter.

Institutions or organisations may recruit you for full-time research work per their defined procedures. Apart from that, pursuing PhD from a UGC-recognised institution after receiving JRF will be a great option for you, as you will not have to go through the PhD entrance exams. In addition, you will get full funding for five years (two years as JRF and three additional years as SRF/senior research fellow), provided you pursue research in your subject area. 

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