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What is NTA UGC NET JRF Exam?  Benefits of Qualifying NET Exams Complete Guide

As you all know there are two aspects to every field of study. The first is the R&D or the research and development aspect and the second is the application-based or the applied aspect. Take for instance the field of science. 

It comprises of the same 2 aspects as well, the research aspect (or the theoretical/experimental sciences) and the Application-based aspect (applied sciences). The applied aspect is essentially the one that takes the knowledge gained in the research aspect and uses it to achieve practical goals. 

This article is basically for those that are more interested in the former, i.e., the research aspect of any field of study. 

Now, those who go into research are also often the ones who teach in colleges and universities, as assistant professors and professors. These are the people that possess a more academic and research-oriented bent of mind.

So, if you are such a person, the NTA UGC NET JRF exam is for you. In this article I have written in detail about the topics of What the UGC NET is, What JRF means, the difference between NET and JRF, and finally, the benefits of clearing the UGC NET exam.

So, without wasting any more time let’s get on to the first topic.

What Is UGC NET?

So, to begin explaining what UGC NET is, let me first spell out some of its other popular synonyms. The UGC NET is also called the UGC NET JRF exam, the NTA UGC NET, the NTA UGC NET JRF exam, and so on. 

That said, the main 3 letter term out of all of these is NET. The NET is basically the National Eligibility Test. This is the test that you would need to clear in order to be eligible to go into the research field or to become a professor or academician in a college or university in India.  

The NET was started in the year 1989-1990 and is conducted by a body called the NTA or the National Testing Agency, across the nation. The exam is conducted by the NTA on behalf of the University Grants Commission or UGC, 2 times every year, for a total of 81 different subjects.

To know more about the UGC NET exam click here. 

Now, let me talk about the organizations of NTA and UGC a little, to put things into perspective.

About The Terminologies

The UGC is basically a statutory body, that was introduced by the Indian government in 1956, to determine, coordinate, and maintain the standards of higher education in the Nation.

Whereas the NTA is a government agency that was created in the November of 2017, to conduct entrance exams for the various institutes of higher learning across the nation.

With that said, let’s get back to what UGC NET is, it is an exam which is conducted twice every year, usually in the months of June and December, and is taken by more than a total of 10 lakh students annually, 5 in the June cycle and, 5 in December.

To read about the UGC NET exam dates, check the linked blog. 

Anyways, the purpose of the exam, as I have already mentioned above is to determine if you are eligible for the post of Assistant professor (AP)/Junior Research Fellow (JRF) or not.

JRF here refers to what is called the Junior Research Fellowship, which is awarded to the highest-scoring candidates in the UGC NET exams in their respective subjects. A JRF holder is awarded a JRF letter, which basically is a bearer document, with which they can avail a scholarship while pursuing their Ph.D. or M.Phil.

That said, to understand the difference between NET and JRF, you can read the section that comes below this one. There I have mentioned in detail what the difference between NET and JRF is.

About the Exam

Getting back to the topic of What is UGC NET, well the exam can be taken in 2 languages, either English or Hindi. 

The exam contains a total of 150 questions constituted as 2 papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2. 

Paper 1 has 50 Multiple choice questions (MCQs), asked from a total of ten subjects. The syllabus of paper 1 is the same for every UGC NET paper, irrespective of the subject.

Whereas Paper 2 consists of the rest of the 100 MCQs, and the syllabus for it is subject-specific.

As far as marks go, all the questions in a UGC NET exam carry 2 marks each, which takes the maximum marks for the UGC NET to 300.

Moreover, the exam is of 3 hours, and it is totally up to the candidate as to how he/she wants to divide the time between paper 1 and paper 2 of the UGC NET exam.

Read about the UGC NET exam pattern in detail by clicking here. 

That said, it’s now time for me to explain the difference between NET and JRF.

Difference Between NET and JRF

As I have mentioned in the section above, there’s not much of a difference between NET and JRF. The UGC NET and JRF are the same exams essentially. It’s just that to become a Junior Research Fellow, or to gain access to the Junior Research Fellowship program, you need to score significantly higher than some who just qualifies the NET.

To put things in perspective, only 6% of candidates that appear for the UGC NET exam, are able to score above their respective subjects UGC NET JRF cut offs. This means that only 6% of NET qualified candidates get to be called Junior Research Fellows.

Another important difference between NET and JRF is that of the age limit criteria. To apply for the NET, there is no age limit, but to apply for JRF, you cannot be more than 30 years of age.

Moreover, if you are able to qualify the NET exam, your NET qualifying certificate will be valid for the rest of your life, however, a JRF letter shall be valid for the next two years only.

Another difference, although a minor one between NET and JRF is this. A JRF will get scholarships during his tenure as one, but a NET qualifier is not eligible for scholarships.

Benefits of Clearing UGC NET Exam

The benefits of clearing the UGC NET exams are enormous. After clearing the UGC NET, you can gain access to a host of different jobs. You can be an assistant professor, or a JRF scholar pursuing his Ph.D., or a Project head at a Maharatna PSU. The possibilities are endless.

Let’s look at the Jobs that a UGC NET qualifier or a JRF holder can lay their hands on, and the kind of salaries and scholarships they might receive.

Jobs for Net Qualified & JRF Holders & Salaries 

The scope and benefits of clearing UGC NET exams, lie mostly in posts that are academic in their disposition and are most likely to be found in universities and colleges. 

According to the skill set you have; you can choose to teach the following class of students:

  • Undergraduate level students
  • Professional students
  • Post-doctorate fellows

Apart from the teaching and research posts in universities, the one who clears the UGC NET can also choose to work in specific PSUs that accept a UGC NET qualification score in the hiring process.

UGC NET JRF Scholarships

Assuming that you become eligible for the Junior Research Fellowship program (JRF) after scoring well in your UGC NET exams, you may choose to pursue your Ph.D. in any university or institute that comes under the NET coordinated institutes.  

  • Being a JRF you become entitled to receive a fellowship for 5 years.
  • The fellowship, for the first 2 years will include a monthly stipend of (31000 INR + House rent allowance)/month. For the next 3 years the stipend increases to (35000INR along with the HRA)/month.

Salary of an Assistant Professor

As I have mentioned in the above sections, clearing the UGC NET and becoming an assistant professor is not as hard as becoming a junior research fellow. 

However, if selected, you can expect an initial salary ranging from 30000 INR – 60000 INR per month (for private institutes), and 70000 INR – 120000 INR (for govt. institutes). The salary is generally computed after considering your skills, UGC NET scores, and the institute you applied to.

Oh! By the way, if you want to know more about the salary of a UGC NET qualifier, click here. 

Also, you may choose to join as a teacher at a UGC NET coaching institute. 

Public Sector Jobs & Other Career Options 

You may also apply to some of the most renowned Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) after your UGC NET qualification. 

Given below is a list of PSUs that accept recruits by looking at their UGC NET scorecards. For more information on the dates and selection process in these PSUs, you may visit their official websites.

  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL)
  • Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) 
  • Power Grid Corporation of India Limited
  • Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL)
  • National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC)
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC)
  • Oil India Limited (OIL)
  • Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL)

Other academic job prospects after clearing UGC NET:

  • Transmission Executive
  • IP Lead
  • Guest Faculty
  • Coaching Tutor
  • Program Executive
  • Canter Manager
  • Lab Trainer
  • Consultant


That brings us to the end of our article. I hope that you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did, writing it. In it, I have talked extensively on the topics such as What is the UGC NET exam, The exam pattern of the UGC NET exam, the difference between NET and JRF, and the many benefits of clearing the UGC NET exam. With that, I would like to bid you farewell and the best of luck!

Have a great day!


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