UGC panel proposes new ‘BS’ degree for 4-year science, arts, commerce programmes

The BA, BSc, BCom will be used for 3-year programmes. The final regulations will be issued in two months, said UGC chairman.

UGC panel proposes new ‘BS’ degree for 4-year science, arts, commerce programmes Current three-year honours degree programme will continue alongside the four-year honours degree programme. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
R. Radhika | Jun 8, 2023 - 3:30 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: If it goes as planned, fouryear undergraduate programmes in any discipline, including arts, social sciences, management will soon be called “Bachelor of Science”, or BS, according to the University Grants Commission.

In sync with the international norms and the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, a UGC expert committee has recommended modification of degree names. The Bachelor of Science specified nomenclature, currently used as BSc for science-related subjects, will be applicable to disciplines including sciences, engineering and technology, arts, humanities, social sciences, business administration, management and commerce, says the committee’s draft report. For instance, BA (Economics) can also be called BS (Economics) where BS Economics students will study the same subjects as BA Economics.

The restructuring, according to the panel report, intends to accommodate provisions for multiple entry and exit and the National Credit Framework (NCrF) and the Curriculum and Credit Framework for Undergraduate Programmes (CCFUP) in higher education.

Other existing three-year degrees—BA, BCom and BSc – will continue to exist with the same names The general objective, the report states, is for all degrees to “follow a common basic structure for nomenclature”.

“The draft recommendations are posted today on the UGC website for stakeholder feedback. After that it will be put in the commission for approval. Once the commission approves, the final regulations will be put out for implementation. This whole process may take about two months,” UGC chairman Jagadesh Kumar told Careers360.

Masters and Honours degrees

Similarly, one-year or two-year postgraduate courses in any discipline will also have a Master of Science, or MS, as a specified nomenclature. This again includes subjects in humanities, arts, social sciences, management among other science programmes. The MPhil degree will be discontinued from the list of specified degrees in accordance with the recommendations of NEP 2020.

The four-year undergraduate honours degree programme will include ‘Hons’ in brackets, such as BA (Hons), BCom (Hons), or BS (Hons). An honours degree programme with research components embedded into it will have ‘research’ in brackets. For example, BA (Hons with Research) and BCom (Hons with Research) will be the names for such degrees.

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In case of specialisation or a major subject at the undergraduate level, the programme nomenclature on the degree certificate awarded to the students can also be written as “Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Commerce or Bachelor of Science in specialisation”, the report states. For example, a Bachelor of Arts in Music may also be a specified nomenclature such as BA (Music). The university is free to offer interdisciplinary and innovative specialisations in these programmes.

While the degrees of BVoc and MVoc will continue, additionally, vocational programmes can also be offered as BA, BCom, BSc, BS in vocational studies at the undergraduate level, the panel recommended. Similarly, M Voc can be offered as MA, M Com, MSc or MS. For example, BA in Vocational Studies (Handicraft).

The UGC has constituted a standing committee to scrutinise and add more degree names as and when needed by universities. The commission will notify new changes with a comprehensive list, including the names of all previously specified degrees as well, for ease of reference and clarity.

However, the panel has clarified that the new degree names will only be applicable on a “prospective basis” and existing degree names will continue to be used even after the introduction of the new names. Therefore, the current three-year honours degree programme will continue alongside the four-year honours degree programme.

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