Explainer: How UGC’s dual-degree programme will work – admissions, exams, credits

UGC Guidelines: The UGC today announced it will allow students to pursue two degrees of the same level but at different institutions together

Explainer: How UGC’s dual-degree programme will work – admissions, exams, credits UGC chairman Jagadesh Kumar said students from IIT Delhi can opt for a BA in German in JNU as per the new UGC guidelines
R. Radhika | Apr 12, 2022 - 6:19 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Students in India will soon have the option to customise their higher education programmes as per their preference. The University Grants Commission (UGC) is set to release detailed guidelines allowing students to pursue two different degrees simultaneously from this academic year.

The new guidelines give students the liberty of choosing two physical degrees, or a combination of physical and online degrees. Anyone can choose to study for two different online degrees or even diplomas, depending on the eligibility criteria. The decision aligns with several universities, after UGC approval, offering online degree programmes soon.

As long as the time schedules of the programmes do not clash, students will have the option to pursue different subjects at the same time. The new guidelines will apply to courses offered at undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma and certificate courses.

“We want the students to have maximum flexibility when it comes to higher education. These guidelines will allow students to identify and realise their potential,” said UGC chairman Jagadesh M Kumar on Tuesday. “We are making it easier for the students to customise their education and increase their choice of what they want to study,” he added.

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After the official release of the guidelines website, Kumar said, the UGC will direct university statutory bodies to frame their respective ordinances. While the guidelines are expected to be released on UGC website on Wednesday, they will not be mandatory for universities to adopt.

The UGC guidelines allow students to choose alternate models of learning. Students will be able to shift from one institution to another and switch from

What will be the mode of learning under the UGC 2 degree rule?

face-to-face, online or hybrid mode of learning. However, if a student wishes to study two different programmes in physical mode, the universities offering these courses must be near each other. “ For eg, a BTech student in IIT [Indian Institute of Technology] Delhi can choose to take up BA in German or French in JNU [Jawaharlal Nehru University]. Of course, one of these programmes should be in the evening so as to avoid clashes. It is rare that two top universities are situated close to each other. That is why we allow flexibility in terms of mode of learning. Students can take up online degrees or distance learning programmes,” explained Kumar.

What will be the admission policy to study two different courses?

For each course, the admission policies will be finalised by the respective university. For an undergraduate course in a central university, students will have to appear for the Central University Entrance Test (CUET 2022) whereas anyone who has cleared Class 12 can opt for online programmes. The university will have to frame its own academic ordinances based on the UGC guidelines on two degrees which will govern this arrangement. For courses that are offered by the different institutions, their respective statutory bodies will have to decide on the eligibility criteria. If a student fulfils the requirements, they will be eligible for admission to the programme. Each university will also decide on the seat allotment process as well.

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Can a student change their academic programme?

Like most of the courses offered after the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP 2020), this arrangement will also come under the multiple-entry-multiple-exit mandate. Students can choose to drop from one course and join another as per their wish, provided they fulfil the credit requirements. Moreover, if a student wishes to join another additional programme, they can do so anytime during the course of their first degree or diploma programme.

What will be the credit requirement for two different courses?

Students will be required to earn all the credits that are necessary to earn a degree, diploma or certificate. This will also apply to similar courses that share some subjects. For instance, a few courses in BA Economics and BBA can be the same, however, if a student is studying both courses, they must earn credit for all courses in both academic programmes. There will be no concession on credit requirements.

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Q Can a student choose to study a postgraduate (PG) course along with a bachelor's level degree?

The UGC guideline allows students to choose any combination of degree programmes provided they are offered at the same level. A bachelor's student cannot be admitted directly to a postgraduate course. “The student can choose to pursue two different undergraduate courses or two different postgraduate programmes. If a student is studying only one undergraduate programme, they will not be eligible for a PG course,” said Kumar. The new guidelines are applicable to only lecture-based courses like undergraduate, postgraduate, diploma and certificate courses. Mphil and PhD do not fall under the new guidelines.

Q What will be the method of examination for two different courses?

The universities and educational institutions will be required to draw exam schedules based on the enrollment of students in different programmes. “ If two or more universities have signed an agreement on offering courses simultaneously, they can also design the exam schedule that will be well suited for the students,” said Kumar.

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