UGC’s PG guidelines propose 1-year master’s degree, flexibility to change subjects

UGC’s draft guidelines propose three designs for postgraduate programmes – one year and two-year master’s degrees and an integrated five-year one.

UGC’s PG guidelines propose 1-year master’s degree, flexibility to change subjects UGC proposes subjects like machine learning and AI in combination with professional areas like healthcare, agriculture and law. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
R. Radhika | Nov 17, 2023 - 4:11 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The University Grants Commission’s (UGC) new draft guidelines on postgraduate programmes has proposed flexibility in choosing courses, credit framework and duration.

According to the UGC’s draft Curriculum and Credit Framework for Postgraduate Programmes released on Friday for public comment, universities will have the option to offer different designs of master’s programmes. There are three designs of the UGC PG programme — one-year master, two-year master, and an integrated five-year programme.

Students completing a four-year bachelor’s programme with honours and research component will be eligible to enrol in a year-long master’s programme. Students who have completed the three-year bachelor’s programme will be eligible for a two-year postgraduate programme with the second year devoted entirely to research. Students can opt out of this programme after one year and take up a PG diploma instead. An integrated five-year bachelor’s and master’s programme has also been suggested in the guidelines.

The UGC has also proposed flexibility to move from one discipline of study to another depending on the preference of the student. Aligned with the National Higher Education Qualifications Framework (NHEQF) and National Credit Framework (NCrF), the three types of master’s programmes will be so structured that “creditization” of all learning and assignment, accumulation, storage, transfer and redemption of credits, subject to assessment can be facilitated, the guidelines say.

The draft guidelines further recommends that universities offer postgraduate programmes in core areas such as machine learning as well as multidisciplinary fields, for instance, AI in combination with professional areas like healthcare, agriculture and law.

Postgraduate Degree: Subject flexibility

As per the new National Education Policy (NEP 2020), the draft guidelines facilitate changing of subjects which are different from what they have studied in their undergraduate programmes. “Irrespective of the major or minor disciplines chosen by a student in a UG programme, a student is eligible for admission in any discipline of master’s programmes if the student qualifies the national level or university level entrance examination in the discipline of the master’s programme,” the guidelines state.

Students who studied STEM subjects will also be eligible to enrol for technical degrees like master’s in engineering or masters of technology (ME or MTech) or allied areas.

The proposed guidelines have given students the liberty to pursue two academic programmes at the master’s level. Students can choose to pursue two full-time academic programmes in the physical mode or a combination of a full-time physical mode and another programme in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) or Online mode.

Also, students who graduated with a double major can choose either subjects at the master’s level. If the student has graduated with a major and minor can choose either at the postgraduate level.

The guidelines also incorporate work experience credits at the master’s level. If a learner acquires work experience relevant to the PG programme they desire to pursue, the work experience can be credited after assessment as per the NCrF. The universities, the draft suggests, can modify the duration of the programme accordingly.

Master’s Degree: Course components

Students opting for a two-year postgraduate programme can either choose to do only course work in the end semester of each year or course work in the third semester and research in the fourth semester. Such students can also dedicate the entire second year to research alone. The same components will be applicable at the PG level in the five-year integrated programme. Regardless of the choice, students will earn a total of 40 credits.

In the one-year master’s programme, students will be free to do coursework or research exclusively or a combination of both for a total of 40 credits.

Credits for PG programmes




Total Credit Points

PG Diploma




1-Year PG after 4-year UG




2-year PG after 3-year UG




2-Year PG after a 4-year UG such as BE, BTech




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