UGC NET vs CSIR NET: How similar or different they are?

By Editorial

Though the National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts UGC NET and CSIR NET exams, it is important to remember that both the exams are quite different from one another. Having a good idea about the two will help you to avoid getting confused about them. The exams are taken by those students who want to do research or teach at colleges and universities.

Know more: National Testing Agency Official Site


The students who clear either the CSIR-NET or UGC-NET become eligible for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and for lectureship in different Indian colleges and universities. After clearing the NET exam, one can apply for an assistant professor post or as a JRF fellow. Having a good knowledge of the two exams will enable you to understand which one suits your needs the most.


  • The stipend amount of a Junior Research Fellow (JRF) either through CSIR or UGC is Rs 31000 per month in the first two years. 
  • The annual contingency grant amount of Rs 20000 to each fellow will be given to the university. 
  • After the completion of two years as JRF, if you register for Ph.D., the fellowship gets upgraded to SRF and the stipend amount increases to 35000 INR per month.

Subjects of test

  • The CSIR NET exam is organized for life science, chemical sciences, mathematical sciences, physical sciences, and earth atmospheric ocean and planetary science. 
  • The UGC NET on the other hand consists of eighty-one subjects. The candidates are always advised to appear for the test in that subject in which they have completed their Masters's degree. In the case of non-availability of that subject, the candidate can then opt for a related subject to the one in which they have completed their postgraduate degree. 

Qualifying marks

  • If you have scored 55 percent marks, you can sit for the CSIR exam. For reserved category candidates, 50 percent marks are required to sit for the exam. 
  • This criterion is also the same for the candidates wanting to sit for the UGC NET exam for the post of assistant professor. The top six percent of candidates are shortlisted for the assistant professor post.


  • For CSIR, there is no upper age limit. However, for JRF, the age limit is 28 years. 
  • In UGC NET, the upper age limit for JRF is 30 years while for applying to the post of assistant professor, there is no age limit.

Pattern of exam

  • The CSIR exam consists of three sections. The questions are objective, multiple-choice questions. There is no break between the papers. The first section has 20 questions, the second has 40 questions while the third has 60 questions. Out of this, a candidate has to attempt 75 questions. Each question is of two marks and the total exam is of 200 marks. For every wrong answer that a candidate gives, 0.5 marks will be deducted in the first and second sections. In the third section, one mark will be deducted for every wrong answer.
  • The UGC NET consists of two papers. The first paper consists of teaching, researching the aptitude of the candidates. The second paper is based on the subject that the candidate has selected. The first paper is of 100 marks while the second is of 200 marks. 

Similarities between CSIR and UGC NET :

  • Purpose: The exams are conducted for appointing Assistant Professors and JRF.
  • Qualification: Performance basis selection is done. Top 6% of candidates qualify for the post of Assistant Professor and 2-3% for JRF and Assistant Professor. 
  • Frequency: Both the exams are conducted twice a year (July and December).

Having an idea of the similarities and differences between the two exams will help a student to understand which one to sit for and which will fulfill their needs the best.




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