Difference Between NET and JRF: Are they Same?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

Difference Between NET and JRF: UGC NET and CSIR NET are two of the most prominent eligibility tests in the country that determine whether a candidate is eligible for the post of Assistant Professor in a college. But what is JRF? Well, JRF which stands for Junior Research Fellowship, is a scholarship awarded by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to candidates who qualify for the NET exam. It is basically a certificate awarded to candidates who wish to pursue research in their specific field. Let us discuss the difference between NET and JRF in detail by understanding both terms separately.

CSIR NET Exam Analysis 2023:

Difference Between NET and JRF

The National Eligibility Test (NET), otherwise known as UGC NET or NTA-UGC-NET, is an assessment to determine eligibility for the post of Assistant Professor and additionally Junior Research Fellowship in Indian colleges and universities. While applying for CSIR NET or UGC NET, candidates often have doubts about the difference between NET and JRF. They also wonder whether they should apply for JRF along with NET or not. Well, the answer lies in the purpose of the application. If a candidate aspires to become a Lecturer or Assistant Professor in a college or university, they must take the NET exam. However, the aspirants who wish to pursue research in their chosen field must also apply for JRF. Hence, JRF is simply an additional certificate that will allow the candidate to go into the world of research and not just qualify to become a Professor.

CSIR NET Memory Based Question Papers 2023:

What is UGC NET?

The National Eligibility Test (NET), otherwise known as UGC NET or NTA-UGC-NET, is an assessment to decide eligibility for the post of Assistant Professor and additionally Junior Research Fellowship in Indian colleges and universities. National Eligibility Test Junior Research Fellowship is a part of UGC NET.

  • The evaluation is directed by the National Testing Agency for the benefit of the University Grants Commission. Till July 2018, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) led the
  • UGC NET exam, which the NTA has been conducting since December 2018.
  • As of now, the exam is being conducted twice a year in the months of June and December in online mode.
  • Apart from being eligible for the Assistant Professor post after qualifying for this exam, candidates who are planning to pursue Ph.D. can get a lot of relaxation by qualifying for this exam.
  • NET-qualified candidates are exempted from the entrance test for Ph.D. admission (some universities are exceptions). It also gives weightage to NET-JRF-qualified candidates in the admission process. If you qualify for JRF, you have to pursue Ph.D. A research fellowship will also be awarded during the course.

What is NET JRF?

JRF Full Form is Junior Research Fellowship. Basically, JRF holders are the Creamy layer of the candidates qualifying for the NET exam.

  • JRF letter/e-certificate means that a JRF holder can pursue M.Phil./Ph.D.
  • This is a letter provided to the applicants who have cleared the cut off for UGC NET JRF in their respective subjects. JRF letter is largely a carrier report through which you will be able to get a scholarship even while doing your M.Phil./Ph.D.
  • You must not be more than 31 years of age to be eligible for a JRF.
  • The goal behind JRF is to encourage college students to pursue an M.Phil./Ph.D. NTA announces cut-offs – one for clearing NET (which makes you eligible to apply for assistant professorship) and another for JRF.
  • The e-certificate/rating is valid for three years while the UGC NET Certificate rating is valid for life.
  • UGC grants to the top 6% of candidates in the UGC NET exam.

What is Assistant Professor?

Becoming an Assistant professor at a university is one of the prestigious career paths for candidates. NTA and CSIR conduct an exam twice a year to select eligible candidates for the lectureship program. CSIR NET prepares the merit list to offer Lectureship and JRF to the eligible candidates. Candidates who qualify for the lectureship program can apply for the assistant professor in government universities and private universities. Still, they will not be eligible for the Ph.D. program or regular Junior research fellowship

A lectureship is an excellent option for those candidates who enjoy a particular subject and wants to make their career as an assistant professor. Government Раy bundle оf Аssistаnt Рrоfessоrs аt Gоvernment Universities begins with leаst СTС оf 6 Lаkhs.

What is Junior Research Fellowship?

Candidates who qualify for the NET-JRF exam like CSIR or UGC NET will get an opportunity to undertake higher education and research leading to a Ph.D. degree in the subject of their specialization. Lectureship-qualified candidates will not be eligible to participate in a Junior research fellowship. After clearing the exam, a candidate must face an interview to take Ph.D. admission at different universities. The fellowship’s tenure will be 2 years, but it will be increased to 3 years more if the research work is found satisfactory. The candidate will get a stipend of 25,000 in starting year during the research program.

Also check: Difference between UGC NET and CSIR NET

Assistant Professor vs Junior Research Fellowship (JRF)

We will discuss the major difference between NET and JRF by going over the major aspects included in Lectureship and the JRF program.

Career Options Available for Lectureship and JRF

Check all the career options available after qualifying for the Lectureship and JRF Program mentioned below:

1. Career Options for Assistant Professors:

The Assistant Professor position is considered one of the country’s most prestigious and respectful jobs. Some benefits of joining as an assistant professor are mentioned below.

S. No. Positions Position after Promotion
1 Junior Assistant Professor Assistant Professor
2 Assistant Professor Senior Assistant Professor
3 Senior Assistant Professor Assistant Professor (Selection Grade)
4 Assistant Professor (Selection Grade) Associate Professor
5 Associate Professor Professor
6 Professor Head of Department

Career growth as a Lecturer:

  • After Clearing UGC NET-LS, candidates can apply as lecturers in any government and private university across the country.
  • The government provides different perks and benefits like Housing allowances, Health allowances, etc., to Lecturers and Professors.
  • Working hours are flexible, depending upon the post in different universities. Generally, a fixed 8 hours working shift is available in every university.
  • A good salary package is offered by the university or government for Lectureship, and it will be increased according to the increasing order of posts.

2. Career Options for a Junior Researcher:

Candidates wondering what is the difference between NET and JRF in terms of job opportunities and career scope can check all the career options as a JRF mentioned below.

S. No. Positions Position after Promotion
1 Junior Research Fellow (JRF) Senior Research Fellow (SRF)
2 Project Fellow (PF) Senior Project Fellow (SPF)
3 Project Assistant (PA) Senior Project Assistant (SPA)
4 Author Senior Author
5 Project Manager Project Head

Career growth as a JRF

  • Candidates who qualify as Junior research fellows will get an initial stipend of 25,000 rupees for up to two years and from 3rd Year as SRF (Basic pay =28,000). They can also apply for Ph.D. programs in various universities like IITs, IIMs, etc., and various R&D institutes.
  • Sоme оf the government Lаbs where а UGС Quаlified саndidаte mаy wоrk are IСАR, DRDО, IСMR, SERB.
  • Candidates, after qualifying for JRF, can go for the Assistant Professor/ lectureship programs. JRF is not only limited to research fields.
  • Candidates who cleared the NET-JRF exam with merit can join as project assistants, Authors, or Project managers.
  • After clearing UGC NET-JRF, candidates can get direct admission to a Ph.D. program in various premier Indian universities.
  • JRF-qualified students will have the option to start their own laboratories for research purposes.

Cut Off for Assistant Professor and JRF

After the declaration of the result for the UGC NET examinations, the cutoff list for JRF and Lectureship will be prepared. There will be two separate merit lists; one for Lectureship and another for JRF. It will depend on the performance of the candidate. Cutoff depends on various factors like the number of candidates who appeared, the difficulty level of the exam, and the number of seats available for the positions. Every year the cutoff varies for JRF and Lectureship. Clearing the cut-off criteria will not guarantee you to be selected for JRF as UGC NET selects the top 6% of the candidates for the JRF program.

1. Cut off for JRF:

Typically, the cut-off for JRF is higher than the cut-off for Assistant Professor in NET exams.

Chemical Science 50.50% 44.50 % 43.25 % 33.25 % 25.50 % 25.50 %
Earth Science 59.86 % 54.31 % 52.79 % 44.22 % 40.90 % 29.33 %
Life Science 52.50% 33.75% 43.75% 35.25% 31.75% 25%
Mathematical Science 57.00 % 51.38 % 50.75 % 40.25 % 30.88 % 28.75 %
Physical Science 46.25 % 40.68 % 39.68 % 31.56 % 26.87 % 25.00 %

2. Cut off for Lectureship:

The cut off for the Assistant Professor position for the different categories is illustrated below for the previous year.

Chemical Science 45.45 % 40.05 % 38.92 % 29.92 % 25.00 % 25.00 %
Earth Science 53.87 % 48.87 % 47.51 % 39.79 % 36.810 % 26.39 %
Life Science 47.25% 33.00% 39.38% 31.73% 28.58% 25.00%
Mathematical Science 51.30 % 46.23 % 45.67 % 36.22 % 27.78 % 25.87 %
Physical Science 41.62 % 36.61 % 35.71 % 28.40 % 25.00 % 25.00 %

Age Criteria for Assistant Professor and JRF

Age criteria set by the UGC is different for Assistant Professor and JRF. Check the criteria before applying for the posts.

  • For Lectureship: UGC has not set age criteria for becoming an assistant professor. Candidates can attempt the examination for this post without any age restrictions.
  • For JRF: Age criteria play an important role in the Junior Research fellowship program. For the award of JRF, UGC prescribed a maximum age of 28 years on or before January 1 of the year of examination. 5 years of age relaxation will be given to SC/ST/PwD and female candidates and 3 years of relaxation will be for OBC category candidates. 

Tips and Tricks to Prepare for CSIR NET Exam

Following are the best tips and tricks which help you to boost your score in CSIR UGC NET 2021 examination:

  • Go through the CSIR NET Syllabus and note down all the topics on a paper.
  • Check the previous year’s papers and mark the important topics to ace the exam.
  • Now it is time to check the study material for preparation. Always go for renowned publications and authors to prepare for it.
  • Try to spend at least 6–7 hours on your studies daily and allow 1 hour extra revision.
  • First, cover the important topics. As soon as you complete a topic, revise it instantly to recall the things easily.
  • Those topics that you find difficult to learn and understand should be covered in the morning hours.
  • Noon hours should be kept for the topics that can be solved with the help of short tricks and methods and revise the topics you have covered in the morning.
  • Try to cover your maximum portion in the morning and noon hours and dedicate evening hours for the practice and the analysis yourself.
  • Solve more and more previous year papers to practice the concepts and take CSIR NET Mock Test.
  • Always try to make short notes so that it will help you when you revise the concepts again.
  • Try to avoid cramming the concepts rather than understand them and practice well.

Also Read: Career Options Available After CSIR NET Exam

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