Know the Difference Between UGC NET and CSIR NET - Check Details Here

By Neetesh Tiwari|Updated : May 24th, 2021

Know the Difference Between UGC NET and CSIR NET: Most of the students dream of cracking one of the prestigious exams, i.e. CSIR NET and UGC NET but get confused between these two. CSIR NET and UGC NET have some basics that have to be understood by each student before starting the preparation so that they will not be stuck anywhere while preparing for CSIR NET or UGC NET. We have mentioned some important and basic differences for the references to get a clear idea.

CSIR NET and UGC NET are the two most popular exams conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) for awarding the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to Indian Nations and determining the eligibility of the candidate for College and University level lectureship. 


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Despite having the same objective of conducting both the exams, some important differences have to keep in mind before moving ahead with the exam preparation. We have come up with detailed information on CSIR NET and UGC NET to know all the differences. For ease of comparison and understanding, differences have been categorized into different categories like Exam Pattern & Syllabus, Eligibility Criteria, Career Scope, etc.


The major difference between UGC NET and CSIR NET exams are categorized on the following parameters: 

We will now discuss these in detail to help you understand the difference between CSIR NET and UGC NET exams. The following points will help you to differentiate CSIR and UGC NET.

1. CSIR NET VS UGC NET: Exam Subjects 

One of the major differences between UGC NET and CSIR NET is the difference in the number of subjects the exam is conducted in.

CSIR NET or Council of Scientific and Industrial Research National Eligibility Test is conducted twice a Year to shortlist the candidates for the junior research fellowship and lectureship for the 5 Science subjects:

1. Chemical Science2. Life Science
3. Physical Science4. Mathematical Science
5. Earth Science

UGC NET or University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test is conducted for 84 Different Subjects other than the Science Stream. 

2. CSIR NET VS UGC NET: Exam Pattern

The preparation for both the exam will depend on the exam pattern so it should be very clear in mind before starting the preparation.

The main differences between the Exam pattern of CSIR NET and UGC NET are mentioned below:

CSIR NET Exam Pattern:

This exam consists of only a single paper with three different sections (Part A, Part B, and Part C). Each part contains a different number of questions. The total number of questions in the CSIR UGC NET exam also varies depending on the subject for which the candidate is appearing. Unlike the UGC NET exam, there is a negative marking of 25% marks for every wrong answer. The total duration to complete the exam is three hours.

SectionSubjectTotal marksNumber of QuestionsMarks for each correct optionNegative Marking
Part AGeneral Aptitude3020 (for every subject)20.5
Part BSubject Paper7025-50 (subject wise)2-3.50.5-0.875
Part CScientific Concepts10030-75 (subject wise)4-51-1.32

Duration: 3 Hours combined—no break in between any of the Sections.

UGC NET Exam Pattern:

UGC NET is the online mode exam consisting of 2 Papers containing objective-type questions. All the questions are mandatory. There will be no negative marking for any of the wrong answers. 

UGC NET PapersSubjectsNumber of QuestionsTotal Marks
Paper IGeneral Aptitude50100
Paper-IIThe subject chose by the candidate100200

Duration- 3 Hours Combined for both papers I and II. No break in between the exam.

3. CSIR NET VS UGC NET: Exam Eligibility

The difference between the eligibility criteria for both the exam is mentioned below:

ParametersCSIR NET EligibilityUGC NET Eligibility
Education QualificationDegree in BTech/BE/BPharma/MBBS/BS (4 years)/Integrated BS-MS/MSc with minimum 55 per cent aggregatePost-graduation in relevant streams such as Humanities, Social Science, Electronic Science, Computer Science & Applications, etc. with at least 55 per cent aggregate
Age LimitFor JRF, candidates should be maximum of 28 years in age. There is no upper age limit for lectureship.For JRF, candidates should be maximum of 30 years in age. There is no upper age limit for lectureship.
Age RelaxationRelaxation of up to 5 years in sc/st/PWD/women and 3 years for OBC-NCI.Relaxation of upto 5 years for sc/st/obc-ncl/women/armed forces personnel's /pwd/ transgender/ researchers,3 years for L.L.M degree holder.

4. CSIR NET VS UGC NET: Mode of Examination

  • CSIR NET is conducted in Online mode, i.e., computer-based tests (CBT).
  • UGC NET exam is also conducted online as a computer-based test (CBT). Earlier, it was conducted in offline mode.

5. CSIR NET VS UGC NET: Number of Candidates Appeared

The number of candidates who appeared for the UGC NET Exam was much larger than the CSIR NET Exam.

In June 2020, a total of 8,60,976 candidates registered, and 5,26,707 appeared for the UGC NET exam. On the other hand, in June 2020, a total of 2,62,692 candidates registered to appear for the CSIR NET exam.

6. CSIR NET VS UGC NET: Career Scope

The same Body conducts both the Exams, i.e. NTA, but there is a difference in career opportunities for both the Exams. The UGC NET qualified students will be eligible to work with UGC Coordinating Institutes while the CSIR NET qualified students will be eligible to work with the CSIR Research Laboratories.

We have discussed major differences between the UGC and CSIR NET Exam categories in depth. Now it's time to discuss some similarities between UGC NET and CSIR NET Exams. Following are some major similarities:

Purpose of Exam: Both the exams are conducted to offer the Junior research Fellowship and provide the college level lectureship.
Exam Frequency: Both Exams are conducted by the NTA twice a year, in July and December.
Selection Criteria: In both the exams, the top 6% of qualifying candidates are declared eligible for lectureship. About 2-3% of candidates are shortlisted for both Junior Research fellowship and College Level Lectureship.
Level of Exams: Both exams are conducted at the national level by the National Testing Agency in multiple states and cities across India.

We hope that this article will help you get yourself ready before starting the preparation of any of the Exams and will clear all your confusion between UGC NET and CSIR NET Exam. Subscribe to Online Classroom Program to Ace your Exam.

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  • Yes, you can apply but there is a difference in subjects if your subject is Life Science, Chemical Science, Physical Science, Mathematical Science, and Earth Science then you should apply for CSIR-NET and If your subject is, say, environmental science, economics, political science, etc then you should apply for UGC NET exam.

  • UGC NET stands for Union Grant Commission - National Eligibility Test while CSIR NET stands for CSIR UGC NET (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test).

  • Students who qualify for the UGC NET exam will get INR 31,000 (for initial 2 years) and INR 35,000 (for remaining tenure). The UGC has revised the rates of JRF Fellowship amount under the UGC Scheme for JRF/SRF in Science, Humanities and Social Sciences.

  • No, Syllabus for UGC NET and CSIR NET exams are different. As UGC NET Exam is conducted for almost all subjects of every stream while the CSIR NET exam is organized only for the science stream subjects. This is the major difference between both exams and their subject. That is why Syllabus and exam pattern is different.

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