Online Phd In India: Is It Approved By UGC?



28 May, 2024

Online Phd In India: Is It Approved By UGC?

A PhD degree is one of the most prestigious degrees in India, showcasing your expertise in the field. The amount of research you do in this programme transforms you into a true subject matter expert. The number of PhD degree holders has significantly increased in India and a rising number of students are enrolling in this programme. Owing to the various benefits this course brings, there is a demand for online PhD courses in India.

The question arises, is an online PhD programme in India approved by UGC? Let’s learn about it in this blog.

Online PhD Overview

PhD is counted among the highest academic qualifications you can achieve in any domain. It is a clear sign of your expertise in the subject and reflects highly in your CV. A PhD is one of the most desirable and respectable programmes, yet very few candidates enrol in it. The tough eligibility criteria and huge time investment can be the reason for this. It is an intense research-based course which requires your full-time commitment, patience and determination. Owing to this reason, there was a wave of offering online PhD programmes in India a few years back. However, the idea of an online PhD is not flowing in the Indian market.

Yes, it would give flexibility to PhD candidates from the hectic schedule of a PhD programme. Still, the question remains, is online PhD valid in India?

Read the blog further to find out.

Online PhD Scenario in India: Valid or Not Valid?

Back in 2022, there was a long debate in India about offering online PhD programmes. Considering the fact that a PhD programme requires practical work and training, UGC has so far not recognised the format of a fully online PhD in India.

The question of its validity started when some EdTech platforms started offering online PhD courses in collaboration with foreign universities. This format saw significant student participation, which is why UGC jumped in. The University Grants Commission of India warned students to not be misled by the EdTech companies offering online PhD courses in India through their official Twitter handle (now X). Therefore, if you have found any EdTech company or Indian university claiming to offer an online PhD, remember it is not valid.

Therefore, if you are looking for flexibility in the PhD programme, you can go for the part-time study mode and pursue a job simultaneously.

Types of PhD Programme

You can pursue PhD in various formats according to your goals and requirements.

  • Full-Time PhD: It is a regular PhD programme where you have to pursue research on a full-time basis completed under the guidance of a supervisor. The PhD course extends for three years but depends on the candidate and the college.

  • Part-Time PhD: In this format, you can continue with your job and pursue a PhD programme simultaneously. Since it is a part-time format, the duration is between 4-7 years. The classes are conducted on weekends to accommodate the working professional’s needs.

  • Integrated PhD:  As the name suggests, this course combines master’s and doctoral degrees into a single programme. The course work of both degrees is blended together including the research work.

  • Industry-Sponsored PhD: This is a specialised PhD programme designed for working professionals. It is either sponsored by the company or an industry partner which implies that the candidate gains valuable industry experience as well as salary. They basically have to work on a topic which benefits the company.

Are PhD the Same as Doctoral Programmes?

Regular PhD  Doctoral Programme
Conduct in-depth research, analyse data and evaluate theories to draw a conclusion. A doctorate programme focuses on increasing professional credibility to get acknowledged as an expert.
Academic focused Industry oriented
Requires full-time commitment Flexible to accommodate the needs of working professionals.
It is theoretical research in a particular field It is an applied research
Can take four to seven years to complete Can be completed in three years
Dissertation format Field related study
Suitable for those seeking theoretical research experience Suitable for those aiming to solve practical problems in their respective fields

Major PhD Entrance Exams in India

Exam Name  Description 
UGC NET UGC NET is a national-level entrance exam conducted by NTA (National Testing Agency) to enrol suitable candidates for the Junior Research Fellowship programme and Assistant Professor post across various streams.
CSIR NET It stands for the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research National Eligibility Test (CSIR NET). It is a national-level eligibility test to award the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and Lectureship in fields of science and technology.

Top PhD Streams in India

PhD in Chemistry PhD in Biotechnology
PhD in Physics Economics
Zoology Psychology
Applied Sciences Market Volatility
Clinical Research International Business
English Literature History

Why the Growing Popularity of Online Degrees?

After the pandemic, you must have thought about completing a degree from the comfort of your home. This lockdown necessity quickly became a popular trend in India witnessing a huge participation from aspiring candidates. So much so that now people are expecting every possible course to be delivered online like an online PhD. While there are many reasons why online degrees are seeing high figures in terms of student enrollment, here are a few:

  • Online degrees have altered traditional teaching and learning methods by providing flexible and unprecedented class schedules. This has proven to be a highly efficient way of learning for students juggling between work and study.

  • The availability of a top-ranked university in your region is a limitation of offline learning. On the other hand, online degrees have no geographical barriers, which means that you pursue a degree from Stanford while living in India.

  • With online degrees, you get extensive learning opportunities and interactive learning resources such as video lessons, digital field trips, virtual reality-enabled science lessons and others.

  • In online degrees, you get a wider base for networking and building industry relations. For a working professional or a PhD scholar, networking is a very important aspect of the growth process.

Logging Out

There are some specialised programmes which require a higher degree of concentration and practical work. UGC and AICTE, two accreditation bodies in India do not recognise such courses in online format. Therefore, it is best to do a thorough research on the validity of any course you want to pursue. Especially when its the highest qualification you will ever pursue like an online PhD.


Q1. Is a part-time PhD valid in India?

Yes a part-time PhD is valid in India as they are UGC recognised however there might be some limitations of employer acknowledgement.

Q2. Is Online PhD recognised by UGC?

No, online PhD is not recognised by the higher education controller and it has also cautioned scholars not to be misled by online PhD programmes

Q3. Is NET compulsory for PhD?

Yes, UGC NET scores are compulsory for PhD

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