UGC NET Eligibility Criteria 2021: Age Limit, Educational Qualification

Exam Date : May 2, 2021 To May 17, 2021
Result Date : June 15, 2021

The application process for UGC NET May 2021 began on February 2, 2021. The exam is scheduled to be held on various dates between May 2, 2021 and May 17, 2021. Before filling the admission form, all aspirants are advised to go through the detailed UGC NET Eligibility Criteria for 2021, laid out by the National Testing Agency (NTA). All the important details can be found on this page. 

Latest Updates:

  • February 6, 2021: The upper age limit for Junior Research Fellowship has been revised. The candidate must be below 31 years of age as on March 01, 2021, in order to apply for JRF.

UGC NET Eligibility 2021 Educational Qualification

Candidates who are interested in the field of education providing are expected to abide by certain standards set by the National Testing Agency. The educational qualifications sought for in the ideal candidates, who shall take over the vacant posts of Assistant Professors and/or look forward to competing for the Junior Research Fellowship are discussed below:

  • The applicant must be a post-graduate to be eligible for UGC NET 2021. Those candidates who are pursuing Master's in the relevant field are also eligible to apply for UGC NET 2021. 
  • The college or university from which the candidate has attained his/her PG Degree, or is pursuing PG from should be recognised by UGC. 
  • Marks Required:
Category Percentage Required
General or Unreserved 55%
Transgender and PwD 50%
SC and ST 50%
Other Backward Classes 50%
  • Candidates possessing a Post Graduation Diploma or Certificate awarded by any Indian university/institute, or a foreign Degree/Diploma/ Certificate awarded by a foreign university/institute should, in their own interest, ascertain the equivalence of their Diploma/Degree/Certificate with the Master's degree of any recognized Indian university from the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), New Delhi.
  • The candidates in their final year of Master's degree, who have appeared or will appear for the qualifying exam of the Master’s degree or an equivalent program are eligible. This also includes candidates who are waiting for the results of their qualifying exams. However, such candidates will be considered eligible for admission only on a provisional basis, after clearance of their qualifying exams with at least 55% marks (50% for OBC-NCL/SC/ST/PWD). Candidates holding a PhD degree and have completed their Master’s exam by September 19, 1991, are also eligible to apply for UGC NET 2021 with a relaxation of 5% in the aggregate marks (i.e. from 55 % to 50%).
  • Those candidates who possess a post-graduate certificate or diploma issued by a university-based in India, or a degree, diploma, or certificate issued by a foreign university need to determine if it is equivalent to the master’s degree taken from a recognised Indian university. They must refer to the equivalence given by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), New Delhi. 


  • A candidate should only choose a subject related to his/her Post Graduation, or a related subject.
  • At any stage, if a candidate is found ineligible, his/her candidature will be cancelled and will be subjected to legal action(s) as well.
  • UGC NET 2021 Syllabus remains unchanged taking past trends into considerations.

UGC NET Exam 2021 Age Limit

  • UGC NET JRF Age Limit: Candidates who are below 31 years of age, as on March 01, 2021 can apply. A relaxation of 5 years is granted to candidates belonging to OBC/SC/ST/PWD categories as well as to women candidates. Note that the candidates who have prior experience in the domain of research are also eligible to avail a relaxation equivalent to the time spent on research in their respective subjects during post-graduation, with a maximum limit of 5 years, if they can provide a certificate in support of the same from respective authorities. There is an age relaxation of 3 years to candidates possessing an L.L.M. degree.
Category/Condition Age Relaxation
Female candidates of all categories 5 Years
SC/ST/OBC/Transgender/PH 5 Years
Candidates holding the LLM Degree 3 Years
Candidates from Armed Forces 5 Years
  • UGC NET Assistant Professor/Lecturer Age Limit: There is no upper age limit as such for the role of assistant professor.
  • Candidates who have served in the armed forces will be provided with the benefit of relaxation of up to 5 years, subject to the length of service in the armed forces up to June 1, 2021.

UGC NET 2021 Category-wise Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility criteria for general category candidates who are applying for the UGC NET 2021 exam are that they should have scored 55% aggregate in his/her Master’s Degree or Equivalent Degree. Certificates that will be considered as proof of age are the 10th standard mark sheet or passing certificate and DOB certificate.

  • Age relaxation is also provisioned for candidates with experience of research (provided they have to obtain a certificate of the same to get the relaxation).
  • Categorical relaxation in age will only be allowed on the grounds of producing relevant certificates.
  • Candidates will not get any age relaxation of more than 5 years either through one or multiple clauses.

UGC NET 2021 Eligibility Criteria for Reserved Categories

Eligibility criteria for ST/SC/OBC/ PWD category are that a candidate should have 50% aggregate in Master’s Degree. PhD degree holders whose Master’s level exam has been completed by September 19, 1991 (irrespective of the date of declaration of result) will be eligible for a relaxation of 5% in aggregate marks i.e. from 55% to 50% for appearing in NET.

  • A final year student of Master’s Degree or passed out a student whose result is still awaited is also eligible to apply for UGC NET Exam.
  • However, such students will only be considered for admission for the Award of Junior Research Fellowship and Assistant Professor when they have passed their Master’s Degree with required percentage criteria (as mentioned above).

Reservation Policy in UGC NET 2021 

The reservation policy, as per the rules laid out by the Government of India is discussed below. 

UGC NET 2021 Reservation Policy
Category Reservation of Seats
General-EWS 10%
Scheduled Castes 15%
Scheduled Tribes 7.5%
Persons with Disability (40% or more) 4%
Other Backward Classes-NCL 27%

Subject-wise Eligibility Criteria in UGC NET 2021 

The applicants must note that they will be expected to abide by certain subject-specific eligibility conditions set up by the NTA. All those conditions are discussed in this section. 

Subject Eligibility Criteria
Computer Science
  • Age limit for JRF: 31 years (+5 years for reserved categories)
  • Age Limit for Assistant Professor: NA
  • Educational Qualifications: The applicants belonging to the General Category are expected to score a minimum of 55% marks in their post-graduation degree. Candidates from any of the above-mentioned Reserved Categories shall get a relaxation of 5%. 
  • 6% of all the qualifying candidates of the NTA UGC NET 2021 examination, who have scored the maximum marks will receive the Junior Research Fellowship.
Environmental Science
Physical Education
Life Science
Public Administration
Library Science
Forensic Science

UGC NET Eligibility Criteria 2021: Additional points to remember

  • Age relaxation: Age relaxation is provided for candidates with experience of research (provided they have to obtain a certificate of the same to get the relaxation). Relevant Category Certificates are also required for Age Relaxation. Candidates will not get any age relaxation of more than 5 years either through one or multiple clauses. 5 years of Relaxation will be provided for women candidates, as well as SC/ST//OBC/PwD Candidates.
  • Revised criteria: UGC has revised the procedure and criteria for qualifying candidates. It has been decided that the top 6% of total candidates who appear in the UGC-NET examination will be declared qualified as per the UGC NET 2021 Exam Pattern.
  • For Transgenders: Transgender candidates will be provided with the same relaxation in fee, age, and qualifying criteria for NET (i.e JRF and Lectureship/Assistant Professor) as are available to SC/ST/PwD categories. The subject-wise cut-offs for the transgender category will be lowest among those for SC/ST/PwD/OBC-NCL categories in the respective subject.

Exemption from UGC NET 2021

There are certain exemptions allowed for each category of people applying for UGC NET 2021.

  • Candidates who have a PhD degree, under UGC Regulations, 2009, shall be exempted from the minimum eligibility criteria of UGC NET/SLET/SET for the appointment of Assistant Professor, or equivalent positions in Universities, Colleges, and Institutions.
  • NET/SLET/SET will be considered as a minimum eligibility condition for recruitment and appointment of Assistant Professors in various Universities, Colleges, and Institutions.
  • SET Candidates: Candidates who have passed States Eligibility Test (SET) accredited by UGC for eligibility of Assistant Professor, conducted before June 1, 2002, are exempted from taking this exam, they are eligible to apply for Assistant Professor anywhere in India.
  • The candidates who cleared the SET exam after June 1, 2002, can only assume the role of an Assistant Professor at a college or university based in their respective state. 
  • Candidates who have cleared UGC/CSIR JRF Exam before 1989 are also exempted from appearing in UGC NET.

UGC NET Eligibility Criteria 2021: FAQs

Q: The subject in which I have done Master's is not available in the list of subjects for which the UGC NET exam is held. Which subject should I choose now?

A: The UGC NET exam is held for about 81 subjects. Browse through the list of subjects offered and choose the one which is closely related to the subject in which you have done your post-graduation, in terms of the syllabus. 

Q: Is there a limit on how many times can I appear for the UGC NET exam? 

A: There's no such limit set by the NTA. Candidates can appear for the exam as many times as they like. It must also be noted that JRF can only be availed till the age of 31 (36 for reserved categories). 

Q: Is distance education valid for UGC NET? 

A: If the university from which you have done post-graduation is approved or recognised by UGC, your degree/diploma/certificates will be valid. 

Q: Are M.Tech students eligible for NTA UGC NET?

A: M.Tech students can give the exam if they wish to. But a UGC NET certificate is not required for them to be able to teach in engineering colleges or institutions.

Discussion Forum


Is there any age relaxation for women candidates?

Asked By: Anonymous 29 Nov 2017



There is an Age relaxation for 5 years for women candidates who apply for UGC NET. For more information about UGC NET eligibility criteria,click here 

Good luck

Answer By: Getmyuni

05 May 2018


Hi Aravind,

Yes, you are eligible to apply.

Answer By: Getmyuni

04 May 2018


Hi Benazir,

Use the name as there on your Aadhar Card, the discrepancy in the name on your other documents can be settled using the affidavit.

You can refer UGC NET eligibility to get detailed information about this.

Answer By: Getmyuni

04 May 2018



Hi Latha,

Sorry, you're not eligible to apply for UGC NET as the maximum age limit for an applicant is 30 years and 35 for any reserved categories.

Answer By: Getmyuni

04 May 2018


Hi Sajad Ahmad,

OBC and OSC are two different categories. OBC is applicable all over India but OSC is applicable only in J & K. UGC NET will not consider OSC to allocate seats. 

Answer By: Getmyuni

04 May 2018

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