There is good news for Delhi University (DU) students pursuing their PhDs. The Executive Council (EC) of DU has decided to grant these students two extra years to submit their thesis. While the students earlier had four-and-a-half years to submit their thesis, they now have six-and-a-half years to do so.
“The span period for submission of PhD thesis shall be five years, extendable up to a maximum of six-and-a-half years. In exceptional cases, the span may be extended after proper justification,” stated the EC agenda document.
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The decision, taken at a meeting of the EC on Monday, comes after an amendment to the PhD ordinance in accordance with UGC Regulation, 2009 (minimum standards and procedure for award of PhD degree) and UGC Regulation, 2010 (minimum qualifications for appointment of teachers and other academic staff in universities and colleges and measures for the maintenance of standards in higher education).
Earlier, students who opted for a direct PhD would get four years to submit their thesis, with a one year extension (two extensions of six months each). Those who enrolled after completing their MPhil would get four years and an extension of six months. Now PhD students will get five years, and an extension of one-and-a-half years, to complete their thesis.
PhD students welcomed the move, saying it would give them more time to “research and innovate”. “I think this is a good decision because it will provide flexibility to students. Many people whose topics require extensive field work will benefit from this. In many foreign universities, students have a lot of flexibility to work on their thesis, and that was needed in India too,” said Prakash Kumar, a PhD student.
Abha Dev Habib, a member of the EC, welcomed the move but pointed out that there were larger, problematic issues. “These amendments were supposedly made on the recommendations of the Academic Council meeting held on July 13, but there was no discussion then. Agendas were just announced as having been passed,” she said.
She also objected to an amendment which makes it mandatory for a college teacher to have a major research project, for at least three years or more, in order to qualify to be a PhD guide.
However, some students pointed out that the extension could also be misused.
“There are some students who deliberately extend their submission dates to keep receiving the stipend. Now, with a two-year extension, the likelihood of this will increase,” said a PhD student.