CSIR NET Vs UGC NET – Complete Comparison

The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts national level exams such as CSIR NET and UGC NET to determine the eligibility of the candidates for college and university level lecturers. The same exams test the eligibility for granting the Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) to pursue the Ph.D. program or research. 

When it comes to a career in education, you may be confused about

  • What are the similarities and differences between the two exams?
  • Which one is the best fit for you?

We have provided comprehensive information on the UGC NET and CSIR NET exams in this guide to clear up these queries. Continue reading to learn the CSIR NET Vs UGC NET in detail.


Aspirants for lectureship in Indian universities and colleges take the UGC NET or/and CSIR NET exams every year. In both cases, the National Testing Agency (NTA) is responsible for administering the tests. However, despite the similarity in purpose, there are some differences between the exams offered by UGC and CSIR. We have outlined the similarities and differences between the CSIR NET and UGC NET exams in this article.

NTA conducts the UGC NET and CSIR NET exams every year, allowing qualified candidates to apply for lectureship positions in Indian colleges and universities. Although both the UGC NET and the CSIR NET exams are national level and have the same goal, there are some differences. In this article, we have included the major similarities and differences between the UGC NET and CSIR examinations to help candidates better understand both exams. Take a look at the CSIR NET Vs UGC NET below and enroll for the exam that suits you the best.

UGC NET Exam: Introduction 

UGC NET (University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test) is a national level exam that NTA conducts for the post of university-level assistant professor and to award the JRF post to Indian citizens. This exam is for the post-graduates of arts, humanities, management streams who wish to become lecturers, professors, or researchers.  

CSIR NET Exam: Introduction  

CSIR (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research) is the exam conducted by NTA for science stream candidates to fill the posts of junior research fellow (JRF) and assistant professor in colleges and universities. 

CSIR NET Vs UGC NET: Similarities

CSIR NET and UGC NET share many similarities. Let us examine the similarities before diving into the differences:

  • Exam Objective: Both tests shortlist candidates for Assistant Professor, lecturers, and JRF.
  • Level of Exams: Both tests are national level and held in several cities across India.
  • Assessment: Both tests evaluate the candidates’ general aptitude and knowledge of the subject.
  • Frequency of Exams: The authority conducts both exams twice a year, in July and December.
  • Conducting Body: The National Testing Agency (NTA) conducts both exams.
  • Exam Mode: Both exams include online computer-based tests.
  • Qualifying Criteria: Both tests declare the top 6% of candidates qualified for lectureship and only 2 to 3% of candidates for both the JRF and lectureship.

CSIR NET Vs UGC NET: Differences

The UGC NET and CSIR UGC NET exams are distinct because of the differences in the exam content, eligibility requirements, exam pattern, and possible career paths. Below, we’ve provided a breakdown of these differences.

CSIR NET Vs UGC NET: Exam Content

NTA conducts UGC NET Exam in a total of 81 subjects from various streams. Whereas, CSIR NET Exam contains five science-related subjects, including

  • Chemical Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Earth, Ocean, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences
  • Physical Sciences

CSIR NET Vs UGC NET: Exam Pattern

CSIR NET is a computer-based test with objective-type questions of 200 points. It comprises three sections with a different number of questions. The candidates’ subject of choice affects the number of questions in each section of the CSIR NET exam. The exam lasts for three hours in total.

UGC NET is a computer-based test that comprises two papers with objective-type questions. Paper 1 includes 50 questions worth 100 points, while paper 2 includes 100 questions worth 200 points. The time limit for both papers is three hours each.

UGC NET PaperTotal QuestionsTotal Marks
Paper I50100
Paper II 100200

CSIR NET Vs UGC NET: Marking Scheme

There is no negative marking in the UGC NET exam. But, the CSIR NET exam follows a negative marking scheme, which is distinct for all subjects.


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CSIR NET Vs UGC NET: Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria for both the exams are different, as mentioned in the below table:

ParametersCSIR NET EligibilityUGC NET Eligibility
Educational qualificationDegree in BE/BTech/MBBS/BPharma/Integrated BS-MSBS (4 years)/BS (4 years)/MSc with minimum 55 % aggregatePost-graduation in applicable streams such as Social Science, Humanities, Computer Science & Applications, Electronic Science, etc., with a minimum 55 % aggregate
Age limitFor JRF: candidates should be maximum of 28 years of ageFor lectureship: no upper age limitFor JRF: candidates should be maximum of 30 years of ageFor lectureship: no upper age limit

CSIR NET Vs UGC NET: Career Path

Candidates who qualify for the CSIR NET exam can work at CSIR Research Laboratories. Whereas candidates who pass the UGC NET exam, on the other hand, get a chance to work with UGC coordinating institutes in various capacities. 


As discussed above, both CSIR NET and UGC NET exams are distinct from one another for various reasons. However, there are a few similarities that connect them. We hope that this guide has been useful in assisting you to decide which exam to take to further your career goals based on the knowledge of CSIR NET Vs UGC NET.


Which exam is better if we do CSIR NET Vs UGC NET?

Because both of these tests select students from various academic backgrounds, there is no comparison of superiority between them. While the CSIR NET exam is for science stream students, UGC NET tests students on more than 80 subjects related to non-science categories.

Compare CSIR NET Vs UGC NET in terms of difficulty level?

Both exams select candidates for lectureship and research posts at national levels, making them highly competitive. However, the difficulty level varies from moderate to tough for different subjects.