In a move that will benefit thousands of students, the human resource development (HRD) ministry is likely to allow the elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to admit students directly to their PhD programmes after completion of a four-year Bachelors degree or professional courses.
A number of IIMs have raised the matter with the government, which also received a proposal from IIM-Bangalore to allow the B-schools to admit students directly to PhD programmes after they graduate, like the Indian Institutes of Technology are allowed to do.
“We have sent a proposal to the HRD ministry to allow direct admission of students to the PhD programme after completing their four-year graduation or their CA/ICAI/CS, apart from those having a Masters,” IIM-Bangalore director G Raghuram said, adding, “We already admit such candidates to our fellow programmes, but are not able to grant them a PhD degree. Now that the IIM Act is in place, the government should allow us to grant them a degree.”
CA and CS are short for chartered accountancy and company secretaryship. ICAI stands for the Institute of Cost Accountants of India, previously known as the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI).
According to a senior HRD official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the issue raised by the IIMs was examined in light of the PhD programmes conducted by some IITs, which are also institutes of national Importance and are empowered to award degrees. IIMs too have been allowed to award degrees under the IIM Act, 2017.
However, the ministry has also pointed out that IIT-Delhi, for instance, has prescribed a minimum period of three years for PhD for scholars having a degree other than a Masters or equivalent.
“For students with a four-year graduation, the minimum duration would be three years. The duration for completing PhD for those having a Masters degree is two years so similar rules have to be followed by IIMs,” said a second HRD ministry official.
The ministry has proposed that in case the minimum entry qualification is a Masters degree or professional qualification of CA/ICWA/CS or post graduate diploma of two years’ duration, the minimum course duration would be two years or four semesters. In case of a four-year or more Bachelors degree, the minimum duration would be three years or six semesters.
The Indian Institutes of Management Bill, 2017, which was passed on December 20, 2017 and came into effect from January 31, 2018, empowers IIMs “to grant degrees, diplomas and other academic distinctions or titles and to institute and award fellowships, scholarships, prizes and medals, honorary awards and other distinctions”.
“There is a certain rigor that is required in PhD prgrammes and hence fundamentally it is not a great idea, but having said, that it also depends on the four-year programmes that students undertake before they enroll for a PhD programme. For instance, if that programme has taken into account initiating the students into research then it does make sense,” said SS Mantha, an academician and former chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).